Yep, we’ve only gone and played Mario Strikers: Battle League (Football) by invitation of Nintendo UK. We’re not boasting or anything, we just didn’t know how else to open the article.
Fittingly, we had a good 90 minutes with the game and have been able to get a fairly decent idea of what we can expect from it when we finally plonk MSBL firmly into our console’s game card slot/SD Card storage. Thankfully, it’s all good.
The first thing we need to make clear about this new entry in this soccer-adjacent series is just how much new stuff they’ve added. We don’t mean more characters or anything like that (sorry Daisy fans), we’re talking mechanics. The previous entries were joyful in their simplicity, and whilst Battle League can still absolutely be enjoyed as a simpler, slower, pick-up-and-play kind of game, you can also make best use of the slew of new tricks to leave those people who might prefer a leisurely game in the proverbial dust.
You can now dodge foes, tackle a teammate forward so that they boost way across the pitch with seeming invulnerability, charge up pretty much any action you can think of, and a whole lot more that we’re sure we didn’t fully absorb in our time with Battle League. These new additions may not be revolutionary in terms of gaming as a whole, but it provides you with just so many more tools to pound the other player into the dirt. It’s early doors of course, but we can see the skill ceiling being considerably higher in this game than the Wii outing, especially.
And to further your experience you can don your characters with gear in order to alter their stats. It’s thankfully all a tit-for-tat system, meaning a pair of gloves may well give you +2 power, but you’ll also lose two points of another stat as a payoff. It means that no matter how much gear you’ve unlocked, you’ll always have the same total stats on your character(s) as anyone else. Having said that, stats also feel like they’re even more important than ever.
We repeatedly encountered a situation where our beloved Toad didn’t have a high enough power stat to be able to properly tackle opponents. Opponents would stumble and come to a stop, of course, but they could easily maintain possession of the ball unless the tackle was charged or we were able to slam them into the electric fence. Clearly the character you pick and the gear they wear is more important than ever, and we love it.
Speaking of gear, you’re going to have to work for it. In a system that's pretty par for the course but somehow felt refreshingly retro in its straightforwardness, earning in-game coins by playing matches unlocks individual pieces of gear for each character, and there’s a lot of gear. We don’t know whether it’s a sign that we need to start looking for sheltered accommodation or not, but we really appreciated this simple unlock method — with no multiple currencies or points meters to track — that rewards you for playing but doesn’t give you a needless advantage over anyone else. Top stuff.
But what’s more ‘top stuff’ is the presentation. Graphics are good, yes, yes, but it’s the animations that really sell this thing. The last time we saw Mushroom Kingdom residents animated this smoothly and with this much character was way back in Luigi’s Mansion 3. Probably because it’s from the same development studio team in the form of Next Level Games.
We really cannot emphasise enough just how gorgeous all the goal celebrations, victory swaggers, defeat tantrums, and even the simplest action of Mario booting Yoshi squarely in the face mid-match make this game come to life. The developers have even gone to the trouble of making Waluigi's lips sync perfectly with his self-righteous cry of ‘Waluigi!’ upon scoring. Truly we’re being spoilt.
In short, Mario Strikers: Battle League (Football) is shaping up to be one hell of a follow-up to the Wii and GameCube classics. We know we shouldn’t count our chickens before they’re two in the bush, but if our expectations continue to be so effortlessly fulfilled, we could easily be looking at the best Mario sports title on the Switch.
I am so hyped for this one. Mario sports games on the Switch have been pretty lackluster so far, so I'm really excited to see a different developer take the reins.
Strikers is such an amazing spin off series, and I am beyond hyped to get my hands on this. June 10th can't come soon enough!
They brought back the weird robots! Now that's something I wasn't expecting.
Literally the only thing I can see wrong with this one is the roster being too small (which will hopefully be remedied with updates but that's besides the point). Other than that though, this looks GOOD.
Wahooo. Can’t wait
I don't like football games...but I absolutely LOVE Mario Tennis Aces!! The play of that is so tactical and tight....I have been addicted, so I hope this one will grab me as much.
Like others have said, I hope we will see more characters to unlock (I don't like the lazy alt colour Waluigi's etc) should be a brilliant fun game this!
