Mario Strikers Battle League Football Preview: We played probably the best multiplayer game of the year on Nintendo Switch on Switch

Example Mario Strikers Battle League Football: We Played Probably the Best Multiplayer Game of the Year on Nintendo Switch

After much demand from Nintendo fans, the Mario Strikers series is finally making a comeback with Battle League Football, nearly a decade after its last installment on Wii. While the title is expected to be one of the big Switch cartridges for this summer, we managed to play it for over an hour to make a lot of similarities, and we’ll give you our impressions.

Overview

  • Deeper gameplay
  • Pre-match preparation, more important than ever
  • A little light content at launch?

Mario Strikers: Battle League Football – Our first impressions on video!

If you’ve never tried a game from the Mario Strikers subseries, rest assured, it’s very simple. First, imagine a classic soccer game with two teams of five players, including goalkeeper. From there, all you need to do is forget about yellow, red, or offside cards, ashere all shots are allowed, the referee and the VAR are absent subscribers† On the pitch, only one thing counts: to score more goals than the opponents, regardless of the means used to win the ball back, whether through violent tackles or thanks to objects à la Mario Kart.

Obviously, as with any Mario sports game, each character has a special move with impressive animation that allows you to score two goals here as the ball enters the cages. Finally, it must be recognized that“A lot of the fun of the experience comes mainly from the often very funny celebrations and reactions of the players when there is a goal” † Taking the common ground of all Mario Football games, this Switch installment brings a host of new features to bring unprecedented depth to the gameplay.

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Deeper gameplay

Overall, Mario Strikers: Battle League Football remains similar to its elders, but it brings enough subtleties to breathe new life into the formula† For example, all movements now have an improved version if they are timed perfectly, both dribbling and passing for example. As for shots, these are getting more technical as you can now aim more accurately by loading your shot, allowing you to score both at ground level and in the top corner. The Hyper Strikes also see their action modified as it now requires to recover an object before firing, while the opposing team’s keeper can send them back by pressing the A Button. But rest assured, the essence does not change since the animations of celebrations, reactions and those of the Hyper Strikes are always so funny and impressive.

Mario Strikers Battle League Football: We Played Probably the Best Multiplayer Game of the Year on Nintendo Switch

Beyond these subtleties, the title includes new moves to give even more depth to the gameplay† When the lob shot is gone, we find the lob pass, the free pass, and the loaded tackle that allows a player to push another player to get an opponent’s ball back. If these gestures are sometimes technical to place in the middle of the game, they can be very useful in certain situations for those who have mastered the game mechanics perfectly. Conversely, certain movements have been made less effective in view of balance matches. It is for this purpose that the developers have introduced stamina that limits the number of dribbles and sprints players can chain. Using it too much will eventually tire your characters, so use it sparingly. In addition, the race has also been modified as it takes the form of dashes instead of a sprint, giving it a different use.

Mario Strikers Battle League Football: We Played Probably the Best Multiplayer Game of the Year on Nintendo Switch

With all these little additions, Mario Strikers: Battle League Football brings a more technical dimension to the gameplay of previous installments, which will please those who don’t plan on dropping the title immediately† But rest assured, we are still faced with a Mario game whose goal is always to be very accessible so that everyone can have fun quickly, simply by grabbing a controller. Still, the action is sometimes hard to understand at first, given the merry chaos that unfolds on the screen. We eventually get used to it after a while, and if this concern isn’t dramatic, we have to recognize that it’s a recurring bug in Mario football games.

Mario Strikers Battle League Football: We Played Probably the Best Multiplayer Game of the Year on Nintendo SwitchMario Strikers Battle League Football: We Played Probably the Best Multiplayer Game of the Year on Nintendo Switch

Pre-match preparation, more important than ever

Mario Strikers Battle League Football: We Played Probably the Best Multiplayer Game of the Year on Nintendo Switch

Fortunately, it’s not just on the pitch that things have become more complex, as the pre-match now plays a more decisive role. First of all, the squad composition has changed slightly since the Gamecube and Wii episodes, which gives it a great strategic aspect† Previously, we chose a captain first, then the other teammates were creatures like Koopas, Maskass or Boos. From now on, every member of your team is an important figure in the Mario universe and no longer a simple minion. And since each character has their own strength, speed, or shot stats, selection is crucial. So it can be interesting to put a heavy weight behind to defend, two fast players on the sides to quickly reach the opponents’ cages and finish with a good point shooter.

Generally, stats play a bigger role than ever in this Switch episode, as evidenced by the addition of gear† Now each character can wear different armor pieces that directly affect these stats. Well, even if you can’t make Bowser fast with that, you can use these elements to tone down your players’ flaws or accentuate their strengths. And to unlock them, you must first buy them one by one for gold coins that can be collected in different ways.

A little light content at launch?

Mario Strikers Battle League Football: We Played Probably the Best Multiplayer Game of the Year on Nintendo Switch

If the title seems solid for now thanks to the game mechanics, we can’t say it seems that complete in content, at least from what we could see† During our session, it seemed to us that only ten characters will be playable at launch, meaning we often run the same faces with these small teams of four players. Similar observation on the side of the armor as we were shown five unique sets, making only twenty armor in total. Finally, we can also make this comment with the stages that are five in number. Of course, this is just an example and the game may have hidden content in it without us knowing, so take these comments with a grain of salt.

Mario Strikers Battle League Football: We Played Probably the Best Multiplayer Game of the Year on Nintendo Switch

At first glance, this may all seem a bit light for a title that seems to want to live through time, given the technicalities of the mechanics. However, when we look at the other Mario sports games on Switch, we have reason to rest assured. If we take Mario Tennis Aces for example, the latter has seen its character count double thanks to free DLC that is regularly released in the year after launch. The same goes for Mario Golf: Super Rush, where several additional content has been added to add new players and courses. So, for this Mario Strikers: Battle League Football we can expect a similar treatment, with regular free DLC, to maintain the hype for the months following the title’s release. However, we remind you that Nintendo has not said at this time if additional content is planned in the future and therefore it is just speculation.

Our impressions

After an hour of play, it seems clear that Mario Strikers: Battle League Football has what it takes to be one of the most fun multiplayer games on the Switch. As we find the joyful chaos of previous episodes, the gameplay becomes more and more complex so that the online mode can remain relevant over time. However, this new episode does not forget to remain accessible so that everyone can have fun without taking the lead. It remains to be seen if the content will not be too light at launch and if additional free content is planned in the months after launch. At least until June 10 to get your hands on the final version of the title, which promises to be exciting.

editorial review

Exciting

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