Mario Strikers: Battle League Review — Chaotic Fun

by David Sanchez June 21, 2022 @ 10:30 pm

Mario Strikers: Battle League on Nintendo Switch

Reviewed on Switch

Mario Strikers has always been a different beast compared to other Mario sports titles. Mario Golf is a solid golfing sim with some Nintendo-fied extras thrown in. Mario Tennis is more fast-paced, but it remains true to what makes tennis video games so enjoyable. Nintendo’s take on soccer, though, is much faster and more arcade-like, trading in realism for chaos in a package that works, especially if you’re playing with friends. Mario Strikers: Battle League is everything you’d want from a new Mario soccer game despite a few issues.

Soccer, Football, Futbol? Mario Strikers Doesn’t Care About Any of That!

Mario Strikers: Battle League may mimic the sport of soccer, but it takes many liberties. There are no rules — you can tackle, pounce, and pound on your opponents with no repercussions. Heck, Wario straight-up runs with the ball in his hands and never even bothers kicking it! Then there are the Hyper Strikes, which are overpowered shots that can get you two points if you score. But that’s sort of the charm of Mario Strikers. The game doesn’t care about the rules so much as it just tries to provide players with a fun time.

You’ll assemble your team of four (plus Boom Boom as your goalie) and take on human or AI-controlled opponents. You can sprint, dodge, pass, lob, or shoot the ball as you’d expect. Because this is a Mario game, you can also pick up items such as Koopa shells, banana peels, and Bob-ombs — as well as a pick-up that grants you the aforementioned Hyper Strike. Of course, if you’re playing exhibition matches, you can switch items off, which lowers the insanity, but not by a whole lot as Mario Strikers: Battle League is an intense and absurd good time either way.

Mario Strikers: Battle League

Like the previous games in this series, Battle League has more in common with hockey than it does with actual soccer. If you were a fan of the previous games, you’ll likely enjoy this entry. I’d say the first game, 2005’s Super Mario Strikers on GameCube, is my personal favorite. And while I enjoyed Mario Strikers Charged on Wii, this latest installment flows much better than that one.

Modes and Content

There’s a lot of fun to be had with Mario Strikers: Battle League, even if the game is a little light on content at launch. You’ve got exhibition matches and Cup Battles. The latter is the game’s tournament mode and sees you chasing multiple championships. It’s simple and to the point, and beating this mode unlocks a harder set of cups to compete for.

You can play Mario Strikers: Battle League against other folks both locally and online. This is where the game truly shines, as Mario Strikers has always been at its most fun when played in a more competitive manner. I’ve yet to have any issues connecting to online matches and taking on other players. And thus far, I haven’t noticed anyone exploiting bugs or glitches to get an edge, so that’s a plus.

Mario Strikers: Battle League - Character Gear Customization

You can also join an online club and compete in seasons. Here you’ll be able to take on other clubs and climb the ranks online. It’s a nice little addition that’s in line with other sports games, even if it does feel a little barren.

And that’s pretty much all there is to Mario Strikers: Battle League. Sadly, there aren’t very many unlockables or modes outside of the extra cups and gear to improve your Strikers’ stats such as speed, strength, and shooting prowess. Even the roster seems a little empty, with series favorites like Daisy and Koopa Troopa completely absent here. It’s very possible that more characters, courses, cups, and maybe even modes will be available in post-launch DLC, but we’ll have to wait and see.

That said, what’s here is a great deal of fun, especially if you have friends to play with or are thinking of jumping online for some competitive fun. The game’s mechanics are sound, and this time around, the core gameplay is a little more challenging without being overbearing. Yes, it would’ve been cool if the game had some more characters and modes, but what’s included is a highly entertaining game of arcade soccer.

Mushroom Kingdom Antics

What Mario Strikers: Battle League ultimately does is provide you with a fun and frenzied party game. As such, everything has that classic, colorful Mushroom Kingdom look and feel. Admittedly, Mario Strikers has never had the level of charm of something like Mario Kart or Mario Party, but that signature humor and silliness from characters like Wario and Donkey Kong is definitely not lost.

Mario Strikers: Battle League Gameplay

In terms of its graphics, Mario Strikers: Battle League looks very good. The visuals are detailed, character models look excellent, and the animations are smooth. You’ll never get tired of seeing Waluigi dance like a lunatic after scoring or seeing Yoshi be his usual cheerful self.

The sound design works well enough, too. You’ll hear a lot of guitar riffs and sporty rock themes. Beyond that, though, it’s always cool hearing characters from the Mario series celebrating and egging each other on.

What you get out of Mario Strikers: Battle League depends on how much you like the series. If you’re looking for all the bells and whistles of a game like Mario Kart, you’ll probably be disappointed. If, however, you’re looking for easy-to-grasp arcade soccer that you can play with friends locally or online (or with anyone online, really), you’re going to get a lot of mileage out of Battle League. It’s super entertaining, and you’ll want to play match after match and flex your futbol skills.

Score: 8 out of 10

Follow this author on .