Review cover Mario Strikers: Battle League Football (Nintendo Switch)
Official GBAtemp Review

Product Information:

  • Release Date (NA): June 10, 2022
  • Release Date (EU): June 10, 2022
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Next Level Games
  • Genres: Sports

Game Features:

Single player
Local Multiplayer
Online Multiplayer
Co-operative
Mario and friends strike back in the latest entry to the almost-forgotten footballing frenzy.

attachFull315049

Football. The sport where you kick a spherical ball across a field and try to get it into a rectangular metal cage. It’s one of the most recognisable in the world with fans in the tens, hundreds, maybe even thousands. Football! Frankly I’ve never got on with it. There’s just not enough there in its raw form for me to sit and watch 20 or so people for 90 minutes at a time. Though your FIFAs and Pro Evolution Soccers never hit home, there have been a few series that take the basic premise of football and twist it so magnificently that I couldn’t help but be intrigued. You have Inazuma Eleven that has flashy moves and intense strategy. You have Behold the Kickmen that takes the basic rules and just makes up the rest. And then you have Mario. You have Mario and friends brutally slamming each other into an electric fence. You have your favourite colourful cohort taunting, scowling, and scoring. You have Mario Strikers, and after more than ten years it is back and kicking.

I may not be in love with the sport it bases itself on, but my oh my have I missed Mario Strikers. It’s a beautiful meld of chaos that blends so well into an easy to pick up control scheme. It never felt so much like a game to master as it did a game to just play in short bursts and have a good time, and I think it did brilliantly in that regard in both of its previous iterations. It’s not to say there was no skill involved, more that the chaos often overtook it in a way where you were either on board with it or just not having fun. I was always in the former group. Battle League is different, and I still don’t know if I can say it’s a positive step for the series.

attachFull315050

Going straight into the game will probably feel alien for series veterans. It sure looks like Mario Strikers, but it really doesn’t feel like it. The chaos is dulled and the game gives you far more control than it ever has to manoeuvre the field and get the ball where it needs to be. It just feels odd, and I think it’s because I just haven’t put enough time into the game to come to terms with it. You have individual buttons for using items, shooting, ground passes, and air passes. Then with the ball you can also use dodges, and without the ball you can tackle. You can even charge and aim your shots to specific parts of the goal to slice through the defence. It’s neat. Everything has an optimal timing that provides you with satisfying feedback and increased power when you nail it, but even doing everything right it just doesn’t have the same impact as previous titles. It feels toned down to the realm of somewhat realism and it can really feel dull at times, especially in your first few hours when you’re learning the basics. It does get better as you start to land those weird and technical shots, but even after two weeks of somewhat regular play it still hasn’t gelled with me the way the other games did. I don’t think the gameplay is inherently bad. It’s just different. It feels like it’s designed to keep you engaged by a drive to improve, where the others were better framed as games to pick up and play, and then put them back down. In my mind this would be fine if the game did more to actually engage you; there’s just not enough content to come back to for you to meaningfully improve the way the game wants you to.

There are six cups that all follow the same structure. Match after match, and your reward for completion? A new character maybe? Coins. Coins to buy gear to augment the stats of the ten available characters. It’s not as though the previous Strikers games had all that much in the way of unique content themselves, but both of them had larger rosters and meaningful unlockables. Everything just feels lacking here though. You have no sidekicks, with your team being wholly the captains of previous games... With the exception of Toad and Yoshi. I guess they're seen as a species more than actual characters? The biggest sin of all here is the replacement of Kritter as a goal keeper. Boom Boom just suck sucks, and lacks all the flair and personality of his crocky counterpart. I can only hope more goalies get patched in with the regular updates, but I'm not holding out much hope. The stadiums also seem somewhat lacklustre, even if there is an interesting idea on show. At the start of the game, you can select a stadium. Your opponent also selects a stadium, with the two being smashed together for a visually impressive spectacle. But that's all it is: a spectacle. These stadiums have no impact on the actual gameplay, which feels like a missed opportunity. Even if it were relegated to its own game mode, I'd have liked to have seen some kind of stage hazard put in place to up the ante. It's just a step away from realising its potential. 

