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Mario Strikers: Battle League soccer game review, what you need to know

Prepare for cartoon carnage in the third installment of Mario’s no-rules soccer game.

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Although I grew up in a half-English family who like to watch a decent Premier League game, I never managed to find the appeal of football.

This ambivalence has also largely extended to realistic sports games, despite my brothers’ desire to endear me to Fifa over the years.

Had my character in Fifa been equipped with the delightful ability to swallow the ball, turn it into an egg, throw it down the field and hatch it as it passed the goalkeeper, my feelings about it may have been very different .

Luckily, that’s exactly what you get in Nintendo’s third title Mario Strikers franchise, Mario Strikers: Battle League Football.

As a newcomer to the series, I wasn’t sure what to expect. battle league when I first started it. In true Mario style, what follows is nothing short of chaotic fun – albeit with considerable glitches.

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PLAYABLE CHARACTERS

In his heart, battle league offers a new take on arcade-style football, incorporating bold artistic graphics, messy gameplay and minimal rules.

Two teams of five compete in short matches, where you can maintain full control over four players. Your goalie meanwhile is a mostly CPU-powered Boom Boom Koopa, with the game only granting you control of the character when defending certain Hyper Strike shots (more on that later).

Unlike previous versions of the game which saw your team filled with Shy Guys and Koopa Troopers, Battle League lets you choose the four main players before the match. A disappointing number of characters are available here: Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Peach, Rosalina, Toad, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Wario, and Waluigi.

While the small list might not be too big for the game as a whole, it’s missing a lot of notable characters in the Mario universe that we would have liked to see. Whether battle league follows the steps of other Mario sports titles, we might see the character selection expand in the future via free content updates, which would be a bonus.

Of the 10 characters currently available, each has different base stats for strength, speed, shooting, passing, and technique. For example, Toad is fast but weak, while Bowser is much harder to knock down but lacks technique. For this reason, you’ll want to think about your team stackup – making sure you have the required stats for a decent defender, two midfielders, and a striker.

You can also change character stats by equipping them with various head, arm, body, and leg gear (gear can be purchased with the coins you receive from playing matches).

Be warned that each new piece of gear will increase one particular stat while decreasing several others, which adds a thin layer of strategy to choosing your best lineups.

GAME CONTROLS AND OPTIONS

Once you’ve started battle league, you will be faced with a detailed tutorial on how to play. Depending on how familiar you are with the game, this can be incredibly helpful or quite overwhelming.

In addition to moving down the field, passing, tackling, and shooting, you can also dash, dodge, free pass, free lob, use items, and switch characters. This is followed by different types of shots – including basic shots, aimed shots and charged shots – “perfect” passing, shooting and tackling, mastering different types of objects and perfecting the aforementioned Hyper Strike shots . Phew.

Although the substantial amount of entries makes this an interesting and engaging game, learning how to play correctly takes both time and patience. After finishing all the tutorials, I had already forgotten at least a quarter of the controls by the time I entered my first game, which frankly is less than ideal.

To give the game credit, learning the basics is fairly intuitive, but gaining full mastery of the game certainly requires some skill. And if you haven’t yet grasped the complexity of the controls, playing online can quickly become a frustrating endeavor.

Rather than being matched with players of a similar skill level, you are simply matched with anyone who happens to be online at the time. So if you go into your first match as a relatively unskilled player, you can still be pitted against someone who has already spent a lot of time perfecting their game. Needless to say, this usually results in utter carnage. .

You can, of course, play solo against CPU, which we highly recommend as a starting point for newcomers. Once you level up your skills, there are relatively few options for single players. Instead, you’ll want to jump into one of the multiplayer modes, including Quick Battle, Cup Battles, and Strikers Club, which lets you join or create a club of up to 20 players.

There is also an option to join the same team as a friend and split the four characters between you. It also takes a bit of mastery but, if done correctly, you’ll often end up with better game strategy than when playing alone.

Adding more players to a match, on the other hand, absolutely affects the speed of the game. When I was playing with four players (two per team), my match was so laggy that it was almost unplayable. Hopefully this is something Nintendo will address soon, but at the moment it’s definitely a disappointment.

