The 2000s marked a bit of a heyday for Nintendo’s sports offerings and among its gems was Mario Strikers, a crown jewel in the shape of an arcade-soccer game with an emphasis on striking. The oft cartoonishly violent and over-the-top series was a party staple like little else: How many other soccer games let you flatten a goalie with giant hammers just to sink a shot?
We never got much out of the Mario Strikers series though, with the last game releasing on the Nintendo Wii in 2007. However, Nintendo has begun resurrecting some of its long-forgotten series lately, including the Wii Sports franchise with this spring’s Nintendo Switch Sports, and now it’s Mario Strikers: Battle League‘s time to shine. Unfortunately, it seems Nintendo has opted for a pared-down “less is more” kind of approach–though that hasn’t stopped folks from having fun with the same chaos Mario Strikers has always dealt in. In GameSpot’s Mario Strikers: Battle League review, we said that the game was “a thin package, without very much variety in terms of game modes and options. But it is a more technically complex game than many of the Mario sports titles, which may give it legs for dedicated players.”
GameSpot’s sister site Metacritic puts Mario Strikers: Battle League at an aggregated score of 75 and lists a range of reviews from around the industry in case you’d like to know what others think of Nintendo’s latest sports game revival.
- Game: Mario Strikers: Battle League
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch
- Developer: Next Level Games, Nintendo EPD
- Release Date: June 10
- Price: $60
GameSpot — 7/10
“Mario Strikers: Battle League may be the most mechanically dense Mario sports game I’ve played. The latest Mushroom Kingdom spin on soccer looks to take the sport seriously, allowing you to juggle passes, tackle, dodge, and cancel moves as the situation demands, even before factoring in its uniquely silly Mario twists. That makes for a high skill ceiling that could conceivably give the game a long lifespan, but its potential is held back by the fact that there just isn’t all that much to do.” – Steve Watts [Full review]
Nintendo Life — 9/10
“Mario Strikers: Battle League is a masterclass in competitive game design. What it lacks in options is more than made up by just how much fun the game is, and it’s absolutely gorgeous to boot. As it stands it already feels like a complete product, but the promise of future updates down the line gives us even more to get excited about. If arcade sport action isn’t your bag, it’ll likely do nothing to sway your opinion, but if you have even a passing interest in this kind of caper, Mario Strikers: Battle League is the best sports game on Switch right now.” – Alex Olney [Full review]
Polygon — Recommended
“Mario Strikers: Battle League is far from perfect. In an iterative series of Mario sports games, where each entry seems to raise the bar — Mario Golf: Super Rush and Mario Tennis Aces come to mind — Battle League is relatively tame. But it does wonders for some of gaming’s oldest characters, allowing the likes of Peach, Wario, or Waluigi to let loose. In the fiercely limited time I’ve spent with each of them on the field these past two weeks, I’ve seen an energy and gravitas from these characters that they haven’t shown in years. Whether it’s the temper of Peach or the joy of a fellow Toad basking in the glory of victory, Battle League is ready to stretch its legs.” – Ana Diaz [Full review]
Video Game Chronicle — 3/5
“Ultimately, like many of the Mario Sports games on the Nintendo Switch, Mario Strikers: Battle League feels like it will be an excellent single-player offering in a year, once much more content is added. At the moment, it’s incredibly thin, and while the online modes are fun, those looking to play alone will be left wanting.” – Jordan Middler [Full review]
IGN — 8/10
“Mario Strikers: Battle League is part skillful soccer game, part ruthless brawler, and almost always a complete blast to play. If you’ve played any games in the series before, there won’t be many surprises in store for you and the small roster of characters and game modes is definitely disappointing, but what’s there is incredibly fun and replayable. I’m impressed by the online mode in the time I’ve had with it so far too, as it sets the stage for a ranked playlist that I look forward to grinding my way to the top of.” – Travis Northup [Full review]
Game Informer — 7.5/10
“Mario Strikers: Battle League may not be the ultimate version of the world’s most popular sport, but its strategic matches, fun online modes, and energetic animations make for an enjoyable experience. While the single-player crowd may find the game a bit lacking, Nintendo’s return to the pitch is bound to create the same triumphant highs, and friendship-ending lows the company’s suite of other party titles is known for.” – Alex Stadnik [Full review]
Gamesradar — 2.5/5
“Though occasionally likable and basically inoffensive, Mario Strikers: Battle League struggles to build on its ideas and ends up feeling pretty undercooked as an experience.” -Joel Franey [Full review]
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