Review imageReview image

Much like with Switch Sports, if you’re buying this game, you need to be buying it to play online. That’s where your real replayability is going to be for a good while until something more is patched in down the line. To the game’s credit, the online feels really great. You get the odd blip which can be frustrating when a lot of the gameplay is reliant on timing, but as a whole it works well.

While the connection was fine, I do have complaints when it comes to matchmaking. When playing online you can play alone or with a friend, with each person able to bring two people per console. What this means is that you have the potential for some brilliantly chaotic 4v4 matches, which sound like fantastic fun. Where I find fault is in the game matching single players with same-system multiplayers. This is a game where the AI does you no favours, so having a teammate who can cover you while you charge a strike or even just gang up on the opponent as they’re moving really is priceless. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not fantastic at this game, but this takes what could be an interesting learning experience and warps it into a dissatisfying curb stomp. If you have a friend or two to play with, or if you’re happy to reject matches until you find your 1v1, there is still a good time to be had though. I do think this is the highlight of the game at the moment if you can work through the difficulties.

attachFull315051

Mario Strikers: Battle League Football is a fun game that at the very least keeps the great spirit of its predecessors alive. It is fun. And though I say it almost as if reassuring myself of this, I do come back to it for a game or two when I’m traveling or have a spare moment. It’s fun, but it’s nowhere close to what the series was before this, at least not to me. If you’re wanting a game to play and to master that’s flashy and genuinely satisfying when you’re doing it right, this is going to be a series high for you. Strikers was just never that for me, and with the scaled back content at launch I would not be able to justify paying the £50 asking price. At something closer to £30 and when they’ve patched the rest of the game in I’ll be far more comfortable recommending it.

Verdict

What We Liked ...
  • Surprisingly skill-based gameplay
  • Online gameplay seems solid
  • More content coming to the game via free updates
What We Didn't Like ...
  • No Kritter
  • Not as easy to pick up as its predecessors
  • Smaller roster than its predecessors
  • Online matchmaking is flawed and often frustrating
  • Just not enough content as it stands
7
Gameplay
This game is far more technical than those that came before it, and that's not exactly what I was looking for. Having said that, I also don't think the game is bad in this department either. It's different, and if you decided to give the network test a go a short while before the game released, you'll already have a decent idea as to whether it's for you. I do keep coming back to the game and I do keep improving, albeit slowly. I might come to love it in time, but at the moment it falls short of its predecessors in my eyes.
8
Presentation
Though perhaps not quite as gritty as the games before it, Battle League Football holds onto much of the hostility and expression we've come to expect. While they don't add much outside of aesthetic, I do also enjoy the split stadium gimmick. I just wish they took it a bit further and did something more meaningful with it.
-
Lasting Appeal
Lasting appeal is something I really can't rate in this instance. If you want to talk about the game in its current state, there isn't much to keep you coming back unless you find yourself hooked on the online experience and a desire to improve. Having said that, there definitely will be more content down the line, keeping the game fresh and bringing people back to experience what's new. In some ways it's an investment, but in many others you'd just be better off waiting for everything and grabbing it down the line.
6
out of 10

Overall

Battle League Football is a game I'm happy to see, even if it isn't necessarily the game I wanted. A far more technical game that I don't feel I have the time to master, it sits in a weird spot of not necessarily being bad in its gameplay execution, but falling short on the content required to keep people coming back. I do feel in time that this game has the potential to become great, but we again see a Mario sports game held back by being released half-baked.
When the ball is rolling the game is perfect. Everything else sucks.
When you're actually playing than watching.

And I thought Nintendo sucked during the Wii U era. Now, they're somehow even worse and cheapskates by giving content after the game is released.

The days of Nintendo games coming complete on disc/cartridge are long gone. Thank God for Piracy, I guess. The only means of preserving content.
 
I was planning to buy this game, thanks Nintendo for the demo - it convinced me not to buy it.

This game looks and performs well, but there's too much to learn. Their idea of improvement is to add even more tactics and makes the game even more frustrating. This type of game - if you leave it for 2 weeks you will have to re-learn everything again. There's a reason Switch Sports in still selling well after a month - it's an easy pick up and play sports game.
 
