Mario Strikers: Battle League Review
- Story And Setting
- Visuals And Performance
Mario Strikers: Battle League offers great gameplay paired with creative customization, but it does lack in the single-player department.
- Developer: Next Level Games
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Release Date: June 10, 2022
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch
- Tested On: Nintendo Switch
- Smooth Gameplay
- 8-Player Co-op
- Creative Customization
- Hyper Strike Mechanic
- Impressive Performance
- No Campaign
- Singleplayer Is Non-Existent
- Tedious Matchmaking
Mario games never really go out of fashion, but it had been quite a while since we’d seen a new entry in the Mario Strikers series.
In fact, well over a decade had gone by without a new game, and the franchise was almost forgotten about until Nintendo decided to drop Mario Strikers: Battle League last year, which, despite its flaws, is still a very solid new entry in the franchise.
Story And Setting
Now many of you might have already expected this, but Mario Strikers: Battle League does not offer a fleshed-out campaign mode, which is probably one of the biggest flaws of the game. The single-player content is so barebones that if you’re not interested in multiplayer, it’s really not worth it to get the game.
You can basically fight against CPU in Cup Battles or against other friends in the local co-op mod, and that’s about it.
Cup Battles will basically put you against different AI teams and will allow you to become a better player before entering the multiplayer scene. Aside from that, there is not much offered in the game if you decide to play it offline.
At its core, Mario Strikers: Battle League is a sports game with your favorite Mario characters. At launch, the game had a small base roster, but the free updates have introduced new characters that you can play as and increased the roster size to 16 playable characters.
The gameplay basically revolves around you assembling a team of characters and using them to play soccer matches, much like the FIFA titles. But unlike FIFA, this game has a more bizarre turn twist on the sport. You can utilize various special attacks and items to boost your team and score more points whilst on the playing field.
You can create a team of your 4 favorite or strongest characters, whereas the fifth member will always be CPU-controlled and will act as the goalkeeper. You’ll have complete control over your whole team aside from this goalkeeper, who is known as Boom Boom. In local coop, up to 8 players can compete in a single match offline.
Mario Strikers: Battle League does not offer a fleshed-out campaign mode, which is probably one of the biggest flaws of the game.
Each character boasts a different Hyper Strike, which is their special move, and there are actually different attributes that balance all these characters accordingly. Strength is tied to how easily you can tackle your opponents on the field, whereas Speed is related to your running capabilities.
The Shooting stat determines how powerful of a kick you can execute, and Passing is tied to the speed and range of your passes to other members of the team. Lastly, the Technique stat is probably the most important one as it is tied to your Hyper Strike, dribbling skills, and the accuracy of your character’s shots.
Each of the 16 characters comes with a fixed set of these 5 stats. However, you can easily alter the stats of each character by making them wear specific Gear that you can unlock in the game. This is actually a really good mechanic that allows you to create your ideal teams and adds to the variety in gameplay.
It should also be noted that a Gear piece will buff up a specific stat of a character, whilst reducing another. So you’ll need to balance things out using the perfect combination of different types of items. With an ideal team assembled, you can first test your skills in cup battles against CPU before challenging players online.
The gameplay basically revolves around you assembling a team of characters and using them to play soccer matches. But unlike FIFA, this game has a more bizarre turn twist on the sport.
You can take control of all four characters on your team, but there are two different ways that you can go about it. There is manual switching and auto-switching that can be used to switch between different team members. Manual basically leaves everything on the player, and you can decide which character to switch on when.
Automatic switching makes the game a little bit easier, at least in my experience, and makes it much more newcomer-friendly. Basically, the game will automatically make a switch to the character on your team that currently holds the ball on the field.
Hyper Strikes, which are special abilities, can only be used once you obtain a Strike Orb that can randomly spawn on the field. Once the orb is collected, any character on your team will be able to perform the ability.
These attacks also need to be charged, but once you hit the goal using a Hyper Strike, it will count as two points in your favor instead of one.
That is why the Hyper Strike mechanic is game-changing, as it can turn the tides of a match within a few short minutes. You can also obtain different items during the match, like the Mushroom that increases your speed or the Star that makes your character invincible and also boosts their attributes.
Basically, all of these items are well-known in the Mario franchise, and the developers have creatively translated them here. The gameplay is definitely a bit complex, and it rewards you for skillful plays, but it is unfortunate that you can only put all of your skills to the test in multiplayer.
When playing online, you can either take on teams of other players in a quick match or join a Strikers Club and fight with other members to increase the ranking of your club. As for the matchmaking itself, it is hard to find opponents when no season match is going on, but during a season, you can get matched pretty quickly.
As for the playing field, the matches take place inside stadiums that are heavily inspired by the various stages of Mario games in terms of design. Each match also consists of two different stadium halves that join to form a completely new stadium design.
You can also customize the stadium’s appearance within the game in the Strikers Club mode. The developers have clearly not compromised on customization and variety.
Visuals And Performance
In terms of both visuals and performance, Mario Strikers: Battle League is one of the best Switch games out there. It offers a native 1080p resolution in docked mode and 720p resolution output in handheld mode.
Additionally, the framerate target during gameplay is 60 FPS, and the game delivers on that target most of the time. Minor dips can happen, but these are extremely rare.
In terms of both visuals and performance, Mario Strikers: Battle League is one of the best Switch games out there.
The game does drop to 30FPS during cutscenes and animated sequences. Talking about the animated sequences, these add to the art direction and are very well animated. And overall, the visual fidelity is not only supported by high resolution but also by the bright color choice and the amazing art direction.
Mario Strikers: Battle League is a much-awaited entry in the franchise and offers smooth gameplay paired with creative customizations. Even though the game cuts back in terms of single-player content, it still offers different modes in multiplayer and even allows for an 8-player local coop.
This game starts getting really fun once you learn the mechanics and start dominating the club and season matches. My only gripe with multiplayer seems to be the matchmaking outside of seasonal matches, as finding opponents can become a real hassle.
This has been our Mario Strikers: Battle League Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles.
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