Mario Strikers: Battle League Football is coming to Nintendo Switch in June, and Nintendo are bringing back Mario and the gang on the football pitch. It’s been a minute since Mario and co have donned their football boots, but it’s time to lace them up once again to go 5v5 with Peach, Bowser and the rest of the crazy gang.
Mario Strikers: Battle League Football is due out on June 10th 2022, and fans have been waiting years since the last iteration of the game. This latest game brings it right up to date with all the mod cons, we have great graphics, online play, and up to 8 players, it’s going to be a blast. This was first announced back in February 2022 and came as a massive surprise to fans, also cementing its place as one of the flagship titles for a Nintendo release in 2022. Today I am going to round up all the info we have at the moment related to Mario Strikers: Battle League Football, so we can all get hyped for the release in early June.
Mario Strikers: Battle League Football is a 5-a-side version of football. In the US the game goes by the name of Mario Strikers: Battle League and drops the name ‘football’, likely because of the potential confusion with American Football, but let’s not go there for the time being. It’s 5v5 football, attack vs defence, crazy action, passes, dribbles and of course… goals. Characters have special moves and super attacks to help them get the upper hand in matches. If you combined the crazy action of Mario Kart with the football of FIFA, then you’ll have a good idea of what Mario Strikers: Battle League Football is. It’s not serious, it’s a bunch of crazy fun. Players can be upgraded too; there are stats and gear which bring a little live service RPG mechanics to the game, and I am here for it. We have helmets, pads and boots.
The trailer, shown off at the February 2022 Nintendo Direct, was a mixture of pre-rendered footage and gameplay. Mario, Peach, Toad and Luigi were facing off against Bowser, Donkey Kong, Yoshi and Rosalina in front of a huge crowd filled with Toads and Yoshis. It was here we first saw the special moves and power-ups, with Bowser getting blown up by a huge bob-omb and Mario performing an acrobatic kick to score a goal.
The gameplay looks like a lot of fun. There’s the attack vs defence nature of 5v5 football, but then you throw in all the crazy items for good measure. There are banana skins, green shells, and special moves of all kinds. It looks like there are going to be different terrains involved in the pitch too, which could be involved with gameplay as well, with Mario getting electrocuted from some part of the pitch in the trailer footage.
With Mario Strikers: Battle League Football it’s not just unpredictable fun, there’s definitely a strategy to the game, coming in the form of the gear you wear on your character to provide various buffs and strategies. Each player has stats like Strength, Speed, Shooting, Passing and Technique and the stats range from 0 to 25. In the trailer, we got a glimpse into some of the equipment Mario can wear with the different helmet options, and it showed the Muscle Helmet giving Mario a +2 for strength, but -2 for technique, meaning playing around with different equipment is going to be important when preparing for matches. Gear also appeared to have a price in terms of coins, but we don’t know at the moment where you get coins. It could be you play matches to acquire coins, and then you trade the coins for the pieces, that would make a lot of sense.
Hyper Strikes are a big part of the game, and these are special shots or super moves that allow your player to unleash almost unstoppable shots to score goals. A glowing ball can appear on the field, pick it up and your team starts to glow. Charge up the meter by playing a little mini-game unleashes a Hyper Strike which is very tricky to stop, but also you score two goals at the same time rather than just one.
In terms of the characters we have here’s the roster we know about so far:
- Donkey Kong
We don’t have any info about different modes for the game just yet, but I am hopeful Nintendo will have another direct before release and give us some more info related to different modes for the game.
Multiplayer looks like it’s going to take centre stage in the game with up to 8 players able to control members of the team. This can either be done locally or online. Online is being fleshed out too with something called Club Mode. Clubs can have up to 20 players competing against other players from around the world and there’s a leaderboard plus a tournament-style ranking system. Clubs have names, strips/uniforms and team mottos.
Nintendo will be hoping for a similar response from players and the press that Mario Strikers on the GameCube got back in 2005.
Super Mario Strikers received generally positive reviews from critics, with reviewers lauding the game’s characterisation and visual style, being reminiscent of that of Kazuto Nakazawa. GameSpot’s Brian Ekberg praised the game’s accessibility, stating that “Strikers’ pick-up-and-play design will have you playing like a cartoon Pele in no time”. Similarly, critics welcomed the developers’ choice to forgo traditional football rules in the favour of a more arcade-like style of gameplay. Despite this, IGN complained of a “disappointingly slim” variety of modes, as well as the perceived small roster of characters and inflexibility when choosing teams. On a similar note, Eurogamer criticised the vague presentation of characters’ attributes, making it difficult to determine what their respective strengths and weaknesses are. Despite enjoying the variety and appearance of Strikers’ stadia, GameSpot noted only cosmetic differences among them and criticised a lack of physical features to make them more interesting.
Strikers’ multiplayer gameplay in particular was welcomed by reviewers, who praised the developers for providing aggressive and fast-paced action. Conversely, the game’s single-player offerings gained a less enthusiastic response, with critics noting “boring” and repetitive gameplay. GameSpot thought some features were “overpowered” in parts, including the big-hit tackles and the ability to dash constantly given the absence of a stamina meter. Despite this, Eurogamer remarked that it was deeper than first anticipated, while IGN lauded the game’s “tight controls” and use of Super Strikes. The ability to push enemies into the electric barrier and the use of items was also welcomed as a means to make the game entertaining while playing defensively.
It seems the lessons to be learned from the previous title are game modes and variation for the players. It certainly looks like we have plenty of arcade-style football to get into, but with fans and press complaining about a thin offering previously, Nintendo will want to flesh out Mario Strikers Battle League to keep players engaged.
Mario Strikers Battle League Football is available for pre-order if you are interested in the game, and it’s set for release on June 10 worldwide.