Absent for years, the Mario Strikers series is finally making a comeback in 2022 with Mario Strikers: Battle League Football, still developed by Next Level Games. What to please fans of mischief on the pitch because unlike FIFA, there are no rules here. Since its GameCube debut, the license has stood out from other Mario sports games thanks to its enhanced atmosphere, atypical of Nintendo’s mustachioed plumber universe, and with the new Nintendo Switch work, we were hoping for a performance worthy of its predecessors. . If he has enough to raise the crowd a little, he doesn’t escape a few yellow cards.
Test carried out on Nintendo Switch thanks to a digital version sent by the publisher
Mario Calcio has changed
A little background before talking about Mario Strikers: Battle League Football because the little ones may not know the first games. First there was Mario Smash Football on GameCube in 2005 and then Mario Strikers Charged Football on Wii in 2007. Unlike other titles in which the Mario clique competes in various sports, the first Mario Strikers can be described as vicious, insane. edges. It is enough to see the terrain and the behavior of the characters in the 2 games to realize it: stadium where lightning can strike at any moment, ground that moves in all directions, Daisy who literally has hot buttocks, Wario who detonates a bomb when his team takes a goal, steel ball in the Wii game, Bowser martyrs his teammates in case of defeat … The examples are legions and it was really nice to see the famous Mario characters in a very different context.
With Mario Strikers: Battle League Football we keep the charm of the saga launched by Next Level Games to a minimum, but we still feel that the years have passed and that Nintendo has undoubtedly asked Canadian developers to calm the game in some respects. . Indeed, everything seems smoother, sanitized, both in the artistic direction and in the atmosphere. If we still have particular animations during the goals scored, it lacks that extravagant touch typical of the first shutters. It’s softer, less impactful and fun which is a bit of a shame, but rest assured, there are still scenes like Waluigi doing a crazy pose with a rose or Wario making us smell the garlic he ate. to taunt his opponents. Fortunately, the main draw of the game is obviously its gameplay and on this side, Mario Strikers: Battle League Football knows how to defend itself. to the detriment of its content.
Ligue 1 will be for later
If Mario Strikers: Battle League Football therefore has a less hectic aura, it is different from its predecessors also in terms of gameplay and, for once, Next Level Games has made an effort on some points in order to offer a unique experience. Yes, goodbye to the concept of captains accompanied by henchmen because here teams composed only of illustrious characters are played. Thus, we can completely have a team like Mario, Toad, Donkey Kong and Bowser. This aspect of the game is cut out for multiplayer, which we’ll talk about later. Also, the equipment is one of the new features of this episode because with the money raised by winning games and cups, you can buy enough to protect your head, arms, torso and legs, which affects things like strength, speed. , shooting power, etc. This adds depth to the saga and we don’t mind, since we can create characters specially cut for this or that style of play.
Speaking of gameplay, Mario Strikers: Battle League Football’s gameplay is more technical than its big brothers, who are sometimes a double-edged sword. Already now we can accelerate a little by pressing a button but pay attention to the resistance, otherwise fatigue is guaranteed. And if we always maintain a system of tackles that must be precise to avoid giving objects to the opposing team, it is possible to give a boost to the team by facing your teammates. Alongside there are automatic or free passes, charge shots, being able to send enemy players into electrified networks (sadistic but diabolically rewarding), interceptions, dribbles, Mario-specific wacky items, goalkeeper positioning to take into account and, of course, the hyper strike, vestige of the super strikes of the past. By picking up an orb of energy, a player can fully charge his shot before unleashing a devastating blow, capable of scoring 2 goals if hit perfectly because that’s how it is in Mario Strikers. We also appreciate that it’s much less overused than the previous part, as we could get a lot more super strikes scoring up to 5 goals at a time depending on the circumstances. Plus, you no longer have to stop with gyro functions, you just need to hammer the A button if you are dealing with imperfect hypershot. Finally, unlike Mario Strikers Charged Football which had a ball that charged with energy with a certain number of passes, the most important thing here is the timing to score good goals. You may have noticed that there are a lot of parameters to take into account in Mario Strikers: Battle League Football and we haven’t even covered all the subtleties, which makes it a game that isn’t easy to master at first glance, but once it’s done, we can make very fun games.