A really lame sequel honestly,i hate how EVERY modern mario sport game is releasing without enough content and they release it later for no reason at all,just give them enough time to polish the game and releasing it complete,you are charging the full price ftfs Nintendo

Also where's the chain chomp,i hate how the items are also lame and miss how the koopa shells explode for more chaotic experience

Also also i really hate the new super mario bros touch with boom boom,so tired of seeing him everywhere,bring the kritters back,you have the rights to use them and smash bros prove that already
 
  • Like
Reactions: Marc_LFD
Oof. I’ve heard a lot of people who have adored the series being really frustrated with this iteration. It’s a shame because those same people felt similarly about Mario Golf Super Rush until further content came out too, which isn’t a great method for Nintendo to release the game then eventually some DLC to bring it up to.. par.. but that seems to be the current way the majority of games are made :(
 
  • Like
Reactions: Marc_LFD
Damn, the score is harsh. I would have given it a 7, but I can understand why some would get frustrated. It's true that there's really not much content, they seem to have focused a lot on the multiplayer but it also seems that Nintendo do not understand yet that multiplayer does not justify the lack of content
 
  • Like
Reactions: Marc_LFD
I don't care for this game or series much but like, I have one thing to tell you. Git. Gud. Not every game needs to be easy pick up and play. And this game is arguably just that.
Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash was a good Mario Tennis game, but what does that have in common with this? It's also a good Mario Strikers albeit lack of content.

It doesn't matter if they'll release more content later, the damage is done and the cartridge is forever barebones.
 
Soccer? Hell no.
Small roster, yet both Peach and Rosalina somehow made the cut? Hell no.
No lasting appeal? Hell no.

Persona 5 Strikers is a better game than this.
 
Gameplay is good. Content is a f*cking joke! 10 characters for a game that has 8 characters on the field? So you can't play two games in a row without seeing at least 2 characters twice. I hope nobody is paying for this.
 
Gameplay is good. Content is a f*cking joke! 10 characters for a game that has 8 characters on the field? So you can't play two games in a row without seeing at least 2 characters twice. I hope nobody is paying for this.
Some Nintenconomists buy this as an "investment."
 
Anyone with a remote interest should just get Charged. Even if you don't have a Wii, I wouldn't be surprised if you could get a Wii and Charged together for lower than what this trainwreck is asking for.
You made me curious so I went onto eBay.

70dRhY5.png


For a little over RRP you can get everything you need for two people to play lol

It's also really funny to me that you can get a Wii with all cables and a Wiimote for the same price as a Wiimote by itself.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SkittleDash
You made me curious so I went onto eBay.

70dRhY5.png


For a little over RRP you can get everything you need for two people to play lol

It's also really funny to me that you can get a Wii with all cables and a Wiimote for the same price as a Wiimote by itself.
Considering you're getting a more superior game plus being able to play with a friend or family member, it's worth the extra £7. lol
 
  • Like
Reactions: Scarlet
The Wii entry for Strikers had 17 fields to choose from. This one has fewer fields (5 total vs the aforementioned 17), fewer and arguably, less-interesting captains to choose from - I'd like to see Bowser Jr. and Diddy Kong again while I feel that Toad should JUST be a sidekick. How does it work visually to have a toad as team captain with a team of toad sidekicks?

I'm sure they're planning to pump garbage DLC that is also locked behind NSO membership somehow.
 
I'm sure they're planning to pump garbage DLC that is also locked behind NSO membership somehow.

There has never been DLC locked behind NSO. Mario Golf Super Rush became a pretty darn good game after they added all the free DLC. I have no problems with them releaseing content later, it just maked me buy the game later instad of now. I WANT them to add content to the game.
 
Exactly my thoughts. I like the game, my son too, but the fun fades away pretty quickly. We hope that with a couple of updates, things can change. (Very few characters)
 
Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash was a good Mario Tennis game, but what does that have in common with this? It's also a good Mario Strikers albeit lack of content.

It doesn't matter if they'll release more content later, the damage is done and the cartridge is forever barebones.
I'm not defending the lack of content. Did you read what I said?
 