GAME

The goal of Fight League Football is as easy as it gets – kick the ball into the goal to score points for your team. Other than that, there are relatively few rules.

Although you can choose the court you play on, each design is fully enclosed, so there are no offside rules.

There’s also no referee, which means there’s plenty of room for violence. In fact, the only penalty you will inflict occurs when you tackle an opposing player who is not currently in possession of the ball. If you do, the mob will throw a box containing an item that only the opposing team can pick up and use.

That’s not to say you can’t knock your opponents out – there’s always a chance they won’t reach their box in time, so playing dirty can often be worth it.

In addition to penalty items, other item boxes will often appear on the field for any player to grab as well. Inside, you’ll get one of six random items you’ll likely recognize from other Mario games: banana peels, green seashells, red seashells, mushrooms, bob-ombs, and stars. As always, each item offers a unique perk that you can use to help your team score points.

Overall, the gameplay of battle league is solid but, given the relatively small locations, the number of controls, the constant switching between characters, and the assortment of randomly thrown objects on the field, it’s also just plain hectic. While this mostly adds to the fun, sometimes it can be a bit too much.

With so many events, it’s easy to lose track of your current player or lose sight of the ball, which becomes even more frustrating when playing in handheld mode.

A “visual assistance” mode exists to limit the chaos by placing numbers or shapes on the characters to make them more identifiable, although unfortunately it doesn’t do much to help you keep an eye on the location of the ball.

HYPER STRIKES

Hyper Strike shots are an undeniable highlight of battle league and are worth learning how to deal with properly.

After collecting a Hyper Orb, any member of your team will be able to perform a Hyper Strike for a short time. Once you go to score a goal, a bar will appear under your character and you will need to land two arrows in exactly the right place to line up the shot correctly.

If successful, your Hyper Strike shot will not only be unstoppable, but it will also score your team two points instead of one. If you don’t get it right, the opposing team will temporarily take control of their goalie and try to block the shot by pressing the buttons a bit.

It should be noted that you can attack a character attempting a Hyper Strike until the ball leaves their foot. Your characters will move in slow motion during this time, but it’s worth it and getting the timing right is super satisfying.

Hyper Strike shots will also give you awesome artwork and character-specific cutscenes. For example, Bowser will breath fire on the ball before burning the pitch while throwing it at the opposing goalie, while Peach will use her girly charm to make the goalie temporarily fall in love with her and throw the ball into her. its own purpose.

As great as these cutscenes are, there’s no way to skip them once you’ve seen them a few times, which gets a little tedious. However, they do at least offer a quick reprieve from all the madness.

SHOULD YOU BUY IT?

There’s a lot to like Mario Strikers: Battle League, including its tight gameplay, customizable characters, and general sense of chaos. With only 10 characters and five stadiums available at launch, we’re sure hoping for free updates in the near future to shake things up a bit.

The game is also currently buoyed by its multiplayer modes, which makes it fun to play with friends, but not so great for solo players unless you’re playing online – and even then it might take a while. to lock an opponent. There are also a few other downsides, such as extreme lag when playing with three or more players in a row and difficulty tracking the ball in chaos.

Overall however, battle league is an extremely fun game that actually requires some skill and cunning to play. There’s also nothing boring about the gameplay itself, meaning even the least athletic player will get a serious kick out of it.

Global mark : 4/5

Price: $79.95

Or buy:Mario Strikers: Battle League Football is available at major retailers like amazon australia, To catch, Big W and Harvey Norman. You can also purchase the game directly from Nintendo eShop.

Looking for more game content? Check out the best Nintendo Switch deals, the best PlayStation deals, the best game releases for 2022, the best gaming chairs or the best gaming headphones.

Lauren is the Best Of Consumer Technology Editor at news.com.au. Previously, she worked at comparison site Finder as a senior shopping writer, where she reported on everything from tech gadgets to the latest home products. Before cutting her teeth as a journalist, she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of South Australia and worked as a media adviser for JB Hi-Fi where she sold the very products she writes about now. .

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