Mario Strikers Charged Football (Wii) Review

By Adam Riley 26.05.2007

Review for Mario Strikers Charged Football on Wii

Mario Smash Football was a surprise turn-up on the GameCube towards the end of the console’s lifespan and proved to be quite a decent seller despite the current state of the system’s market at the time. It has been well publicised, but for those that were not aware, the game is developed by a group of people that formerly worked at Blackbox Games, which when snapped up by EA, saw a lot of its key staff scarper for the independent hills. After having worked on the fun Sega Soccer Slam and re-jigging that formula for the GameCube Mario football title, Next Level Games has another shot at the Mario Sports genre. Does its sequel on Wii does deserve more attention than its predecessor, though?

Given that Mario Smash Football came towards the end of the GameCube’s lifespan, it was with little surprise that we found Next Level Games was able to squeeze quite a lot out of the system in terms of gameplay speed and character creation. However, the game had a somewhat bland appearance overall and lacked a certain quality you would expect from a Nintendo game. However, now with more development time under its belt on Nintendo formats, helped along by the Wii’s internal structure not being too dissimilar to a high end GameCube, the team has pushed the envelope slightly further, with much more on the animation front now included, greater detail on the characters in general and a whole host of interesting new stadiums, complete with a slew of impressive and devastating effects from power-ups and special moves. It may not make your PS3 / Xbox 360-owning friends bat an eyelid, but it is a far cry from some of the sub-par efforts seen on the system since launch.

Thankfully the audio side has been boosted considerably as well this time round, since the original game’s music was pretty sub-standard and faded away into the background. Now you have a batch of funky tracks (with one particular theme sounding like a popular disco theme that you will instantly recognise it upon hearing it), plus there is even a very quaint piece of elevator-style music for the pause screen and much more. But the highlight has to be the inclusion of humorous voice snippets for the different characters on offer, as well as the whole host of thundering sound effects that add to the complete chaos that ensues once a match has kicked off. The ideal situation is to have everything pumping out of a loud sound system, most definitely!

Screenshot for Mario Strikers Charged Football on Wii

First things first, Mario Strikers is not the same sort of football that you would get if you bought FIFA or Pro Evolution Soccer, most certainly not. This is extreme four-on-four hectic action, end-to-end, breathtaking, crazy football. In fact, even the ball itself is not what you would expect, as it is actually metal! There are no throw-ins, free kicks, corners, offside rules or any of that; this is just a few minutes of complete mayhem of the most enjoyable nature. Following in the footsteps of Sega Soccer Slam and Mario Smash Football, Mario Strikers on Wii has you choosing a main captain, from a whole host of infamous Nintendo characters – including the likes of Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Yoshi through to the villainous Bowser, Waluigi and Wario, plus newcomers such as Diddy Kong and Petey the Piranha Plant. Then you must select three teammates to accompany you onto the field, picking from sub-characters like Monty the Mole, Shy Guy, the Hammer Bros. and even Birdo. Then the fun begins…

There are several modes you can play through, the first recommendation being the training session, which will teach you the rudimentary moves required to play the game. Then there are striker challenges that play like the old Scenario Mode from International Superstar Soccer, where you are placed in seemingly impossible situations and must scrape through with a victory no matter what. Other than that, you can play through various cups to become the overall master of Mario Strikers, play against friends on the one Wii system or even jump into the online world and face human opponents whenever you feel like it. For those that played the GameCube title, you do not really need to know much more, since the game plays almost exactly the same…

Screenshot for Mario Strikers Charged Football on Wii

Straight away you may grasp from that comment that the Wii’s motion controls are hardly put to the test. Other than waggling the remote quickly to do a shoulder barge (pressing on the directional pad makes players do a slide challenge, which is much less distracting than shaking the controller all the time to tackle) and the reflex-testing goalkeeping aspect (more on that later), this definitely feels just like the game the GameCube title really should have been. But that sounds too negative when, in all honesty, Mario Strikers is fantastic fun whether it makes full use of the Wii features or not. Quick passing, lobbing, adding extra curl to the ball’s flight path using the analogue stick, charging up to power home different types of shots and great little through-balls are all part and parcel of this mad-cap football outing. However, on top of this there are ‘Mario’ style extras, with treacherous arenas that have a distinct effect on play (with some tilting and blowing players off the pitch and others shooting bolts of electricity all over the place to temporarily paralyse players unfortunate enough to get in the way), special power-ups obtained when hit off-the-ball or when doing a charge shot (thunder bolts that shrink players, red homing shells that squash opponents and lava balls that cause both ball and players to shoot up in the air if contact is made, are just a few examples) and captain specials.

These captain special moves include making Mario huge and able to stomp on everyone or allowing Bowser to blow flames at opponents and can really help to make some free space on the cramped playing field, which proves essential if you want to pull off a charged shot. When a captain has room to charge, a little meter pops up that must be stopped twice at the right times. This is in preparation for a Mega Strike where, if timed properly, you can have six shots in one go and varying speeds (all dependent on your ability to stop the meter in the right places), completely changing the outcome of a game. This is where the opponent’s reactions using the Wii controller come into play, with the goalie’s hands being moved around using the Wii-mote and ‘A’ being pressed to attempt a block. The objective is to watch where a ball appears on-screen, then quickly move the hands and click the save button. If the player doing the Mega Strike hit a ‘6’ and stopped the meter on the fastest shot section, then lightning reactions will be required on the defender’s part. However, whilst a nice addition, this aspect grows a little stale due to its repetitive nature, as well as the build up video sequence that plays every time and cannot be skipped. But it is not only captains that can use these sorts of moves, as each different side-kick has its trademark charge shots, examples being the Hammer Bros. throwing a tirade of hammers at the goalkeeper to stun him briefly or Boo sucking in the ball, disappearing and reappearing elsewhere. So much has been thought of to try and make the game as varied as possible and prevent boredom from setting in that Next Level Games deserves a very strong pat on the back…

Screenshot for Mario Strikers Charged Football on Wii

The serious drawback for Mario Smash Football had to be the fact that it suffered considerably in the longevity stakes. Whilst proving to be highly entertaining, with its end-to-end mayhem, the solo experience was severely lacking and gamers would have to rely on bringing friends over to get more play time out of it. Now, to some extent Mario Strikers Charged falls down at the same hurdle. However, it manages to pick itself up, dust itself off and drag its backside a little further around the track thanks to the fleshed out solo side. But the biggest draw is the online element, where you can either play alone against friends or anonymous folk or even choose to have you and a friend play against another pairing online. Sadly there are still major concerns about connections dropping if too weak (thankfully you can see how strong a connection is likely to be before a match starts) or horrible problems with lag, slowing the gameplay down so much that your characters look like they are running through treacle, but at least it is better than nothing at all. Hopefully this is not a sign of things to come for future football games, though, as between this and Pro Evolution Soccer 6 on DS, so far we have not been treated to a completely glitch-free online experience. The upside is that there are online rankings so you can rate yourself against others, and even with the lag it is great when you connect at a quiet period for some insane football action.

Screenshot for Mario Strikers Charged Football on Wii

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Mario Strikers Charged Football is much better than its predecessor, with refined gameplay, extra modes and a new online side to extend the game’s life. However, the same limitations from the original are still there, so those that got bored with the GameCube game should try this one out first before buying. Wii fans looking for a great laugh with their friends will lap this crazy action sports game up, though.


Next Level







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (53 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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