A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this Mario sports game is fast-paced, silly, strange, and cool; but that it bears very little resemblance to real soccer. This is extreme soccer of the red-card variety, making unsportsmanlike mischief part of the fun -- and part of the concern for parents. Each character has a special Team Captain Power; Wario's is the ability to fart green smoke, making everyone sick. This game offers an online component, which Common Sense Media does not recommend for anyone under the age of 12.
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What's it about?
Mario has strapped on his soccer cleats to wreak havoc on the soccer pitch in MARIO STRIKERS CHARGED for the Wii system, a fast-paced fantasy arcade game of Wii soccer, similar in gameplay to the older Super Mario Strikers GameCube classic. Sidekicks and team captains have different special shots that help them get the ball past the goalie: For instance, the Hammer Bros. toss hammers to temporarily stun the goalie so they can get a free shot and team captains can execute special shots that can send multiple balls to the goal. But the mayhem doesn't stop there. The team captains have other special powers out on the field, and you can use collected items like bouncing turtle shells or bombs to temporarily distract and thwart the other team's players.
Is it any good?
Play options include competing in a tournament to win trophies or trying special challenges to unlock player cards and secret codes. You can play online against strangers using the Wii wireless connection. Playing with friends online is a little harder, as you both need to exchange friend codes that are different than the regular friend codes, and it … takes … a … long … time … to … connect.
The graphics and sound aren't much improved from the GameCube version. But it's still humorous to see the "angrier" Mario characters play soccer. The controls are a little tricky to learn at first, so newbies may want to practice up before playing, because the game's artificial intelligence plays a mean game of soccer, and the online opponents are even tougher.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this game differs from real soccer. Families can talk about the importance of sportsmanship and team play. They can also talk about how this game at times mirrors real life because winning this game requires tactics and practice. Do kids like playing these games because they enjoy the characters, the gameplay, or both?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.