It’s been quite a while since Mario and his pals have hit the green for a round of friendly — or not-so-friendly — golf. A somewhat surprising announcement from Nintendo is that Mario Golf: Super Rush is the newest outing for the Mario sports series. This isn’t just your typical golf game, just like how tennis, soccer, and even kart racing are never exactly as they are in real life when Mario plays them. Just knowing the basics of golf is only step one in mastering your game.
If you are an experienced Mario golfer, the basic mechanics of the game will be mostly familiar. However, Mario Golf: Super Rush isn’t just the same golf game with a fresh coat of paint, some new courses, and characters. There is a whole suite of new mechanics, systems, modes, and powers that even veterans of the series will have to learn. This is the first time the series has been on a home console since 2003, and the last entry on 3DS was way back in 2014, so odds are we could all use a refresher. The game does a decent job of introducing you to all the systems it has to offer, but mastering them is a completely different story. Here are all the essential tips you need for Mario Golf: Super Rush.
When you first boot up Mario Golf: Super Rush, resist the urge to jump right into one of the more exciting modes like Gold Adventure or the new Speed Golf mode. Instead, the best way to acclimate, as well as get a nice taste of how different characters play, is by just doing a practice match. You can play with up to four characters at once on your own, letting you test out multiple different options before committing to one later on. Figuring out what type of golfer you find the most fun, specifically what stats you value, will come in handy later on.
Golf Adventure is your primary single-player story mode in Mario Golf: Super Rush. Granted, we use the term “story” lightly here, but it serves the function of giving you a bit of a narrative thread to follow while the game introduces you to the basic mechanics and systems you’ll need to learn before playing at the highest levels. By playing through the entirety of this one mode, you will get a taste of every other mode in the game, plus all the new mechanics, in a safe environment.
Each match will have some rule or lesson it will be trying to teach you that you should take note of. For example, some levels are all about the score, while others task you with completing the hole in a limited number of strokes. These challenges slowly ramp up in difficulty, letting you get a good grip on the basics before putting a little more pressure on you in terms of challenge. By the end, you’ll need to be fast, careful with your swings, know how to use your power shots and dashes, and more all at once. That’s how the game will be played outside of Golf Adventure most of the time, so better to get introduced to everything one concept at a time rather than jump into the deep end and try to figure it all out at once.
Speaking of power shots, every character has their own special shot that is unique to them. Knowing what an opponent can do or how to best utilize your own character’s special shot can help you avoid some devastating situations on the course.
There are a total of 16 characters from the Mario universe you can play as or against in Mario Golf: Super Rush, plus your own Mii character. Mario’s special shot, for example, is the most basic. It is just like a normal shot, only the ball will crash down to the ground once it is over the area you target, making it perfect for setting up the ball exactly where you want it. Wario, on the other hand, has one of the most devastating special shots in Mario Golf: Super Rush, specifically during modes like Speed Golf. After he launches his shot, the ball can turn into a bolt of lightning and slam down wherever he chooses. Functionally, that isn’t all that different from Mario’s, but the difference is that any player in the area trying to swing while the lightning is coming down will be interrupted and have to start their swing over.
For regular matches, a strong example to watch out for or utilize yourself is King Bob-omb’s special shot. When used, he foregoes his club and instead launches his ball with the iconic cannon from his original level in Mario 64. After the ball is fired, the entire area around the ball’s landing zone will explode and launch any opponent’s balls unfortunate enough to be there far away.
We won’t cover each and every character’s special shot here, but these examples are just to illustrate how much of a game-changer these shots can be when used properly and planned for when facing different characters.
There are a few terms you need to learn to master nailing the perfect shot in Mario Golf: Super Rush. Power is the most self-explanatory. The more power you have, the farther the ball will travel. Control dictates how much the ball will follow your intended trajectory, but shift is a little more nuanced. When you’re lining up a shot, there will be two red triangles above your power gauge. These are your shift. If you hit a ball with max power, there is a random chance that the ball will shift either to the left or right. How much the ball may go off course depends on a few factors, such as your club, what type of ground you’re hitting on, and what your control stat is.
How this all works is that hitting with max power always comes with the risk of your shot being shifted one way or another. Rather than risk losing your ball in a bad spot, always try and stop your power meter just before the top of the gauge to avoid any shift. The higher your control stat, the harder you can hit the ball without having to worry about that risk.
