Mario Strikers Battle League Football Preview: We’ve probably played the best multiplayer game of the year on Nintendo Switch on Switch

Preview Mario Strikers Battle League Football: We probably played the best multiplayer game of the year on Nintendo Switch

Having long been requested by Nintendo fans, the Mario Strikers series is finally making a comeback with Battle League Football, nearly a decade after the last installment on Wii. Although the title is slated as one of the big Switch cartridges for this summer, we were able to play it for more than an hour to do a lot of matches and we give you our impressions.

Summary

  • Deeper gameplay
  • Pre-match preparation, more important than ever
  • A little light content at launch?

If you’ve never tried a game from the Mario Strikers sub-series, rest assured, it’s very simple. First imagine a classic soccer match with two teams of five players, including the goalkeeper. From there, you just have to forget the yellow, red or offside cards, ever sincehere all shots are allowed, as the referee and VAR are absent. On the pitch only one thing counts: scoring more goals than the opponents, and this, regardless of the means used to retrieve the ball, both with violent tackles and thanks to objects à la Mario Kart.

Of course, like every Mario sports game, each character has a special move with impressive animation that allows you to score two goals here if the ball enters the cages. Finally, it should be recognized that“Much of the fun of the experience comes mainly from the cheers and often very funny reactions of the players when there is a goal . If we have the common basis of all Mario Football games, this episode of Switch brings a large number of new features to give unprecedented depth to the gameplay.

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Deeper gameplay

Overall, Mario Strikers: Battle League Football remains similar to its predecessors, but brings enough subtleties to breathe new life into the formula. For example, all moves now have an improved version when performed with perfect timing, both dribbling and passing, for example. As for the shots, they become more technical as you can now aim more accurately by loading your shot, which allows you to score goals both on the ground and in the high corner. The Hyper Strikes also see their functioning changed because now it is necessary to retrieve an object before activating them, while the opposing goalkeeper can send them back by hammering the A button.But rest assured, the essentials do not change since the animations of the celebrations, the reactions and those of Hyper Strikes are always so funny and awesome.

Mario Strikers Battle League Football: We probably played the best multiplayer game of the year on Nintendo Switch

Beyond these subtleties, the title incorporates new moves to bring even more depth to the gameplay. If the lob is gone, we find the lob, the free pass, as well as the loaded tackle which allows a player to push another player so that he recovers the ball from an opponent. If at times these gestures are technical to be put in the middle of the game, they can be very useful in certain situations for those who have perfectly mastered the game mechanics, on the contrary some movements have been made less effective with the aim of balancing the games. It is for this purpose that the developers have introduced resistance which limits the number of dribbles and sprints that players are able to chain together. If you use it excessively, your characters will eventually tire, so it’s best to use it sparingly. Additionally, the race has also been modified as it takes the form of dashes rather than a sprint, which gives it a different use.

Mario Strikers Battle League Football: We probably played the best multiplayer game of the year on Nintendo Switch

With all these little additions, Mario Strikers: Battle League Football brings a more technical dimension to the gameplay of previous episodes, which will appeal to those who do not intend to abandon the title immediately. However, rest assured, we are still faced with a Mario game whose goal is to always be very accessible to allow anyone to have fun quickly, simply by grabbing a controller. Even so, the action is sometimes tricky to understand at first, given the joyful chaos unfolding on the screen. We do end up getting used to it after a while, and if that concern isn’t dramatic, we have to recognize that it’s a recurring flaw in Mario’s soccer matches.

Mario Strikers Battle League Football: We probably played the best multiplayer game of the year on Nintendo SwitchMario Strikers Battle League Football: We probably played the best multiplayer game of the year on Nintendo Switch

Pre-match preparation, more important than ever

Mario Strikers Battle League Football: We probably played the best multiplayer game of the year on Nintendo Switch

Fortunately, it is not only on the pitch that things have become complicated, as the pre-match now plays a more decisive role. First of all, the composition of the team has been slightly changed from the episodes for Gamecube and Wii, which gives it a great strategic aspect. Previously, we first picked a captain, then the other teammates were creatures like Koopa, Maskass, or Boo. From now on, every member of your team will be an important figure in the Mario universe and no longer just a minion. And since each character has their own strength, speed, or shooting stats, selection is key. Therefore, it can be interesting to put a big weight behind to defend, two fast players on the sides to quickly reach the opponents’ cages and end up with a good point shooter.

Generally, stats play a bigger role than ever in this Switch episode, as evidenced by the addition of gear. Each character can now wear different pieces of armor which directly affect these stats. Well, even if you can’t make Bowser fast with that, these elements allow you to mitigate the flaws of your players or, conversely, to accentuate their strengths. And to unlock them, you must first buy them one by one for gold coins which can be collected in different ways.

A little light content at launch?

Mario Strikers Battle League Football: We probably played the best multiplayer game of the year on Nintendo Switch

If for the moment the title looks solid thanks to its game mechanics, we cannot say that it seems so complete in its contents, at least from what we have been able to see. During our session, it seemed to us that only ten characters will be playable at launch, which means we often risk coming across the same faces with these small four-player squads. Similar remark on the equipment side as we were shown five unique sets, which makes for only twenty pieces of armor in total. Finally, we can also make this observation with the stages which are five in number. Of course, this is just a preview and it’s possible that the game contains hidden content without our knowledge, so take these comments with a grain of salt.

Mario Strikers Battle League Football: We probably played the best multiplayer game of the year on Nintendo Switch

At first glance, all this may seem a bit light for a title that seems to want to live over time given the technicality of its mechanics. However, when we look at other Mario sports games on the Switch, we have reason to be reassured. If we take Mario Tennis Aces for example, the latter has seen its number of characters double thanks to the free DLCs released regularly in the year following its launch. Same thing for Mario Golf: Super Rush which has been the subject of numerous additional content to add new players and courses. So, for this Mario Strikers: Battle League Football, we can expect a similar treatment, with regular free DLC, to maintain the hype during the months following the release of the title. We remind you, however, that for the moment Nintendo has not said if additional content is planned in the future and therefore it is only speculation.

No impressions

After playing for an hour, it seems clear that Mario Strikers: Battle League Football has what it takes to be one of the funniest multiplayer games on Switch. If we find the joyful chaos of the previous episodes, the gameplay gains in complexity to allow its online mode to remain relevant over time. However, this new episode does not forget to remain accessible, so that everyone can have fun without taking the lead. It remains to be seen whether the content will not be too light at launch and whether additional free content is expected in the months following launch. In any case, see you next June 10 to get your hands on the final version of the title, which promises to be exciting.

Editorial review

Exciting

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