Why is this news? Mario has been kicking Yoshi in the face for decades now 😂
Might get this one day. really. wow.
Yeah, but there is no Daisy, and that makes it a bad game, or at least that is what internet is telling me.
Seriously though, I am pumped for this one. Loved the one on the Wii.
And still no news about single player mode?
Whoo, looks like no rushed free updates unless Nintendo pulls a Chocobo GP on us.
Edit: WHYYYYYYYYYY MUST THEY DO THIS TO US
It's been eons since I preordered a game due to my backlog, but I just couldn't resist this time. Day 1 here.
Sounds like a good game. Played many games on the Game Cube and Wii but oddly enough I never played the Striker games. This will be my first.
How is in for a NintendoLife Club?
I love this sort of football game. Glad to see it well recieved. I dare say the UK charts are going to have to get used to it's company for the forseeable. Would be nice to see SEGA Soccer Slam return too.
You can have multiples of a character on a team?!
YOU CAN HAVE MULTIPLES OF A CHARACTER ON A TEAM!!
I can have my all Yoshi team if I want to, heck yeah let's GO!!
Either way, sounds good. Though sadly it sounds like there won't be character unlocks, which is admittedly quite a major bummer. Unless you guys are just not allowed to talk about that I guess. I just hope it's good enough to stay interesting for a while and not get boring real fast like Mario Tennis and Golf on Switch did.
Positive as expected! They never disappoint with this game! Cannot wait for mine to arrive
The article states that this game has a higher skill ceiling that the Wii game, but I don't think that will be true. I was a part of the small competitive community for Charged back when it came out and that game has a pretty high skill ceiling. The main reason was being able to chip the ball opened up a bunch of tricks and allowed for a completely different, non-traditional play style. It doesn't look like you can chip the ball in this game (correct me if I'm wrong) so I don't think the skill ceiling will be as high as Charged.
Despite all that, I still think this game will be a lot of fun.
This game looks amazing, i'm so gald that strikers is coming back on switch. Buying Next Level was a brilliant move for Nintendo
10 characters, 6 items and 4 stadiums is unacceptable
Nintendo's insistence on post-launch updates has immediately devalued the physical editions before they even release.
I wish Nintendo could just release these sports titles with all the content ready-to-go at launch.
This looks great so far. Anyone who is disappointed by any lack of features can just skip it.
I’m quite content and will thoroughly enjoy this.
@CharlieGirl @KBuckley27 Not the best, but I'm ok w/ all of that for a free-to-start game. Kind of boggles my mind that they can charge $60 for this though with what little there is. Even the first Splatoon had a few hour single player experience - the invisible levels were my favorite - that I haven't seen here. Playing soccer in a fully invisible stadium would be interesting. But all I've seen so far is a free-to-start barebones infrastructure.🤷
@John_Deacon Not only no single player news - at this point Im assuming there isnt any - I can't even tell from the article if we can unlock stuff in offline multiplayer. I would only be buying this as a family & friends offline multiplayer game, we're kind of done w/ Smash and MK as a family. If ANYTHING is locked behind online play there's no point in us buying this game.
Not a soccer fan at all, but the game looks f***in beautiful!! Just too many individual characters running around on screen for me.. probably why can’t play American football games.. guess I’m weird
Glad this is shaping up to be good. I'll get it later on because XC3 is a priority but this should be fun.
That first line in the article, god I love some british-style humour. Cheers from Brazil!
I really cannot wait for this, despite having never played the series before. Not long after the Switch came out I made a wish in the forum for Mario Strikers Smash, a triple A Strikers with the Smash cast. It seems half my wish has come true.
I love how each team brings their own half stadium with them. I don't think I've ever seen that before in a sport game.
It seems toned down from the grittiness of Charged but it still has the same charm and fluidity in animation. And that's not a bad thing! Also, glad the game has a focus on balancing/competitive unlike the previous 2 titles, will make for a great e-sport. I'd much more prefer more time was spent fleshing out the game's mechanics and online play over a larger character roster.
