Stuttgart For about 40 years, the Japanese Italian with a distinctive mustache and stylish red dungarees has been the successful mascot of the Japanese console manufacturer.
In “Mario Strikers” he laces the football boots. The idea is not new: Nintendo fans already know their kicking heroes from “Mario Smash Football” and “Mario Strikers Charged Football”. More than 15 years ago, they provided hectic gaming fun on the Nintendo Game Cube and later on the Nintendo Wii. Above all, it came down to nimble fingers, a good nervous costume and a great sense of humor. Nothing has changed in this secret of success to this day. This has not only advantages.
The round must go into the square
Ambition, tactics or sophisticated moves? Please move on! In “Mario Strikers”, five well-known figures from the Mario universe each bolt into opposing teams for the ball. Mario, Princess Peach or Bowser have different strengths and weaknesses in shooting technique and pace, turn somersaults, use themselves as a trampoline and jump opponents with tackles in the feints. A game lasts from three to ten minutes. Only the player closest to the ball is controlled.
The ball changes around the teams at breakneck speed – if you want to keep an overview here, you don’t just have to keep a cool head and react quickly. You also need a good portion of luck to slip in between at the right moment or to play the decisive pass.
A few borrowings from the real world role model
For almost every technique in the game there is a kind of expert mode, with which perfect passes or shots succeed. However, it takes a lot of practice to press the buttons on the gamepad at the right moment.
For the fine motorists, Next Level Games has picked up a few little tricks from the leader of the table “FIFA”. The team members can sprint or play a deadly pass. With well-timed button printing, Mario & Co. can also elegantly dodge a tackle.
With the rabid football action on the grass, this only works with very experienced players. The pace of the game is too high and the playing field is much too small for occasional kickers, who have to look for the ball in the colorful chaos.
Clearly: the bonuses are falling from the sky
Similar to “Mario Kart”, bonus items regularly fall from the sky. Banana peels are used to stop the opponent’s attack or turtle shells are used to knock down entire defensive rows. A kind of power pill even gives superhuman powers: if players charge the shot long enough at the push of a button and trigger it at the right moment, an almost unsustainable goal shot succeeds.
Since all the game characters have different shooting animations, it looks especially spectacular when a whirlwind sweeps away the goalkeeper or the ball burrows into the goal under the ground.
A lot of hustle and bustle, little variety
In addition to individual games, players prove their skills in five tournaments. To do this, you can freely assemble your team to grab the cup in knockout duels. When all tournaments are won, the “Galactic Mode” is unlocked, in which the opposing teams are significantly stronger.
For the victory there are coins with which the kickers can be improved. A helmet offers more power for tackles, new shoes make it easier to aim for shots on goal. This brings a touch of role-playing into the wild action on the grass.
“Mario Strikers” only unfolds its full strength in multiplayer mode. Up to 8 players can play against each other on two consoles. Those who want to go high, meet in the so-called “Strikers Club”. Here, fans create their own clubs or join existing teams that compete against each other in regular seasons. However, there is no permanent world ranking at the moment.
The Strikers League lacks depth
The exciting spectacle on the grass cannot hide the lack of variety. The game stadiums differ only visually, and the cup tournaments offer only a few varied teams. For this, the depth of play of a “FIFA” is missing. Tricks and passing staffettes are possible, but quickly get lost in the hectic hustle and bustle.
Nintendo and Next Level Games have to get to their own noses: if it’s not a realistic football simulation, at least varied game modes would have spiced up the rabid action a little. That’s why in the end there remains an ambiguous impression of “Mario Strikers: Battle League Football”.
The uncomplicated fun for the whole family has little variety and a small depth of play. In the long run, only the multiplayer games are fun with which the fans can pass the time at home or around the world. So far, Mario’s trip to the football world is only a short pleasure, which does not make it to the extension against the competition.