Nintendo Switch review: Is Mario Strikers: Battle League any good?

The easy analogue for Mario Strikers: Battle League sits somewhere between its cousin franchises, Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart.

There’s the usual array of Mario characters – starting with Mario, Luigi, Toad, Peach, Donkey Kong, Bowser, Rosalina, Wario, Waluigi and Yoshi – who roll over and put destructive objects like banana peels and turtle shells on the way to each other.

But the best comparison for Mario Strikers: Battle League is actually NHLPA Hockey ’93 on Sega Genesis. Or, if you want to go more old school, ice hockey on the old Nintendo Entertainment System.

Mario Strikers: Battle League on Nintendo Switch

At its heart, it’s a game of passing, shooting and scoring. Everything else is just decoration and devastation. (If you’ve lined up a one-timer with Mario Lemieux on the old Sega hockey game, it’ll be a nostalgic experience.)

Among the decorations? Arena backgrounds resembling different landscapes from the Mario universe and animated “hyper strikes” unique to each character.

Among the ravages? Electric fences that immobilize a player, the same type of destructive objects found in Mario Kart, and sliding tackles (the effectiveness of which depends a lot on whether you’re controlling Bowser or Waluigi).

Players who successfully avoid collisions, bombs, and anything that can knock characters over will find enough space to split the ball and create scoring opportunities. The real thrill of the game comes from the accuracy of passing and shooting.

It’s a simple game in concept, but avoiding all that devastation is quite difficult, especially when playing against more experienced and higher caliber players.

My family first tried the game about a month after it was released on June 10, and my son — despite beating me soundly in nearly every game — said he was about two months behind in online competition.

Other Mario Strikers game notes:

  • Additional characters, like Shy Guy and Daisy, and game-enhancing gear can be earned through gameplay.
  • Up to eight players can play at once, so if you have enough cons and/or consoles, you can get plenty of friends and family involved.
  • The game retails for $59.99 for a digital download or physical copy.

About Jason Zeitler

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