While this cartoonish soccer game is fun in short bursts, its repetitive gameplay can wear thin even if you're a fan of multiplayer. Mario Strikers: Battle League is a cartoonish take on 5v5 soccer matches, with a lot of fast-paced chaos taking over the pitch. Players will frequently tear up the field with explosions, blasts of fire, or vines made of energy as they maneuver their players into position to take a shot on goal. Thanks to the surprisingly strong defense of the computer-controlled goalies that stop most basic shot attempts without breaking a sweat, players have more time to focus on getting the ball, setting up the perfect shot, and trying their best to blast the ball into the back of the net while avoiding incoming attacks from opponents. In fact, the back-and-forth chaos of passing and stealing the ball from opponents, tossing out items to sabotage opponents, and having a match come down to a last-second score can be an exhilarating close to a hard-fought game.
Unfortunately, Battle League doesn't really have enough to fully keep your attention for long. Players can tear through the Cups tournament in a matter of hours, which will provide them with coins to unlock gear, but that's the "deepest" portion of play. There's no story behind playing each game, no additional items or characters that are unlocked, and no seasonal play apart from the Striker's Club league matches, which are just ways to get players to keep playing online matches against other people. Apart from that, this is a game that you're going to pick up and play in limited bursts, probably with friends or family members for an hour or so if you're not interested in league play. That leads to another issue, which is that online play can be wildly unbalanced and can't be limited to skill levels. You could be paired up with a newcomer that's getting used to the controls, or a veteran that wipes the floor with you – there's no in-between, which limits the fun significantly. Finally, while scoring Hyper Strikes can be a lot of fun, the timing for the gauges can be tricky to see thanks to the camera zoom on the power meter, regardless of whether you're playing in handheld or docked mode. That may cause you to miss more shots than you'd expect, which can limit the number of attempts you make until you master the timing. If you can put up with these issues, Mario Strikers can be a fun way to play soccer. Just don't expect that you'll keep playing it for multiple hours in a row.