Mario Strikers: Battle League review: Fantastic fast-paced action mixed with technical finesse – Eugene Sowah

After fifteen years the latest entry in the Mario Strikers series is finally here

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Mario Strikers: Battle League trailer

Mario Strikers: Battle League

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The Nintendo Switch has been a blessing for gaming series that were once thought to have been abandoned.

One of these series is Nintendo and Next Level Game’s Mario Strikers series which last appeared on the Nintendo Wii in 2007.

But at long last, it’s back after fifteen years in the form of the third instalment Mario Strikers: Battle League.

The Mario Strikers series takes all the over the top action we’ve come to love from games like Super Smash Bros or Mario Kart and merges them into a five aside football game.

If you’re a fan of Mario sports games then you will know that this is a tried and tested formula that always provides fans with fast-paced competitive action.

Mario Strikers: Battle League looks to follow in the footsteps of its predecessors whilst elevating the overall experience with a myriad of new features.

Mario Strikers: Battle League is the third instalment in the Mario Strikers series


Nintendo/ Next Level)

Visually Mario Strikers: Battle League looks fantastic, with Next Level Games taking the reins and giving the game the same stunning treatment seen in Luigi’s Mansion 3.

The style is synonymous with Nintendo’s punchy colourful aesthetic that has been seen in past games.

The character models are simply wonderful, radiating so much originally that makes them stand apart from each other.

All the characters particularly look their best during the cutscenes and it’s amazing to see all the different celebrations, especially Waluigi’s smug strut.

The highlight for me is the Hyper Strikes which shows each character re-animated with a grunge-line aesthetic that makes them look more aggressive and impactful, which is in stark contracts to these characters’ normal friendly appearance.

Level designs feel a little bit more dialled back than previous entries but this less vibrant contrast allows players to be able to see all the frantic chaos on the screen.

Mario Strikers: Battle League runs very smoothly while in docked and undocked modes which is great, especially with all the wacky action and effects on the screen.

All the famous items from past Mario games return


Nintendo/ Next Level)

There are three main modes that offer vastly different experiences catering for different levels of play. Quick Battle is where players will probably be spending most of their time in the early hours of the game.

This mode has three different settings allowing a certain number of players in each match. Playing on a single console will allow up to eight players during a single match.

Local Wireless lets players play on up to four different consoles with two players on each team. Online Play has a few different options to play against other players, friends or team up with mates.

You can only have up to two players per console. There is quite a bit of variation here, especially with the Single console mode allowing up to eight players, but it would’ve been nice if the online mode would allow up to four players per console.

Each character will be able to execute a Hyper Strike


Nintendo/ Next Level)

Cup Battle mode is where players will be able to take part in tournament-based matches against teams that focus on different play styles.

The tournaments are double-elimination which means you can still progress if you win your second match but are knocked out if you lose both.

There is also a feature that allows players to play a revenge match if they lose twice costing the in-game currency.

This is a great mode to play against teams that use different strategies which is a fun way to practise for online play.

The final mode is Strikers Club which allows players to create their own club and recruit up to twenty teammates.

Here players will take part in a week-long league where they can earn coins and tokens from individual and team achievements. I can see this mode giving Mario Strikers: Battle League that extra bit of longevity online.

Mario Strikers: Battle League has some fun modes that allow players to get right into the action.

But the game could do with some extra mini-games just to switch things up a little bit, however, players will most likely be fully engrossed with the action regardless.

The game could do with a few more unlockables rather than just coins to purchase gear, which will hopefully come in future DLCs and updates.

Characters can be upgraded with special gear


Nintendo/ Next Level)

Gameplay features everything we love about Mario games including all the signature items such as green shells, mushrooms and superstars.

But take that all away and Mario Strikers: Battle League is actually a very technical game with a somewhat difficult learning curve.

It most certainly is an easy, pick up and play game but for those who really master the advanced skills, it becomes something much more.

The game is filled with an onslaught of techniques like Team tackles, one-touch passes, perfect dodges, perfect shots and more.

The game requires a lot of finesse and accurate timing to pull them all off. I can’t wait to see the competitive side of this game as I feel it is going to produce a lot of amazing matchups.

My only gripe is swapping between characters during matches which can get confusing during the fast-paced action.

It would’ve been nice to be able to assign a character to a button allowing for a quicker interchange.

Mario Strikers: Battle League is visually stunning


Nintendo/ Next Level)

One of the big additions is Gear which is 30% cosmetic and 70% stat boosting as players will see a big benefit from kitting out their players.

This just adds to the overall strategy of the game enabling players to really build their own team that caters to their play style and let’s face it some fan favourites such as Toad need beefing up to be of any use.

Mario Strikers: Battle League has an amazing amount of gear to discover but other than that the game is a little light on the content side, with only ten characters and five stadiums available on launch.

The game can certainly be bolstered up with more diverse unlockables or some DLC, just to increase the longevity of this game.

One thing the game is missing is the ability to save replays as there were several moments that I wanted to watch back or share and was unable to.

Verdict 4/5

Mario Strikers: Battle League is a great entry into the series with Next Level Games and Nintendo finding the right balance between skills and chaos.

The game is far more technical than it first appears which is fantastic and the right direction for the Mario sports games.

Mario Strikers: Battle League just needs some more content through DLC like what was done with Mario Tennis Aces and Super Smash Bros to keep players coming back until the next instalment.

Mario Strikers: Battle League is out for the Nintendo Switch on 10 June and is available from the Nintendo website.

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