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Mario Strikers: Battle League Football is wild soccer fun on Nintendo Switch

Football fans are going to love this action game that’s a mix between their favourite sport and all-out Mario Kart mayhem.

Because while it’s a soccer game at its heart, there’s plenty of Nintendo gaming dazzle rubbed in to make this a rather unique title for the handheld Switch console.

Battle League not only features four-on four footie matches, but it mixes them up with regular power-ups and item drops just like you get in the hit karting title.

So you’ve not only got to win the ball off an opponent but also dodge slippery bananas, thrown shells and ticking bombs as well as a whole host of other items that affect the pitch-side gameplay.

It is mayhem and, while the footballing purists may have an issue with it, is so much fun.

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It’s like football, if football had no ref and no rules.

So expect to be beaten, drop kicked, even zapped by rivals as you battle for victory in generally short-burst single matches or mini cup tournaments.

Players can select among familiar faces from Nintendo’s famous Mushroom Kingdom including Mario, Peach, Luigi, Donkey Kong and Toad, and play locally with up to eight players on one console using multiple Joy-Cons or take the competition online against web-based rivals.

The controls are fairly simple – shoot, pass, lob – but there’s a greater detail in the gameplay than you first realise once you go through the training section.

Players can team up to use a Team Tackle to help, say, throw or push another player across extra ground to take out a rival.

You can bend the ball cartoon style much better than Beckham after a shot using the right stick, and it tends to help you score past quite tricky computer-controlled goalies.

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And once a golden Strike Orb drops onto the pitch there’s a mad dash by all to collect it because it’ll trigger a Hyper Strike shot at goal.

Score and you get TWO goals, not one, plus a cool animated cut-scene to show off your character’s unique mega move.

Each player has their own stats across speed, power, shooting skill, and these can be boosted by hard-won in-game flashy gear.

Online you can also build your own team in a Strikers Club mode, a bit like a mini Fifa Ultimate Team.

Club owners can customise their club’s uniform and will also earn tokens after each match which can be used to customise their club stadium.

It’s nowhere near as complex as Fifa, none of it is, but this game knows its strength is in the moment-to-moment arcade action and really wants you involved in that as much as possible with little distraction.

For footie fans, this is a bit of a no-brainer.

It’s very much a crazy Nintendo version of that sport.

Don’t expect a simulation game, expect a laugh-a-minute wild brawler that’s as much Street Fighter as it is Fifa.

The gameplay runs at breakneck speed and is trickier than it first appears to master.

To get the most out of it I’d recommend multiple players locally or online plugged into the telly, rather than on the handheld screen alone.

Either way, this is a wonderful addition to the Switch catalogue and well worth the £50 fee.

It’ll last you all summer and beyond.

VERDICT 5/5

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