Speaking of controlling your shots, there are plenty more aspects of how you attack the ball that can allow you to make incredible shots. First up is spin, which each character has a stat dedicated to. Once the power of a shot is locked in, you can use your left thumbstick to determine the spin put on the ball. Spin is a lot like shift, only you’re in control of how the ball will change trajectory in the air. You can make the ball turn left or right to avoid obstacles or turn onto the green, and you can control how high the ball goes. Keeping the ball low or arcing it way up can also help get you out of tricky situations.
You will see your spin dictated by three levels, with each more powerful than before. You’ll need to test each out to feel how much they will actually impact your shot, but the strongest levels can almost have your ball make a full left or right turn in the air. Eventually, you will even be able to control your spin to make the ball turn in multiple directions in a single shot.
Next up is topspin and backspin. These two are the last factors you need to pay attention to before your shot is hit. Unlike power and spin, topspin and backspin are all about how the ball behaves once it hits the ground. Topspin gives the ball more forward momentum upon landing, while backspin can shorten the distance it travels and potentially even roll it backward a small amount. You can give your ball some topspin by double-tapping the A button when adjusting your shot’s power or add a backspin by double-tapping B during that time.
By mastering all three of these mechanics, you can get so much control over your ball that there will be almost no shot you can’t make, no matter what hazards are in the way.
The light RPG mechanics in Mario Golf: Super Rush come in the form of leveling up specific stats for your character to become a better golfer. XP is earned by beating courses and tournaments, and each level you earn will give you one or more stat points to dump into one of five stats. These stats are:
- Power: This is the most obvious stat. The more power you have, the farther you will be able to hit your ball on each swing.
- Stamina: Stamina is most relevant during modes like Speed Golf, where you are actually running between your strokes to get to your ball. The more stamina you have, the more you can run before depleting your stamina gauge.
- Speed: Going hand in hand with stamina, speed is exactly what it sounds like. The higher your speed stat, the faster your character will run.
- Control: We covered control a bit when talking about shift, so read up on that if you skipped that section, but the more control you have, the more likely the ball will go where you aim it.
- Spin: Also relating back to previous segments, upgrading your spin will divide your spin gauges into sections to allow for more control of how the ball will spin as it flies. This is how you will be able to pull off shots that turn multiple times in a single shot.
You can always earn more stat points, it will just take more effort as you level up more and more, but there isn’t a way to redistribute points once they’re spent, so don’t just throw them around. Also, leveling up one stat can often mean another stat gets reduced. This isn’t a bug or glitch but a way to try and make you distribute your points more evenly.
Early on, power is a great stat to increase. Being able to get your ball closer to the hole will make winning tournaments and getting below par much easier. That, in turn, will make leveling up come that much quicker.
Second, boost your control stat. Since your power is going to be leveling up, the risk of shift will also go up. Keeping your control stat higher up with your power will at least mitigate the chances of your ball going off course while making those long drives.
Finally, spin is great for once you’ve gotten the hang of the basics and want to flex your skills by curving your ball through the air.
Dashing and managing your stamina isn’t a factor for the first few hours of the game unless you skip right into one of the other modes before finishing Golf Adventure. Either way, eventually, the time spent between shots will matter just as much as the shots themselves. Rather than just teleporting to your ball, there is an entire system built into Mario Golf: Super Rush for dashing to your ball across the courses.
Dashing is your quickest way to move, but special dashes, performed by pressing ZL while running, are the most effective modes of transportation. When special dashing, your stamina is going to go down very fast, so you will want to plan out your path by looking for heart pieces along the course. Touching one will refill your stamina gauge, allowing you to keep dashing continuously. Most of the time, you can go from heart piece to heart piece, never running out of stamina, all the way from one end of the course to the other.
Another way to get an extra boost of speed without having to spend your stamina is by drafting. Just like in racing games, running behind another player will allow you to draft off of them. You’ll know you’re doing it right if you hear the announcer comment on it. Draft for long enough, building up speed, and, eventually, you’ll take off with a major speed boost that won’t drain your stamina.
We all love nailing that perfect long shot, sending the ball soaring all the way down the course, but that’s only part of the game in Mario Golf: Super Rush. Putting is a vital skill that can turn an Eagle into a +4 if you can’t manage to sink your putt. Thankfully, the game goes out of its way to give you a ton of information on how to best attack the hole once you make it to the green. You can see blue sections indicating that your targeting arrow is shifted due to the terrain, and red means there is a major disturbance to your shot you need to account for.
Don’t forget to use the bird’s-eye view as well. This lets you see how the entire green is laid out, where the dips and hills are, and the difference in elevation between your ball and the hole. All these factors need to be taken into account before winding back your club. Don’t be afraid to play a few practice rounds just working on your short game. It may not be the most flashy part of the game, but it is arguably the most important part.