I am getting tired of Nintendo making their sport games so barebones. If they really didn't wanna bother they could just port the Gamecube or Wii versions and add online play.
 
Review cover
Product Information:
  • Release Date (NA): June 10, 2022
  • Release Date (EU): June 10, 2022
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Next Level Games
  • Genres: Sports
Game Features:
Single player
Local Multiplayer
Online Multiplayer
Co-operative

Reviews

  1. PlayStation 5

    Sonic Origins

    Taxman finally gets his shot at recreating Sonic 3 & Knuckles. It's the exciting release every Sonic fan has been waiting for, right?
  2. Hardware

    Corsair H150i Elite Capellix

    Summer is here, so it might be time to look into upgrading your PC's cooling. Does Corsair have what it takes to beat the Summer heat?
  3. Xbox Series X|S

    Industria

    Indie developer Bleakmill’s debut title Industria is now available on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S. Described as an FPS with a surreal Lynichan atmosphere, does it have what it takes to be your new...
  4. Nintendo Switch

    Mario Strikers: Battle League Football

    Mario and friends strike back in the latest entry to the almost-forgotten footballing frenzy.
  5. Hardware

    Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 MAX

    The Stealth 700 Gen 2 MAX from Turtle Beach is an officially licensed gaming headset for Xbox, but is also compatible across a range of devices with Bluetooth connectivity. Let’s take a closer look!
General chit-chat
Help Users
  • Dark_Phoras @ Dark_Phoras:
    Maybe I haven't eaten proper spanish food yet, but I tried paella and tortilla and never again
    Gift
  • mthrnite @ mthrnite:
    and awesome, masters of the culinary arts, they can make good stuff outta next to nothing, it's amazing
    Gift
  • Dark_Phoras @ Dark_Phoras:
    Crema catalana is a very tasty dessert, I dare say
    Gift
  • mthrnite @ mthrnite:
    well i think southern desserts are very special, quite fond of banana puddin
    Gift
  • mthrnite @ mthrnite:
    and chocolate eclair pie, and anniversary cake, shit makes you fat in minutes tho
    Gift
  • Dark_Phoras @ Dark_Phoras:
    Banana pudding looks good, it reminds me of tiramisu and bolo de bolacha
    Gift
  • mthrnite @ mthrnite:
    tiramisu rocks
    Gift
  • KenniesNewName @ KenniesNewName:
    I'm out of ranch D:
    Gift
  • Gift
  • KenniesNewName @ KenniesNewName:
    Lol $300 for the win600 get fucked anbernic
    Gift
  • Veho @ Veho:
    That's not that bad.
    Gift
  • Veho @ Veho:
    Initial reviews of the prototype model say it's a decent gaming thingy.
    Gift
  • KenniesNewName @ KenniesNewName:
    Yeah but we all know what people will say
    Gift
  • KenniesNewName @ KenniesNewName:
    Spend the extra $100 for GabesDick
    Gift
  • Veho @ Veho:
    Extra $100 and then an extra $200 for shipping and then wait a year to get it? Nah.
    Gift
  • KenniesNewName @ KenniesNewName:
    It's a decent price for over seaers I guess 250 woulda been better
    Gift
  • Veho @ Veho:
    I don't know how much shipping costs these days, $200 seemed outragoues enough as it is.
    Gift
  • Veho @ Veho:
    But it's not unlikely that it's more nowadays.
    Gift
  • Veho @ Veho:
    Anyway, fuck all that, I'll wait for a cheap Qualcomm phone and then stick Windows 11 on it.
    Gift
  • KenniesNewName @ KenniesNewName:
    My s22+ should be here Wednesday 8 gen 1 looks like a beast
    Gift
  • KenniesNewName @ KenniesNewName:
    8+gen1 is already thing lol
    Gift
  • Skelletonike @ Skelletonike:
    I'm still happy with my BS3
    Gift
  • KenniesNewName @ KenniesNewName:
    Lol google still has my nexus 4 order way back from 2013
    Gift
  • Skelletonike @ Skelletonike:
    google also has all your kinky tastes recorded
    Gift
  • KenniesNewName @ KenniesNewName:
    That's too much data for google
    Gift
    KenniesNewName @ KenniesNewName: That's too much data for google