With the Switch gaining widespread sales success, Nintendo has a respectable installed base and this is an ideal situation to relive historical franchises that have long been missing from the scene, or that were literally forgotten for one reason or another. . In particular, Nintendo is once again taking all or almost all national sports titles to the crest of the wave, such as golf, tennis and now football also comes with Mario Strikers Battle Footaball.
This is the third installment of a sports series that was born on the Nintendo GameCube with the chapter simply called Mario Strikers, followed shortly after by a Wii sequel, Mario Strikers Charged. They were very fun games if played in company, which embodied the Nintendoso spirit very well with characters, themed stadiums and typical objects used as weapons on the field, which more than football was a kind of battlefield. However, both prequels had been criticized for the lack of content for a single player.
Mario Strikers Battle League Football comes to Switch by taking the key mechanics of previous games, expanding them as much as possible without distorting them, also adding more content, especially for those who do not have the opportunity to play together locally, with a bite wink. to competitive online games. As for the rest of the chapters, the game is produced by Nintendo but entrusted to the original developer of the series, Next Level Games, who also oversaw the development of Luigi’s Mansion 3, among others.
The gameplay of Mario Strikers Battle League is as simple as it is straightforward: two teams of five players face off on a football field, with the user controlling four and the goalkeeper managed by the CPU. The style of play is anything but simulative, forget about FIFA or PES … for those of you who remember, it’s a concept very similar to the World Cup for the NES, a game in which players were killed among them on the field of play without any referee. .. call fouls, and they could make super shots that were different depending on the team. Here, everything is very similar here, adding the classic objects from the world of Mario that are occasionally born in the field (red, green and thorny shells, stars, mushrooms for turbo or bob-omb) and a super weapon very similar to Super Smash Bros. The latter allows you to make a “hypergola” in a given time which in most cases is unstoppable and counts as two goals.
To perform a hypergola once the special skill has been taken, you need to be free enough in the middle of the course and load the shot button: at this point a swing very similar to the golf games you have to click on. twice and center the area begins.of relevance. If you manage to hit the blue zone, the shot will be unstoppable, otherwise the opposing player will have a chance to counter the power of the shot with a sequence of buttons.
Hyperthrous is certainly the element that breaks the game of matches, but it is by no means the only way to score. A reasoned game with first low passes or volleys will increase the effectiveness of normal shots, giving them some effect as well. That’s when it comes to casual gaming, but the control system also offers some degree of depth. In fact, there are techniques to anticipate the moves before receiving the ball, dribbling that if done at the right time can block the opponent for a few moments, thus paving the way for a number of advantages that make passes and shots be stronger, faster and more powerful. effective. Facing opponents with tacks or shoulders is not only an integral part of the game, but it is also necessary to win. Mario Strikers Battle League Football has a tough time on the field … you can’t win without a few broken bones! Trying a hard entry is often effective, but also risky, as if the opponent makes a timed dodge he will receive a boost. More than just a football game, it sometimes sounds like a kind of fighting game.
Before entering the field, you can choose a team of four characters, also wanting all Mario or all Gripau, and choose whether the change of player is done manually or by the CPU. Each character in the cast has their own stats, so as usual Toad will be the fastest, Bowser or Wario the most powerful, and Mario the usual all-terrain wildcard. You can then equip teams that, once unlocked with progress, increase your stats. Finally you choose the color of the shirt and the stadium, and you can start playing. The games are four-minute single-time (which can be modified locally) and are non-slip, so they are also suitable for playing on the tram or on short breaks from work and study. In the event of a tie at the end of the match, the golden goal will be awarded.
Once the mechanics of the game are explained, the question arises: is it fun? Absolutely yes! Games are always hectic and the space on the playing field is well calibrated to force the user to struggle to find a comfortable position from which to shoot. Most of the time you will fight in the middle of the field for possession of the ball and once the object of the special ability appears you will forget about the goals and the ball to catch it, without any prey. Obviously, if you play with friends, the fun is more than guaranteed. It’s a perfect party game like the Switch Sport teammates, Mario Tennis Aces or Mario Party, which will make the evenings fly full of laughter and carefree. In fact, you can play up to 8 (4vs4) locally with a single console, with several consoles each on your screen, or in casual online games or with friends, in one-on-one or two-on-two settings.
However, for those who do not have many friends or family to play with, the content is quite scarce. There is a local tournament mode that consists of five cups available out of the box and another that opens with progress. The user must win to continue, but may lose a maximum of one game before being eliminated. In the second, you can only try again if you have enough coins accumulated with the victories. Coins are also used to unlock costumes, but this content for a player is a bit of an end in itself and doesn’t offer many incentives. They would have been more welcoming if they had relied on a story mode with progress unlocking new stages or characters.
Then there is a competitive online mode, “Cub Striker”, which allows you to create a club in which each person is assigned a single player, a kind of FIFA Pro Club but very simplified. Each team can accommodate up to 20 different users and thus creates a kind of clan, with relative calls for each scheduled league match. With the victories the classification can be scaled and the system is proposed in a format with seasonal progress. However, the first season has not yet begun and we have not been able to test this full part of the game, but we reserve the right to do so later and possibly update the review.
For the rest, there is not much else. The list of only ten characters, for example, is smaller than the previous two games for Gamecube and Wii, but Nintendo has already promised that free content will be distributed after the release and if the game will suffer the same treatment as the recent Mario. Tennis and Mario Golf, users will have good reasons to play again regularly. However, we need to evaluate the game in terms of release, and we must recognize that for those who do not have the opportunity or desire to play together locally or online, there are not many incentives to play for a long time and consistently. .
Technically the game is very nice: it is colorful, works smoothly at about 60 fps fixed and the stages are well represented. We liked the fact that in the matches each team can choose their own stadium and that it will be a hybrid if the two teams make different choices (for example, half of the pitch will be Castello di Lava and the other Mushroom Hill). and the soundtrack that picks up the melody from previous chapters but in a re-orchestrated version. Charges are fast and the console battery doesn’t run out too fast when playing in a portable setup. However, we found a sometimes excessive delay in games with online matchmaking, with the user with little freedom of action in case of too high a ping.
Mario Strikers Battle League Football improves on some aspects of the previous chapters of the series, such as the ability to choose four main characters (before, for example, only Mario was chosen and the others were 3 anonymous Koopas), but in terms of in the content there is not this step forward that we would have liked. The game is a lot of fun to play locally, but it can get boring after a while for those who play alone, unless you’re competitive with Club Striker.
In the face of all this, if it is considered a party game like Switch Sports or Mario Tennis, to play in the company of many friends, we are faced with a game that is let play and one game leads to another, but as the football The game offers little content compared to a classic FIFA or similar, not only for the game modes, but also for example by the impossibility of changing the shot. That’s why we recommend it to those who always have a lot of people at home, large families and your children who often invite their cousins or friends, for everyone else will taste. In the latter case it does not become a bad game, but it is not a mandatory purchase.