Mario Strikers: Battle League (Switch) Review: GOOOOOOOAAAALLLLLL

Our review of Mario Strikers: Battle League, developed by Next Level Games. Available now for Nintendo Switch.

Mario Strikers: Battle League


Imagine Nintendo took all its characters, and, like, put them in a sports game? Wouldn’t that be something?


She shoots, she scooooooorrrrresss!!!!


Sonic the Hedgehog, weeping that he never had nearly as good a spinoff game. (And no, Sonic Spinball doesn’t count.)

Mario Strikers: Battle League


Here we go again.

Hot on the heels of Mario Golf: Super Rush, Mario, Luigi, and co. have gotten the whole gang together for some very arcadey and very over-the-top association football. It’s… pretty much what you’d expect, albeit with an unfortunately small launch roster and dearth of single-player modes. Now, to be fair, Strikers, like a lot of other Mario-brand sports titles, is really meant for group play, and with restrictions mostly lifting, you could do worse for a game night than having some friends over for a bit of five-a-side. Like so many Mario sports titles before it, Strikers is a blast in short bursts and at its best with/against friends. If you’re looking for something to scratch that football itch, and you don’t want to deal with garbage microtransactions, Strikers is here.

Mario Strikers: Battle League


Mario Strikers is all about the superpowers. Each character – there are ten – has a unique special move, like Mario’s Fire Cyclone or Waluigi’s Thorn Barrier. Additionally, players can pick up Mario Kart-like item boxes that randomly generate items like a Banana that causes opponents to slip, or a Red Shell that heat-seeks the nearest opponent. If you have played a Mario Kart or any Mario sports game in the past thirty years, you’ll intuitively understand how these items work. Much of the fun of Strikers is in sabotaging your opponent with a well-timed special move or item that foils a perfectly planned offensive rush. It’s just as dastardly when you trip up the defense and give your striker an open shot. Also, it’s hilarious.

Of course, your hilarity mileage with Strikers really depends on your ability to play with friends. With Strikers‘s single-player mode essentially amounting to a glorified tutorial, the real meat of the game is either online or local multiplayer. Teams in Strikers are made up of four-a-side (plus an AI-controlled goalie), meaning that you can play with as many as 8 human players, including 4-vs-4 on a single console. Shy of eight players, any empty slots will be automatically filled by an AI-controlled character. It’s easy to join a random lobby or to create your own, since, realistically, you probably won’t be running many 4-vs-4 local matches (unless you live in a college dorm). Still, it’s nice that the option is there. Multiplayer works well, it’s fun, you will laugh when you trip up your best friend.


Mario Strikers: Battle League is one of those games that just delivers – without offering anything particularly fresh. It’s roughly the same Strikers we’ve been playing since 2005 on the GameCube, albeit with fewer characters than in the GameCube original. That, undoubtedly, will be the biggest disappointment for longtime fans. After Smash Bros. gave us, well, all of the characters, and even the recent Mario Golf offered somewhere in the neighbourhood of twenty golfers, it’s plain weird that Strikers is so lacking. I mean, it doesn’t really matter when you’re dashing around the screen with a tried-and-true classic like Luigi or Waluigi, but it’d be nice to have more roster diversity.

On the whole, Strikers is another fine addition to the Mario sports stable. Bring on Mario Equestrian please.

Final score: 8/10 Ronaltoads

Visit the official website for Mario Strikers: Battle League here.