Mario Strikers: Battle League Review thumbnail

Mario Strikers: Battle League Review

More soccer with Nintendo friends

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a Nintendo Switch on

Mario Strikers: Battle League is rated Everyone 10+ by the ESRB

It's been 15 years but Mario and his chums are back on the field and they're ready to score some goals in Mario Strikers: Battle League.

Mario Strikers: Battle League screenshot 1
Fun fact: Boom Boom is the best goalie in the Mushroom Kingdom

Bending the rules

Just like its predecessors, Mario Strikers: Battle League generally follows the soccer formula yet more importantly, it forges its own distinct identity. This time around, the gameplay is impressively visceral as you can tackle players which briefly incapacitates them while letting the ball roll unclaimed. There's no out-of-bounds, either; instead, an electric fence is in place and if you tackle an opposing player in front of it, they may even get electrocuted. It's touches like this that make playing Mario Strikers: Battle League a treat. From carefully dodging incoming tackles with expert timing to sneaking a goal in after a well-positioned lob pass, there are a lot of moments that are thrilling to watch unfold. Plus, charging your shot only to unleash a character-specific Hyper Strike whenever you're powered-up is a blast. v1d30chumz 18-232-59-38

Of course, since this is a Mario game, there's a bunch of power-ups that you can collect and utilize including speed mushrooms, green and red shells, exploding Bob-ombs, bananas, and invincibility stars. These items add another layer of strategy to gameplay so even if you master tackling, dodging, shooting, and all that; you might still be tripped up by these power-ups so you can never be too careful. 😆

Mario Strikers: Battle League screenshot 2
Don't folks know not to mess with Luigi by now?

Attitude to spare

The familiar cast of 10 iconic Nintendo characters really shine in Mario Strikers: Battle League. Not only are their in-game animations a delight, seeing a Hyper Strike temporarily change the visuals to a comic book aesthetic is quite jaw-dropping at first. Unfortunately, the more I played, the more I wish I could skip these animations because they're kind of like summons in Final Fantasy VII as they take too long and eventually, all you care about is the end result. Complaints aside, the handful of stadiums look great even though you can't see much of them in-game and it's cool that both teams can select one each then the resulting field is a mash-up. I don't think I've ever seen that before! Anyway, everything's bursting with charm and personality so it's quite an exciting game to watch. 😊

Soccer fun for everyone

Mario Strikers: Battle League has something for everyone whether you want to play solo, challenge friends, or compete online. In fact, I'm surprised how challenging the AI players can get so if you want to put your skills to the test before heading online, try a few matches against the CPU on hard difficulty. On top of that, there are cup battles that are great fun to master solo. When it comes to online play, the primary mode will have you create or join a Strikers Club in order to climb the ranks whenever a season is running. I'm looking forward to diving into this once Mario Strikers: Battle League launches and until then, make note to join my Video Chums club! 🏆

Bells and whistles

Even though it features solid core gameplay that makes each match an exciting push-and-pull, Mario Strikers: Battle League is a bit light on extras. Specifically, most unlockables are just cosmetic such as custom items for your club's stadium and you can spend earned coins on character gear. On the plus side, this gear does impact each character's base stats so you can adjust to your heart's content although the default gear remains more visually appealing to me, personally speaking. I wish that Mario Strikers: Battle League took more risks with its content such as by offering gameplay twists through stadium gimmicks or mini-games. Say what you will about Mario Golf: Super Rush but at least that game had the boldness to implement some very clever and novel concepts while this may play it a bit too safe. 🐒

Mario Strikers: Battle League screenshot 3
Toad humbly accepts another victory

Mario Strikers: Battle League strikes an excellent gameplay balance to make every match exciting and action-packed. It may not take many risks when it comes to supplementary content but what's here is one solid soccer game nonetheless.

  • + Enjoyable spin on soccer that makes for impressively action-packed matches
  • + Bursting with spectacle and personality
  • + Fun solo or via local and online multiplayer
  • - Could use stadium gimmicks and mini-games to help flesh the gameplay out more
  • - Hyper Strike animations get tedious
  • - Unlockables are mostly cosmetic
7.9 out of 10
Gameplay video for Mario Strikers: Battle League thumbnail
Watch A.J. play Mario Strikers: Battle League
Super Mario Odyssey Trivia

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