Mario Strikers Battle League

Mario Strikers makes its long awaited return and debut on Switch in Mario Strikers Battle League. In this five-on-five soccer-like sport there are no rules, you do whatever it takes to win! Up to eight players, four players on each team, can compete against each other on one Nintendo Switch system.

Mario Strikers Battle League Details

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Developer(s): Next Level Games and Nintendo EPD
Publisher(s): Nintendo
Genre: Sports
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)

Simple to play, hard to master

In Mario Strikers Battle Leagues, players take four of their favourite Nintendo characters to create a team. Those 4 players, along with Boom Boom the goalie, will compete with other teams in a 5 versus 5 game complete with crazy shots, devastating tackles, and wacky items. There are advanced maneuvers to learn, but at its most basic, it can be quite accessible and fun if all players are at the same level.

On offence, players can shoot with A, pass with B, lob pass with Y, and use items with X. Right trigger allows players to receive a short burst of speed, while the left trigger allows players to swap their character. Defensive play is equally as easy, with X again launching items, and Y being used to tackle. That’s the basics, and if you play with someone else who fully understands the basics, there can be competitive matches.

More advanced maneuvers require varying degrees of difficult button and timing mechanisms. You can dodge an oncoming tackle by being precise with your button presses. You can pass with greater speed and accuracy when they are timed perfectly. Your shot has more power when time perfectly. If lined up correctly, you can push a forward player, to get a step on defenders offensively and to tackle from afar defensively.

All of this, and we have not even talked about improved characters via equipment upgrades and the brand new Hyper Strikes! These deeper mechanics are great for those playing the game day-in and day-out, but are too much to quickly comprehend in a party setting.

Mario Strikers Battle League

Identity crisis?

Based on my experience playing alone and with friends, the game seems to have an identity crisis. While the wacky fun of soccer is definitely here, the complexity of the controls doesn’t make it as accessible as other Mario sports titles. For example, games such as Mario Tennis Aces or even Mario Golf Super Rush are more casual gamer friendly. This would not necessarily be a problem if there was more to experience here as a single-player game, but unfortunately the content is lacking.

The game actually mirrors the content availability of the Mario Kart franchise closely. If you choose to play on your own, your only option is to play through a series of progressively more difficult tournaments that do provide a decent challenge. That being said, once they are done and gone, there is not much more to do alone.

That’s where the multiplayer aspect of Mario Strikers takes over. The online club mode is built to be the must play mode if you have Nintendo Switch Online. You can join up with a club, alongside 19 other players, and begin competing in various seasons that last around a week. Unfortunately, during the review period, I didn’t get to try that mode out like it was intended. There weren’t enough players online. However, it might be the only major draw that will keep you playing past the next few months.

Outstandingly beautiful

No expense was spared making Mario Strikers Battle League one of the more impressive sports titles on Nintendo Switch. While Mario Golf Super Rush relied on pristine fairways, greens, and a quiet atmosphere, Strikers goes in the exact opposite direction. Heavy music really creates a unique feel to each match, and the variety of different pitches to play on are great to look at.

That being said, it is unfortunate that different pitch themes do not actually result in a different experience on the field. No matter what you do, the pitch and how you play remains the same. The impressive visuals extend past the setting however. Each character is extremely detailed, and when adding equipment to them, paid using coins you have earned, will help alter your stats. Characters look even more impressive than before.

Additionally, animations are top notch. While you marvel at the regular field movement – passing, shooting, tackling – your jaw will likely hit the floor when you experience each characters unique Hyper Strike for the first time. These strikes are animated in a beautiful cell shaded, comic book format that really pops. While it does pull you from the action for a few moments, even after my 10th strike with Bowser, it was still somehow enjoyable!

Mario Strikers Battle League is an enjoyable game but is bit more complicated than it needs to be

Honestly, at the moment, I’m a bit uncertain who the audience is for Mario Strikers Battle League. In theory, as a Mario sports title it should appeal to the masses in ways that realistic soccer games such as FIFA cannot.

Yet a lack of content and overly complicated controls might be too much for some casual Mario sports fans. Ultimately, this could result in Mario Strikers Battle League becoming a very niche title. Hopefully with more content scheduled to be added for free in the future, things will pan out. In the end, if you’ve enjoyed the series in the past, there is still lots to like here.

+ Beautifully created with outstanding visuals and audio
+ Fun Hyper Strikes
+ Additional unlocks to improve character skills

– Lacks content
– Gameplay that is a bit more complicated than it needs to be

OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF MARIO STRIKERS BATTLE LEAGUE

Gameplay: 3/5
Graphics: 4/5
Sound: 4/5
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 3/5

Overall Rating 3.5/5 (70%)

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1 COMMENT

  1. Thanks for the review Jon! I’m interested to try this one out, but I think I’ll try it from the library before I decide if I want to purchase it.

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