Stupidly addictive, and nothing like football.
I don’t quite know where to start with this game, it really defies description. From the name you might be thinking you are going to be playing football but Mario Strikers: Charged Football bears only a passing resemblance to what we know as football. In a nutshell, this is one of the most frantic, crazy, and downright addictive games I’ve ever played.
From the main menu you are presented with a number of options from, well, “options” to challenges, training, head-to-head, career and yes – the long awaited online mode. I highly recommend playing the training missions first as they not only give you a feel for the individual moves and strategies required to master the game, but they’re actually great fun and you will feel compelled to get “complete” stamped over all 10 of the challenges. All this is well and good though, but absolutely nothing will prepare you for the madcap antics waiting for you when you put all these skills together.
There’s simply too much to go into within my word limit
In the spirit of sharing, I play-tested this title with my brother and we spent more time in the first two hours laughing rather than seriously playing. Really there is just so much going on on-screen that it takes quite some time to take it all in. The graphics are absolutely glorious for a start. There are 10 different pitches (or should I say arenas?) to play on all with different characteristics like tractors and livestock gusting around, or slippery surfaces to play on. Each of the 10 captains has their own signature move and MegaStrike animation, as well as their custom “entrance” animations at the start of each match. There are also different crowd chants which had us laughing (“Wari-wari-wari-OHHHHH!”) and some great jazzed-up tunes to get you in the mood; all in all it’s a bit of a sensory overload to begin with. Add to this the sheer “WTF is going on?!” factor and it’s just crazy fun.
For a game that is really nothing like football, it is still tremendously tactical. First off you have to pick your captain and select a team line-up, with each character having different strengths and weaknesses. You won’t get anywhere just running, passing and shooting in this game. No – you need to use every power up, special move, and dirty trick in the book. As far as power-ups go, well think about the power ups available in Mario kart and then try and imagine them on a football pitch… Are you getting an idea of how crazy this game is yet? Banana skins, shells, bob-ombs, and chain-chomps – they’re all there. These are all earned when non-participating players (i.e. anyone not in possession of the ball) are tackled and can be unleashed at the press of a button so watch your fouls! You can also earn super fast strikes by stringing passes together to make the ball glow.
But wait that’s not all! There are signature moves, special attacks, and of course the “MegaStrike”. This is perhaps your best chance to score big, but finding the space and time in the middle of all that madness is not easy. The MegaStrike is only available to captains and gives you the chance to unleash 6 shots at goal. As I said you need time and space to do this as it takes a while to charge up and for your “meter” to appear. Once this appears and starts moving you have to press a button to stop it on the number of strikes, and again to have a chance at super-fast strikes. If you are unlucky enough to have a MegaStrike used against you don’t worry, you have a chance to save yourself – Duck Hunt style. Point your Wii-mote at the screen and you will be able to move a pair of hands around, all you need to do is click to “zap” the incoming balls.
There’s simply too much to go into within my word limit, so suffice to say you are guaranteed to have fun with this for a long time. Before I wrap up though, a little about game modes.
The main focus of the single player game is the Road to the Striker Cup – basically your classic tournament format that has increasing difficulty levels as you progress through the stages. In case that isn’t enough for you, there are also Striker Challenges to be completed, and a hall of fame to view records in. Naturally there is also the Domination mode if you want to set up a custom match or play against your mates. Last but not least – Wi-Fi play is here so you can play with your other mates too. I won’t go in to the online mode but it tops off and already stunning game with ranked tournaments, friendlies and leader boards to check out.
There’s just so much more I could say but at the end of the day what you want to know is “Is it worth buying??
(P.S. Watch out for Wario’s flatulence problem………)
The Bad: Might take away your social life and replace it with online gaming