Unfortunately, this means we lose some accessibility and for sessions with friends who don’t use the software diligently, the fun may not always be there. The action in Mario Strikers: Battle League Football is also quite unreadable at times, due to an impractical interface, it’s not uncommon not to know where the ball or character you are controlling is when chaos is in the game. We also talk about the AI of the uncontrolled characters and the guardian, not terrible at all. For the former, they are rarely useful on the pitch when they are not directly controlled and their switching is not always done optimally, which can lead to frustrating goals from the opponent. The worst, however, is the goalkeeper, who manages to stop volleys of shots without breaking a sweat as well as being completely stupid and blind. It once happened to us that an opponent scored from the start, without loading his shot, while normally this shouldn’t happen without tiring the goalkeeper a little. Sure, it takes a bit of randomness to deliver goals for everyone, but it can be really annoying.
Unfortunately for a game of this style you want a minimum of content and to date Mario Strikers: Battle League Football strongly disappoints. 10 characters, fewer items than before, only 5 stadium themes (Club Strikers can be customized as a minimum, but hey), cuts without much interest … Of course Nintendo has promised free updates that will expand the software in the months to come, but the result hasn’t been encouraging at all with the latest Mario games, so there’s no reason to worry. Speaking of stadiums, they are classic and none have a strength of their own like the Wii opera, which has brought more anarchy. On this point everyone will find their own preferences but on our side we miss the madness of the fields of Mario Strikers Charged Football. We talked about it just before, Club Strikers allow you to create groups of friends to earn points and climb the ranks, while earning tokens to change the look of the club’s stadium, which is pretty nice. There’s still one big black spot in Mario Strikers: Battle League Football right now, which is that it’s impossible to play 4v4 online, unless you’re all console 2s. So even for ranked matches, you can only form duets if you don’t have anyone else locally, which is almost unworthy for a 2022 match. So yes, basically, Mario Strikers: Battle League Football has immersive gameplay that is sure to delight a lot of parties, but it’s amazing to see so many troubling points for a series that has proven itself in the past. We bet that the updates will be able to correct the situation a bit because the base is very solid, despite some risks.
Next Level Games has always been able to offer Nintendo games visually on the job, as evidenced by Luigi’s Mansion 3 and this Mario Strikers: Battle League Football that is playing as a small champion for the technical and artistic part. The rendering of the stadiums and characters is clean, the animations are sublime and unusual at all times, many effects that delight the pupils and, above all, it is fluid and clean in all circumstances, both in dock mode and in handheld mode. Special mention to the hyper strikes, superbly staged and with even a small visual change with sketched outlines on the characters, reminiscent of the style of aggressive Mario Strikers artwork. There is also the presence of small replays after the goals, enough to appreciate the quality of the gestures of Mario and company. Aside from the somewhat boring and impractical interface around the edges, it is almost flawless.
However, for the sonic environment, it’s not always ideal and Mario Strikers Charged Football is doing better on this side. For the voices and sound effects typical of football he is successful but the music scores less than before. Warning, they remain of excellent quality and adhere perfectly to the tone of this shutter, with rock themes that make you want to buzz on the ground, but again, the Wii episode went further with more variations in its styles, than to times bestowed new personalities on characters from the Mario universe. We had techno, reggae, country and you name it. It lacks diversity and extravagance, just like the rest of the game.
Highly anticipated in turn, Mario Strikers: Battle League Football convinces more than enough for its both technical and delusional parts, despite some shortcomings, but a few things are still missing for the euphoria to really be there. If for the general vibe, it’s probably too late to hope for any change, it’s imperative that future updates bring mass content, otherwise Next Level Games’ new production will disappoint players in the long run.