Perfect for challenges with friends, Mario Strikers: Battle League Football hides a deeper gameplay than expected: let’s analyze its double identity.
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 experiences that are gradually increasingly broad and multifaceted. 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 title demanding and deep to the perfect one for a “hit and run” game alone or in the company of friends.
However, there are not many games capable of to melt these last two aspects harmoniously, 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 his together dual identity: the ideal party game for evenings based on the couch and occasional challenges, and the most competitive one capable of satisfying even the most hardened players.
Party game yes …
Let’s start from that ground on which Nintendo Switch is queen having literally beaten the competition: the soul from 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.
Battle League Football’s propensity for an even more extreme action devoted to physical confrontations than 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 to the more seasoned one. The most recent chapter of Strikers puts in fact on the plate a direct gameplay and accessible, made up of low blows, blows to the utmost and pyrotechnic hyperthreats, in which the lack of game schemes and tactics to harness the opponent is only apparent. A recipe that is extremely easy to handle even for the casual player, who can have a say in him on the pitch right away and have fun even without having hours of training behind him.
To all this, it is necessary to add and also take into account 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 for anything to win.
… but deep!
After a very long time from its debut (and from Charged, the second chapter released in 2007 on the Wii), the series does not seem to have lost its way along the way. DNA. The aggressive atmosphere, the feeling, the petty tricks to get the better of the opponent … it all feels true to what it was and what the 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 took the original formula in hand and remodeled it just enough to add some new features that broaden the horizons of the gameplay, without distorting the identity of the saga. The sum of the addends is a title from competitive traits 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, an expedient that allows you to hurl a member of our team against an enemy, and which thus extends the range of defensive possibilities available to us, favoring a a little more reasoned strategy. Not only. The renewed physics of the ball featured in Battle League Football gives each match a component of unpredictability that separates it clearly from other titles of the same genre to bring it significantly closer to a more “real” football.
The ball does not appear a slave to predefined movements and controlled rebounds, a factor that therefore generates that 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 those looking for a title from layered structure and complex.
Did someone say Mario Kart?
A double role that in some ways 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. An advantage that makes the name Mario Kart a product for all seasons, a path that Battle League Football intends to follow diligently.
To further bind two apparently different titles but in reality very similar to each other in pedigree, obviously the inevitable dispensers of tripping and pranks intervene: the 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.
From the first, legendary Super Mario Kart that landed on SNES in 1992 up to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe available for Switch, each lap is a lap in which you are a potential target to hit, an unwritten rule that makes the experience extremely fun, yes, but also a lot strategic. A feature that Battle League Football also shares, 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 intensity matches.
What do you think of the dual soul of Mario Strikers: Battle League Football? Tell us in the comments.
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