If the general public has a chance to see Mario managing golf clubs and other tennis rackets at a steady pace since the 1980s, it’s been fifteen years since he put on crampons for a title exclusive. dedicated to soccer. Not to forget, Mario Smash Football (GameCube, 2005) and Mario Strikers Charging Football (Wii, 2007) were nevertheless able, in their time, to shake the harmless universe of the mushroom kingdom, which is more accustomed to good-natured cartoonish adventures than dirty tackles, in trash talk and in apparent goal celebrations.
Strange fact: this series, even if stamped by Nintendo, has historically been relied upon by Western subcontractors. In this case, the Canadians in the Next Level Game, is also responsible for the friendly series Luigi’s Mansionand officially became a Nintendo subsidiary in 2021. For all these reasons, the announcement, in January, this new Mario Strikers: Battle League for the Switch was met with genuine curiosity.
Cara-pass and mushroom
We will not insult you by reminding you of the rules of football, especially since they are completely misguided in Mario Strikers: Battle League. Two teams of four players (as well as a console -powered goalkeeper) compete on a small field that is closer to futsal than real football. All good for shaking nets, especially for violent throwing of opponents. Be careful, though, if your throw doesn’t carry the ball, something Mario Kart (shells, mushrooms, etc.) can be used by your opponents as compensation. And if, in previous games, players were very careful to mark the captain of the opposing team, the only one who could make an unstoppable “hyperstrike”, everyone now has power, if they collect a special orb, visible from every now and then on the lawn.
The result was a happy mess that was more of a rat race than game making, but after all, so we played a “Mario”. Especially since the sensations are there. They are served by a colorful artistic direction that, in vivid moments, when the characters pose Olive and Tom Redraw it with a large black brushstroke and saturated color. It should be noted that these characters do not prevent the title from showing a certain technicality, with manipulations that take a lot of time. However, Nintendo is obligated, also knows how to stay accessible.
Very stingy inside
If there is a yellow card to give it Mario Strikers, this is the poverty of the space reserved for “solo” players. A few championships against the computer, a relatively unattractive wardrobe of equipment to expand, ten playable characters, terrains with only cosmetic differences … it’s not good, especially for one cartridges offered at full price, even compared to other sports games from the Nintendo universe.
The publisher continues, in fact, the bad habit of supplying its products in kit form: as of the latest Mario Tennis and Mario Golf, Nintendo has chosen, from now on, to deliver restricted games, where it opens up all the content in just a drop, in order to artificially keep the attention of players. Online mode remains: in “Club Strikers” mode, you are invited to play as a player within a club. It is up to the teammates to vote for the team manager, who can decide on the decoration of the stadium, the color of the shirt, and the philosophy of the game.
We can choose, but what alternative, if we just want to play football with friends, who are less serious than others. FIFA ? To be honest, we see only one: Rocket League, a free auto football game, which remained the number one reference for fun football games seven years after its release. To succeed in diverting followers, this version of Mario Soccer may be focused on the local content, rather than the online game. It may be, within a year, if future updates can improve the formula enough; until then, the ball was on Nintendo’s court.
- the universe of Mario being released;
- the fluorescent special movements of the posers;
- the feeling of progress, despite the turmoil.
We don’t like it very much:
- the lack of characters and launch customization;
- the absence of mini-games, alternative methods, statistics… A little at all in the truth;
- The fact that we can’t zap, after a while, the fluorescent special moves of the posers.
Better for you, if:
- you like football a little…;
- … but not too much (if you don’t play FIFA).
This is not for you, if:
- you don’t like football;
- you love football (if you don’t play football).
The important thing is 3 points (out of 5).