Mario Strikers Battle League Review
Mario Strikers Battle League brings soccer with Mario and friends to the Nintendo Switch. We did a preview of the game and now here is our review of Mario Strikers. Is this another Nintendo sports hit?
Mario Strikers Battle League is basically “Mario Soccer” or as our friends overseas would say “Mario Football”. The goal, of course, is to get the ball into the other team’s net. In order to do that, you can totally cheat and use Mario items on the other players or just play dirty and tackle another player. Players can also hit the electric fences on the sides of the field and get a good shock! These items and extra elements do add a little variety to the gameplay, but otherwise its pretty basic soccer. There are plenty of tutorials to teach you the controls and the game’s basics. That said, Mario Strikers controls well and its pretty easy to learn the basics even without the tutorials. The more advanced maneuvers, however, are a bit more difficult to understand and execute.
The game has three modes: Quick Battle, Cup Battle, and Striker Clubs. The gameplay is the same in each of them. Quick battle just lets you play a quick match, Cup Battle is all offline with you and potentially friends vs AI apponents, and Striker Clubs has you and some friends going up against other players in seasonal matches. Quick Battle can be played online too, or locally with some friends. The online multiplayer works well and we didn’t see too many disconnections.
Unfortunately, Mario Strikers does not support voice chat or any text chatting and so it feels like you are playing with a bot online instead of a real person. The online experience is good. but you could easily just play it offline by yourself and have a similar experience. To get a real multiplayer experience, you need to play locally with friends. Unfortunately, a lot of the great customization options – your club field, kit, etc. – are all tied to the online modes.
Mario Striker’s content is very barebones overall. The characters are what who you would expect with no surprises and the only reward for beating or playing matches are coins that you use to buy gear. The gear effects stats that are supposed to make your characters better players but the stats and the gear feels tacked on and disconnected from the game. Hopefully more characters, modes, and rewards will be added by post launch updates and/or DLC. Strikers feels like a game that needs more content: a party mode, min-game modes, new characters, and rewards that feel real and important. If Mario Strikers is left in its current state for too long, players will get bored of it.
Mario Strikers Battle League is not a horrible game, but it could’ve been so much better. Even the game’s graphics could be better.
Mario Strikers Battle League is a nice looking game when you see the characters close up during replays and celebratory moments. The usual far off camera during matches makes the graphics look just okay. Some close up moves are neat, though they do take on an odd cell-shaded look. While some might find this aesthetic appealing, others will feel drawn out of the match. as Hyper Strikes happen fairly frequently in-game, this could become a deterrent for some folks, especially since you cannot skip the animation. Mario Strikers isn’t a bad looking game at all but its far from the best looking game on the Switch.
The soundtrack, meanwhile, is alright. There isn’t any notable sound effects or music in this game. It is just there.
Mario Strikers Battle League could’ve been so much better; the game feels incomplete in its current state. With the addition of more modes, more variety in the gameplay, and some way to communicate online, Mario Strikers could be another hit Nintendo sports game. As it is, this game will be easily forgotten if the post-launch updates/DLC are not frequent and substantive.
Time will tell if Mario Strikers gets better. For now, there are better sports you could play on the Nintendo Switch.
Thank you to Nintendo Canada for providing a digital code for this review. Mario Strikers Battle League is now available via retail and in the Nintendo Switch eshop!