Mario Strikers: Battle League Football, the dual soul of Nintendo's soccer game

Mario Strikers: Battle League Football, the dual soul of Nintendo's soccer game

Mario Strikers

Categorizing video games over time has become a not so simple operation, with titles that mix within them multiple genres and characteristics to give life to increasingly broader and more multifaceted experiences. Over the course of its evolution, videogame history has however shown that there is room for all types of products: from simulation to arcade, from the challenging and profound title to the perfect one for a "hit and run" game alone or in the company of friends.

However, there are not many games able to harmoniously blend these last two aspects, offering users a light and at the same time layered and complex experience. Mario Strikers: Battle League Football is the perfect example of this, the latest incarnation of a very popular trend here, born in 2005 on GameCube and available from 10 June 2022 exclusively for Nintendo Switch.

So let's try to analyze together its dual identity: that of a party game, ideal for evenings based on the sofa and occasional challenges, and the more competitive one capable of satisfying even the most hardened players.

Party game yes ...

Mario Strikers: Battle League Football will transform your living room into an authentic battle arena. beat the competition: the soul of a party game. From this point of view, Mario Strikers: Battle League Football seems to be designed and built specifically for living rooms crowded with friends and chips. The latest creature from Next Level Games does nothing to hide its distinctly multiplayer vocation as regards the game modes and the structure that supports it, quite the contrary. The fulcrum of the series has always been the union of the foundations of five-a-side football and a more extreme concept of soccer, made up of left-handed shots and forbidden shots; an aspect, the latter, which lends itself perfectly to explosive evenings on the sofa with opposing factions of friends ready to battle.

The propensity of Battle League Football for even more extreme action dedicated to clashes physical compared to that of the chapters that preceded it seems to be the perfect ingredient for exuberant and unpredictable matches, in which even the less experienced user can play a bad joke on the most seasoned one. The most recent chapter of Strikers in fact puts on the plate a direct and accessible gameplay, made of low blows, blows to the maximum and pyrotechnic hyperthires, in which the lack of game schemes and tactics to harness the opponent is however only apparent. A recipe that is extremely manageable even for the casual player, who can have his say on the pitch right away and have fun even without having hours of training behind him.

To all this, it is a must to add and keep also into consideration the possibility of playing in local multiplayer up to four against four, with each user in command of a single player on the pitch. A mode that undoubtedly favors collaboration with teammates by pushing on the accelerator of the team game to get to the goal, and that will transform you and your friends into ugly people, aggressive and ready to do anything to win.

... but deep!

If you are looking for layered and rewarding gameplay, Mario Strikers: Battle League Football is the one for you A long time after its debut (and from Charged, the second chapter released in the 2007 on Wii), the series does not seem to have lost its DNA by the way. The aggressive vibe, the feeling, the petty tricks to get the better of the opponent ... it all feels true to what it was and what fans have come to know and like about Strikers. However, Battle League Football takes a further step forward in terms of competition compared to the episodes that preceded it. As widely described in our review, in fact, we are in the presence of a package perhaps less immediate if compared with that of the past, but precisely for this reason more profound and multifaceted. As the hours go by you will gain experience and the bar will rise, and it will be at that moment that the differences between novice and more experienced players will emerge, with the latter being able to implement advanced strategies both in the composition of their team and on the playground.

The developers have taken the original formula in hand and remodeled it just enough to add some new features that broaden the gameplay horizons, without distorting the identity of the saga. The sum of the addenda is a title with competitive features that blend well with the lighter aspect of the gameplay without invading its territory. The introduction of dribbling as a useful move to avoid opponent attacks (especially when loading a shot) is an element that strengthens the gameplay, and forces the player to take a less essential approach to the game action and which requires keeping d eye more variables.

A skill that is paired with another advanced technique, team defense, a device that allows us to hurl a member of our team at an enemy, and which thus extends the range of defensive possibilities at our disposal, favoring a somewhat more reasoned strategy. The renewed physics of the ball that Battle League Football boasts gives each match a component of unpredictability that separates it from other titles of the same genre to bring it significantly closer to a more "real" football.

The ball it does not appear a slave to predefined movements and controlled rebounds, a factor that therefore generates the randomness that makes the approach to the opponent's goal less subject to fixed and repetitive mechanics. Nothing simulative, mind you: Mario Strikers is always Mario Strikers, with his exaggerated shots and his head-down income well beyond the limit of the regulation, nevertheless, part of its essence offers a satisfying and far from superficial experience to who is looking for a title with a layered and complex structure.

Did someone say Mario Kart?

Mario Kart and Mario Strikers: Battle League Football have many points in common A double role that in some ways it compares Battle League Football to Mario Kart, another illustrious member of the "light but profound" family. Just like the acclaimed Nintendo racing game, the most recent episode of the football saga dedicated to the mustachioed plumber knows how to be accessible to casual players but also tough to deal with for the more technical and savvy ones. A merit that makes the name Mario Kart a product for all seasons, a road that Battle League Football intends to follow diligently.

To further bind two apparently different titles but in reality very similar to each other in terms of pedigree, obviously the inevitable dispensers of tripping and pranks intervene: weapons. The presence of these spiteful objects has literally marked the history of Mario Kart, thanks to their variety and their power to overturn even the most desperate situation.

Starting with the first, legendary Super Mario Kart that landed on SNES in 1992 up to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe available for Switch, every lap is a lap where you are a potential target to hit, an unwritten rule that makes the experience extremely fun, yes, but also very strategic. also Battle League Football, with its shells ready to spoil the ball carrier's party at the very best, and which make every game a battle to be faced by exploiting every resource, especially once you have acquired the familiarity that allows you to face high-level matches. intensity.

What do you think of the dual soul of Mario Strikers: Battle League Football? Tell us in the comments.

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