- Release date: November 2010
- Platform: Nintendo Wii
- Our rating: 75%
Football games on the Wii have been rather hit and miss. While some like the complexity of a non traditional controller, others find it a bit difficult. Mario Strikers Charged Football has had a rather popular reception among all Wii gamers. In this guide, we will explore this game in more detail.
Mario Strikers Charged Football was developed by Next Level Games for the Wii. Even though the game was released way back in the middle of 2007 it still sells thousands of copies every year because of its unique Gameplay. This game was also the first (in Europe) available for online play, which originally added to its sales potential.
While based on football (or soccer if you are a part of the Canadian development team), when you play the game you will see that it is nothing like the conventional football games.
In a normal game, two teams of five compete in a 5 a side match. Unlike other football games, the colour of the ball is important. When you get the ball it will be purple; however, the longer you keep it and the more passes you make result in the ball turning whiter. When you have a white ball you have a much better chance of scoring. Of course, the opposing team will try and dispossess you.
Players can also pick up items as they play. They offer a temporary boost to your team or a disadvantage to the opposing team. Using your item at the correct time can often be the difference between winning and losing, but ultimately a great team with no items will beat a mediocre team that get their hands on all of them, otherwise the game would be more about collecting items rather than football.
One skill that takes a few seconds to learn but a lifetime to master is shooting. A lot of the focus surrounds attacking rather than defending on this game, and if you can master shooting then winning games will come naturally.
As you shoot a power bar will charge, and if you release the button at the right time, you will let loose a 'special' shot which has a much better chance of beating the keeper.
Different players have various ways of shooting, and each of these has benefits and negatives. If you are shooting as your captain then this shot is classed as a 'mega strike'. If you get everything correct you can release up to six shots at the goalkeeper. This means with just one shot you can score six goals. If you are defending a strike from a captain then you enter a mini-game to try and block as many shots as possible, and the harder the initial strike, the more difficult it is for the goalkeeper to block the attempts.
When you play online you have two choices, you can either play an un-ranked friendly or a ranked match.
If you play a ranked match then you are almost guaranteed a good connection as you can only pair up with people in the same region. Your ranking is decided by the amount of points you earn from a game. You can earn up to 20 points per game, 10 for winning and 1 point for every goal scored (up to a maximum of 10).
When playing a ranked or un-ranked match you can choose between 1v1, 2v2 and even 3v1. If you choose 2v2 or 3v1 then you can either play with friends, or you will be paired up with other online players in your region.
Before every game, you get to choose a team of 5 (including a goalkeeper) from a selection of 20 players. There is a total of 12 captains and eight sidekicks to choose from, and your team must select one goalkeeper, three sidekicks and a captain.
When selecting a team, you need to try and form a balanced one. All the characters fall into one of 5 sections; Balanced, Playmaker, Power, Offensive and Defensive:
- Balanced - A good player with impartial stats in every section.
- Playmaker - A quick player with decent passing.
- Power - An authoritative player who can play either up front or at the back without issue.
- Offensive - This player attacks well, has good shooting and passing stats.
- Defensive - Good defender who is quick.
The game has gained a positive reception among critics, scoring on average 8/10 through the majority of game websites. Unsurprisingly, the top score the game received was from the Official Nintendo Magazine which gave the game 91% out of 100%.
However, by far (in the UK) the games most impressive feat was the winning of the editor's choice award on IGN, scoring 8.7 out of 10 along the way.
At the beginning of 2011, Mario Striker Charged Football had sold around 1.8 million copies worldwide, making it the 35th best selling game of all time on the Wii.
This game has split the market right down the middle, and strangely enough the diehard fans of the game are usually not football fans. They seem to prefer the more conventional games, while fans of the Mario series are those that enjoy a bit of whimsy.
Graphics - 5/10
Name a Mario game that has outstanding graphics? The answer to that question is there is not one. The graphics are among some of the best that you will find on the Wii, but when compared to other consoles they struggle somewhat. Saying that, there are no errors in the way it has been designed, and this game does not want to be taken seriously. Therefore, anything apart from what has been designed would have been wasted time.
Playability - 7/10
When you actually get into playing the game, you will find that it is hard to put it down. There is something about this game that makes it a delight to play. Many believe it is a lot to do with its fast pace and intentionally comical animations. If you enjoy it then playability will not be an issue, on the other hand, if you find the game boring the first time you pick it up then it is rather repetitive so this could be an issue.
Originality - 10/10
There are plenty of Mario variations available on a variety of consoles, but there is nothing like this game. In terms of originality, this game has to score top marks because it is the first and only game in its genre.
Game Depth - 6/10
There is a rather detailed selection of 20 players to pick from, and various stadiums and opponents, but past this, there is little else. Since it is the first of its kind, developers have not focused on the 'small details' to make the game much more playable, instead they have just focused on getting the basics correct.
Addictiveness - 7/10
If you are a fan of the game then the chances are you will be ringing up your friends trying to organise your next Mario Strikers Charged Football evening. On the other hand, if you prefer to play by yourself, this game has decent longevity, which ensures it can be played for hours on end.
Value for Money - 9/10
At the moment, you can obtain a copy of Mario Strikers Charged Football for around £15. If you get it for this price then value for money is not an issue. In fact, a price tag of £25-30 would be justifiable based on what is on offer.
Overall Rating - 75%
This game is a tough one to rank because there is nothing to compare it to on the market. If you are a fan of quirky games (like the ones found in the Mario series), and also enjoy football, but would not call yourself a die-hard fan then the chances are this game will be right up your street.
Another game similar to Mario Strikers Charged Football that we recommend is Kickabout League - Free Multiplayer Game which can be played online for free. Here you play against real opponents over the internet in tournaments and leagues.