Forget everything you knew about football, we have the right to take out, knock down and crush the goals with inhuman shots in Mario Strikers: Battle League† The practice is great but requires a rare skill for a Nintendo game and is repetitive in single player mode.
Posted at 10:48am
The latest Nintendo Switch game, co-developed with Canadian studio Next Level, is out Friday and is the third iteration of the franchise. Mario Strikersoriginally released for the Wii in 2007. This game was already a sequel to Mario Smash Football made for the GameCube in 2005.
We are therefore at the center of the Nintendo universe, starting with a choice of ten canonical characters, Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Peach, Toad, Donkey Kong and other Rosalina who compete in teams of five against five in five frenzied stadiums from the medieval castle to the mushroom mountain as you go to the jungle camp. It can be played in solo mode, against the computer or with up to seven other players in local or online mode. This last option was obviously not available during our test, as the game was not yet public.
For starters, you have the choice between the quick match and a series of tournaments with different modalities, the number of which increases as you progress through the game. Each character has their strengths and weaknesses, Donkey Kong is rather slow but powerful while Peach zooms across the field. Players can be equipped with additional gear after victories that will give you different skills… or a new look.
Just like in a more serious football game, you have to pass the ball from one player to another, take it from the opponent and count. That’s where the resemblance to classic FIFA games ends.
There are technically no rules and the land is surrounded by an electric fence. Since we are at Nintendo, you have objects that fall from the sky, bananas, turtles, bombs, which you can throw at your opponents. Squares allow you to acquire powers to electrify, confuse, or overthrow your opponents.
At any time, and this is a rare choice in a Nintendo game, you can brutally tackle the opponent and send him to dreamland. It’s all about timing to get there. On the other hand, you can get tackled and have to avoid the worst with a precise combination of keys.
From time to time, an electrified orb that you can catch will show you another aspect of the game: you’ll then have access to the Hyper Strike for a few seconds. This shot is activated by pressing your button firmly as a circle of energy fills around your player. A manga-like animation then takes place and the player performs spectacular gestures before attempting to score. The more precise your gesture, the more your shot is lightning and has a chance of going into the target.
Accuracy is a key concept here: Mario Strikers: Battle League† To master dozens of gestures, you need to go through a good hour of training and eight lessons. Acceleration, targeted or charged shots, lobed passes, tackles, dribbles and dodges, direct passes or shots (“one-timers” in hockey), which must be added before each workout for “perfect gestures”: rarely do we have such complexity seen in such a game, far from the intuitive controls of Mario Kart or Mario Tennis Aces, two games that are nevertheless also filled with Nintendo effects.
The advantage is that we have an impressive range of motion. The main drawback of a game designed for family or friends is that you will struggle to find an opponent who masters its subtleties as well as you do.
Since we couldn’t play online and there were no worthy rivals available, we just played against the computer. In this setting, the animations and special effects are fun and amazing, but they get quite repetitive after a while. Strong the arrival of friends online for a little variety.
In the end, here’s a game with explosive animations, action packed and refreshing, pure Nintendo that won’t innovate the genre but won’t disappoint fans of this universe. Football fans, on the other hand, are not at the right place.
Mario Strikers Battle League
- Developer: Next Level Games
- Publisher: Nintendo
- From 1 to 8 players, from 10 years
- Released: June 10, 2022
- Price: $79.99
- Rating: 3.5 out of 5