Of his many vocations and achievements, I’d argue that one of Mario’s most successful careers has always been in football. Though he hasn’t had as many outings onto the soccer pitch as he has onto the golf course or tennis court, his track record there is unimpeachable, two for two with undeniable bangers. Today, after a fifteen-year hiatus from football, we can make that three.
To be completely honest, there isn’t an enormous amount to Mario Strikers: Battle League. It’s about as simple as a game comes, in fact, the sort of release that isn’t very common these days because publishers and developers feel like all modern games need to be stuffed to bursting. This is a more simple affair: you get a unique, fun, and twisted version of five-on-five football action starring Mario characters. It can be played against AI or other humans, online or offline, in a few different formats. Characters can be mildly customized. But that’s it.
When you first boot the game and peruse its menus, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s a little thin on the ground. But what becomes quickly apparent is that all that really matters is how the game plays – because in soccer, you’re always going to be doing roughly the same thing, which in turn is accomplished through a few basic mechanics. Those mechanics have to be sharp as a tack, and that’s all that matters. Battle League nails that, just as its predecessors do.