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Review: Mario Strikers Battle League Football

Written by KyleVoices

"They don’t make football games like this anymore!"


I’m sure if you asked parents in the 90s which one their child would grow out of first: Mario or football, most would probably say Mario. Well, this wasn't the case for me. Two decades later and my love for Mario has never been stronger. However, despite not being much of a sporty guy, it is now time for me to put on my old football boots, return to the pitch and hope I don’t get tackled too badly.

Mario and the gang return for the first installment of a Mario Strikers game in 15 years. In that time, developer ‘Next Level Games’ has worked with Nintendo on a broad variety of titles, from Punch Out!! to the Luigi's Mansion series. If there is one thing Next Level Games excel at, it’s putting remarkable amounts of charm and care into their projects. The quality of animation in the Punch-Out and Luigi’s Mansion games is breathtaking and worthy of an animated feature film, and Mario Strikers: Battle League Football is no exception.

Every character is beautifully animated and given plenty of squash-and-stretch for some extra cartoony flair. Heavy metal music and remixes of established Mario tunes feature heavily on the game’s soundtrack and fits so well with the intensity of the action on-screen. 

Unlike recent multiplayer Mario games that have used a minimalist aesthetic with their menu designs, Mario Strikers: Battle League Football boasts the big blocky letters and colourful backgrounds you would normally associate with a Mario title.

Game modes include Quick Match, Cup Battles and Strikers Club. Quick Match is your basic Single Match option, allowing you to play with up to 8 others locally via single Switch or in local wireless, or online against random people or friends. In a nice touch, up to 2 players per Switch console can play together online or via local wireless. Cup Battles have players compete in tournaments to win a designated Trophy, similar to Grand Prix in Mario Kart, with each tournament more challenging than the last. Strikers Club allows you to sign up with a user-generated team to compete against other teams online, with the aim to rank as high as possible on the leaderboard in a set amount of days. You can also vote for the club’s stadium theme and any aesthetic items the club could use to decorate their half of the pitch. 

Another unique feature for this entry is that each side of the pitch is personalised. In the opening cutscene of a match, two different halves of the pitch fuse together to form the playing field, each themed after one of the two teams. There is also a Training Mode where you can learn and practice the many gameplay mechanics. I’d highly recommend that you complete the tutorial first for full enjoyment of the game.

Teams are made up of four player-controlled outfield players and a CPU goalkeeper. If you’ve played a Mario Strikers game before, the gameplay will be familiar to you, however ‘Battle League Football’ is the most technical entry in the series yet. There are dashes, dodges, passes, tackles, regular and charged shots and ‘Perfect’ versions of each that give you various advantages. Mario Strikers staples return, such as items, which function similarly to their counterparts in Mario Kart, and HyperStrikes, where players can shoot spectacular powered-up shots that count as two goals if the ball hits the back of the net. Items take the form of ‘?’ Blocks thrown to the field by spectators; some can be used by either team, and some are team exclusive. HyperStrikes are now gained from glowing orbs that also get thrown from the crowd onto the pitch. Once collected by a player, all members of their team are charged and are able to carry out a HyperStrike.

When activating a HyperStrike, a meter appears beneath the player and time slows down. They must stop the cursor within the blue area to achieve the Perfect Shot. Opposing players have the opportunity to interrupt with a tackle if they are quick enough. The game visuals then transform into an amazing graffiti-like style that does a great job of generating hype and excitement for the impending shot. A perfect shot guarantees a  goal, however, anything other than perfect is prone to resistance from the goalkeeper. Each character has their own unique Hyperstrike with its own effects on the opposing players. This adds another layer of strategy where you might prefer the effects of one character over another.

Matches only tend to last a few minutes, so you must use all that you’ve learned to make the largest score gap between you and the opposing team so you can secure victory! Winning matches and tournaments will earn you coins that can be used to purchase stat-altering Gear for the different characters. These include headwear, gloves, body armour, and boots; all of which can be interchanged to your liking.

As with other Mario sports games of this generation, content is rather light and will be added in free updates moving forward. Many fan-favourite characters are missing from the roster, and Nintendo has made no effort to announce an update roadmap or to tease which characters are to be added in the future. 

Online play works well and is usually issue free. After winning 9-0 in a Cup Battle, I decided to test my skills online. My overconfidence was quickly revealed, and I was humbled in defeat,  convinced never to play online with random players again. If you have friends that are into Mario and football, you’ll have a great time playing this on the telly, or in local wireless mode.


I do enjoy the greater gameplay depth Mario Strikers: Battle League Football brings to the series. It provides a great challenge and scoring goals is much more satisfying than in previous titles. Next Level Games have made a wonderful, charming and epic Mario football game that will make you smile every time you play. It comes highly recommended to fans of Mario and/or Football, and I hold out hope that the upcoming free content will make the game last way past Injury Time.


Where to Buy

  • Amazon - £39.99

Link: https://amzn.to/3uRhmo0 

  • My Nintendo Store - £49.99

Link: https://tidd.ly/3INnOC5 




Written by Kyle Rhys Marsh

Edited by Mark McAllister, Paul L. Russell, and Jen Griffiths

Review Graphic by Paul L. Russell