The Nintendo 3DS isn't the same surprisingly great handheld it was a year ago, but it's a system that still routinely churns out good games thanks almost exclusively to Nintendo franchises. Mario Golf and Kirby Triple Threat, both available at exactly the same time, are a rare double-scoop of gaming for the 3DS. Neither is a world-beater, but both are really good, and more than worth your time.
Mario Golf: World Tour is the more notable game, not just because it's the first Mario Golf game in many years or the first 3D handheld Mario golf game, but because its online modes are excellent. This is the best online multiplayer game outside of Mario Kart 7, and it's all because the tournaments and challenges -- there are lots of them -- are always easy to join, and quick to play.
There are a large number of courses on the game, some regular, some silly. The more Mario-themed courses have Kart-like power-ups and coins to collect, while the regular holes feel more like Hot Shots Golf on PlayStation.
There's a lot of control: ball spin, clubs, and tons of camera angles. And there are outfits and bonus equipment that unlock and become available to buy in Castle Club, a hub for tournaments, leaderboards, and single-player training and challenges. Nintendo has additional courses that can be purchased as downloadable content, but there's already enough in Mario Golf to offer gameplay for years.
If there's anything to knock World Tour for, it's perhaps too easy for the rugged golf enthusiast. We were able to birdie most holes by our second round, making it tough to push for much improvement beyond that.
World Tour opens up some gushy memories that date as far back as the original Game Boy, and its 3D iteration is a perfect example of the quick pick-up-and-play sessions that portable gamers savor so much.
The overall golfing presentation could have used a more logical overhaul and the game doesn't do a satisfactory job of explaining all of the powerups either. The menus can get clunky too, but we're quick to give portable titles a pass on details like that.
Consider World Tour worth its price of admission, assuming you're going to invest in the time it takes to unlock courses and progress. It's not a system-seller by any stretch, but its another enjoyable title that's sure to pad the 3DS' growing legacy.