Jesus, even with the free updates being announced, Nintendo & Next Level Games apparently worked harder to get this game finished in time for release compared to EVERY OTHER MARIO SPORTS TITLE ON THE SWITCH. I guess this’ll be the Smash Ultimate of the Mario Sports games - both a finished game & free updates.
Still looks a lot like Super Mario Strikers on the GameCube, but the gameplay is a lot like Charged. Hopefully this’ll be a buy from me if Nintendo doesn’t eff it up.
Graphically it doesn’t look good to me. It’s clean but just doesn’t stand out. Seem like it may be the only downer.
Any videos of Waluigi's celebrations yet? Any sign of Daisy?
This looks so incredible!! Even more amazing gameplay tactics added to an already awesome franchise. I had this one on Gamecube and played it a lot. It's MAD fun!!!
Looks very nice but I'm slightly irritated by the fact there's only going to be 5 Stadiums at release based on what I heard which is less than the previous 2 games which again leads me to the issue I have with Nintendo releasing their sports games in an unfinished state.
will likely release more DLC characters to boost the expansion pack online
Im glad the game is shaping to be good and all so thats good for fans and newcomers like myself who has never played a Mario Strikers game, having said tha,t is it just me, or the field looks a little small?
A few steps and you are on the other side of the field, thats a good thing? It worries me 😵💫
Bowser is number 66
It's not the first impression I'm worried about... it's whether I'll still want to play it after the first week!!
I think I'm going to stand firm on my decision, at least for now. I bought Aces and Golf day one and can still feel the sting...!!
It does look good though! It's just the longevity for me... A sale around the holidays will likely tempt me.
Nice fluid controls and lovely presentation. Ready for release day! This is my favorite sports series.
I’m way too excited for this game than a bloke in his mid 40’s should be!
I loved the original all those years back.
Roll on June 10th.
I was going to get it anyway, but your video on it really sold me even more! Looking forward to it!
Sounds pretty good and the best girl, Rosalina, looks great.
But I still have no interest in soccer.
@Markiemania95 He originally punched him in the back of the head to make him stick out his tongue.
@Natendo94 One hundred on this.
I was also part of this community (albeit not very good compared to people who really put in time) and Strikers Charged competitively SLAPPED. All of the chip tricks were so fantastic- it felt like the Smash Melee of Mario Strikers where it was easy to pick up, and very tough but rewarding to master. It's not even just the lob chip tricks- each side kick had their own fully-charged trick shot and deke that made the game into a strategic team builder as much as a soccer game.
Charged is so underappreciated online- every time I see an article or podcast that lauds the Gamecube Strikers over the Wii version I do a massive eyeroll.
It bugs me that Daisy isn't in this one even though she was in the original game doesn't make sense she Tomboy Princess no offence to Rosalina she just feels like Peach clone. So the roaster feels small idk if I get this one.
Good enough for soccer. Not for smash.
For me, it's all about the online multiplayer. As long as I can find opponents to play, it runs smooth and there's a ranking system to keep me motivated, I'm happy. Story modes in games like these usually feel like a chore to play.
Having played the game now, at least the training mode and having read things in the game, I saw that you CAN indeed have multiples of the same character in a team... but only if that's Toad or Yoshi. Probably because they're species and not individual characters.
I hope you can have multiple colored ones on the field, honestly. I could use the OG quad of green, red, blue and yellow Yoshis.
I don't even like sports, but this looks so good. I'm really tempted. Unfortunately there are too many games, but this is going into the shortlist.
@Danondorf Yea, that's always frustrating to see. GC Strikers is like a Mario Party mini game compared to Charged
I've only ever dabbled with this series, but it was frantic, kinetic, and very fun. I'll be checking that demo out-- I might have my next evergreen title...
This whole "no daisy" thing is such a horrible example of how toxic and entitled gaming fandom is. Nintendo owes you nothing. If they don't want to use your favourite character, they don't have to. It's not an obligation. If you don't like that, but all means, don't buy the game. But that's the whole interaction; they have creative licence to do whatever the hell they want, and you get to choose to buy it or not buy it. Done.
I cried when Todette moved to unplayable in party .. but thems the breaks. Get over it.
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