What a great job the Canadians at Next Level Games have done in making sure that the third Mario Strikers offers something different and more elaborate than its two predecessors, while still fitting neatly into a leading Nintendo Switch game. Battle League Football is a real show on screen (both on TV and on a laptop, although I recommend an OLED for its size and brightness) with such a strong arcade flavor that it’s on more than one occasion when someone else plays, it will transport you to the arcades of the 90’s, when you looked over the shoulder at someone else’s game.
This effort may be a shot in the foot for Nintendo (remember that it bought the studio responsible for Luigi’s Mansion 3, Punch-Out!! or the first two Strikers), given the other Mario sports games , vacation or arcade games do not reach the sole of the boot with cleats to strikers on the level of animation, detail and personality. And yes, in this bag, to save Smash Bros., we put the Camelot tennis and golf games, the party games, and even Mario Kart. So great is the work done with the 10 characters that come standard in the new Mario Strikers (although all indications are that 10 more will come from free DLC) that their portrayal here could be their best appearance yet, comparable to that from platform adventures or more narratives where logically they have a lot more involvement.
Maybe you get tired of seeing them Hipertrallazos, the celebrations, the lamentations, or the introduction and victory sequences have been around for a month (new ones will arrive to refresh), but both these scripted sequences and every movement in the game were made with love for the character and with great care that goes from now on makes any Mario sports game look bad. Yoshi’s control of the ball with his tongue, Peach’s artistic gymnastic moves, Wario’s way of walking, Luigi’s way of being that they know so well… All a bit more angry, bully or aggressive because that’s always the Strikers trademark, but instead losing their character, they see their personality more distinct and fun than ever.
I said in my first impressions that this “arcade football” game with many quotes surprises at first because it is so technical and strategic. This feeling does not diminish over time, quite the opposite. It’s important not just to learn every basic and advanced move from the tutorials, but to master them to the fullest. This is the only way you can master the challenges of the machine and go far in competitive multiplayer.
The first sign of this comes like a ball hit in the face as you advance in the Free Party and Cups. The difficulty curve does not exist, but jumps from walking to “bathing”. There’s a good thing about it: The toughest teams teach you what can be done at all levels (movements, demolitions, dribbling, shooting positions, combinations and even lineups and accessories), so it’s good to pay attention and try to do it yourself to do. What’s irritating is that the AI goes from a simple hyperwhip to a breath-hold while your CPU-controlled teammates are stunned by the cone.
What if they pass? That’s the problem, one of the few I find in Mario Strikers: Battle League Football, but crucial when deciding if it’s your game. Don’t get me wrong I like a good challenge and spend hours trying to master a button battle experience and keep going it’s still a joy to score every goal. However, it seems that tries to show more complex and deeper
For the same reason, on the screen everything becomes a bit chaotic, although the graphics are finally HD and very good. As such, certain configurations, such as three people on the same team (and a libero causing rotations in all characters) are downright annoying. In addition, there are certain shortcomings in pass recognition (e.g. hanging up for strikers or wingers for shooting and back passes) and the typical weaknesses of the Nintendo Online system in the first tests (significant lag, not very agile or intuitive room and matchmaking systems), which lowers the logical euphoria of the first hours.
Offline play content is also a bit short and repetitive in these rounds Trophies for two lives
All this together with the long-range mode Club Strikerwhich we will be participating in online during the regular season makes me believe that Mario Strikers: Battle League Football is actually destined to become a discipline of eSports. 4v4 teams, simple mechanics that lead to spectacular advanced techniques, great dependence on mastering the most complex movements, fast and spectacular gameplay, great fun in a team of four people … Nintendo has not announced any plans in this regard and, given the media inks I have no hopes for Splatoon or Smash Bros., but what Next Level Games has created is a competitive-level pass that could fill a stadium for more than one of the arcades of the year if given the support it needs.