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Mario Strikers Battle League Football review: Mario strikes back

Nintendo have seemingly rediscovered their Mario Strikers franchise and have brought it back to life with a new title for 2022 so enter Mario Strikers Battle League Football.

For those that are curious, the last entry in the Mario Strikers series was Mario Strikers Charged – a Wii exclusive which launched 15 years ago. A new Mario Strikers game has been long overdue and it’s great to see the series now making a triumphant return on Nintendo Switch.

Mario Strikers Battle League Football allows Nintendo Switch owners to finally play some action-packed football both on the go and in the comfort of their own home. Playing the title in handheld mode is great since the actual matches in the game aren’t that long and are perfect for short bursts of gameplay.

Mario Strikers Battle League Football Screenshot

Players in Mario Strikers Battle League Football will pick a main character from the Mario franchise and take to the field with 4 others on their team in a football-like sport. Each character in the game has their own strengths and weaknesses as well as an incredibly flashy “Hyper Strike” move.

We’ll get to the Hyper Strikes in a bit though. First we need to talk about the core gameplay here.

Mario Strikers Battle League Football Screenshot

Mario Strikers Battle League Football involves five versus five viscerally aggressive “Strike” football matches in a stadium that’s been surrounded by an electric fence.

Yup, that’s right. An electric fence. Make a small mishap and run out of bounds and zap, you’re fried for a bit. This makes the game a lot more chaotic since the ball can’t go out of bounds but if you do, you’ll get shocked and incapacitated for a bit.

Players will control one character while the others will move around automatically or manually based on your input. You can tackle, pass, lob and shoot using the face buttons on the right Joy-Con and sprint with ZR for a limited time.

The controls of Mario Strikers Battle League Football are fluid and responsive and chasing after the ball is enjoyable. So too is unleashing a “tackle” and we use that term lightly (think, literally smashing your opponent into the ground).

Getting control of the ball allows you to pass when inside your half of the field and shoot when in the opponents half. Players can charge their shots as well as aim them by tilting the left analog stick on the left Joy-Con before shooting.

If you pick up a special power-up that occasionally drops onto the field, you’ll become “Hyped” and will be able to pull off an incredibly flashy Hyper Strike. Other items can also drop onto the field such as shells or bananas which can be thrown at your opponents.

Hyper Strikes are the star of the show here though. They are what makes Mario Strikers Battle League Football so ridiculously fun to play.

Pulling off a Hyper Strike involves charging your shot and then timing a button press with a colour on a gauge that shows up. Land in the blue region twice and you’ll unleash an unblockable shot that always nets you 2 points.

Nintendo haven’t held anything back here at all. These moves play out with an animated cutscene which emphasises their sheer power. Each character’s Hyper Strike is a visual feast for the eyes.

Using Hyper Strikes in matches is immensely enjoyable and can come in clutch when scores are tied in games. There’s really no better feeling in Mario Strikers Battle League Football than scoring a winning Hyper Strike goal with only two seconds left on the clock.

Mario Strikers Battle League Football features 3 modes: Quick Battle, Cup Battle and Strikers Club.

Quick Battle is for quick matches both solo or with friends and family (with up to 8 players being able to play on one console). Cup Battle is essentially the game’s campaign mode but there isn’t any real story here unfortunately. You’ll just be playing through various tournaments focused on character’s specific attributes.

Strikers Club is the game’s online mode where players will create their own club, recruit players and compete against other clubs from around the world. You do need an active Nintendo Online subscription to play this mode so do keep that in mind. Playing the online mode will rank you up and you’ll climb up the division table in week-long seasons.

Players in Mario Strikers Battle League Football will also be able to equip different gear onto their characters.

This gear not only functions as cosmetic items but also imparts attribute changes to your character’s basic statistics. You can boost your technique or shooting power for example by equipping different gear. New gear can be purchased using coins obtained from winning matches.

Graphically, Mario Strikers Battle League Football is flat out gorgeous. Nintendo have created fantastic cutscenes which play out seamlessly during matches which really bring your characters to life.

Characters who score goals will have a celebratory cutscene which plays and the Hyper Strikes themselves are fantastic. Players can also skip the celebration cutscenes however the Hyper Strikes themselves can’t be skipped. This does mean that while the matches are quite short, a lot of the match is broken up by in-game cutscenes that play out. This can be a bit disruptive to the actual gameplay flow but it’s easily overlooked because of how fun the game is.

The soundtrack here features catchy electronic music and it fits the game’s theme and visuals perfectly. There’s also very little voice acting here with the characters only speaking a line or two, as is usually the case with Mario games.

Mario Strikers Battle League Football is a great game to pick up and play. It runs flawlessly in both handheld and docked mode on Nintendo Switch (OLED version) and is a visual feast for the eyes.

Playing a game or two of Strike in handheld mode is the perfect way to pass some time while on a daily commute and we suspect that the online mode will be filled with some regular players in no time once the game officially launches.

The game is addictive, fast paced and most importantly, extremely fun. The only major downside is that there’s very little single player content here and we wish there was a fully fledged story mode attached to it. Something similar to Mario Golf: Super Rush’s adventure mode would have been appreciated here.

If you’re a fan of games like Rocket League or games that can be played with friends, this is a title that will definitely appeal to you. Mario Strikers Battle League Football is therefore a fun game, with amazing visuals but drops the ball when it comes to story content.

We suggest picking this up if you intend to play primarily with friends (or online) because it’s even more fun when playing against actual human opponents rather than solo against the CPU.


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