I've been playing Wii’s first proper online multiplayer game, Mario Strikers: Charged Football
, this week and I have finally torn myself away from it to let you know the only thing that matters - if we think it’s any good our not. Does online play on Wii work? Does it have a future?
Firstly, before we start, let’s be clear. Mario Strikers: Charged Football
, is not really anything close to what you think you know about real world football. I should at this stage admit that I hadn’t played its GameCube predecessor, Mario Smash Football
so I effectively came to this game not knowing what to expect.
I was also reliably informed by one of my opponents in the Nintendo flat in central London this week that this latest game is a pretty decent update of that GameCube game. I made a mental note to myself to never miss any first-party Nintendo titles ever again: particularly anything featuring Mario.
No, Mario Strikers: Charged Football
, is an unashamedly unrealistic and hugely fun arcade experience. Which is not to say it’s easy and/or ‘throwaway fun’, by any means, just to say that if you are looking forward to playing this game because you’re a big fan of footy games such as Pro Evolution
, then you are going to have a bit of a shock in store, as the game eschews any pretence to be anything like that rather dull game you are forced to watch now and then in your local Sky Sports pub (that’s right, I don’t like
football). This is hugely daft, incredibly fast-paced cartoon five-a-side football at its very best. If you can imagine Sensible Soccer
meets Mario Kart
, then you are almost there.
After playing my first couple of games and, frankly, not being able to keep up with the rapid pace of the numerous things happening on the screen – with the frantic passing, bizarre power-ups and some incredibly cool looking power-shots - I quickly retreated to the relative sanity of the game’s ten-step tutorial. Like many gamers, I usually tend to ignore tutorials, be they interactive or (worse) in the form of a thick booklet. However, the in-game tutorial in Mario Strikers: Charged Football
, is that rare thing: a useful, workable and fun outing. Not only does it succeed in gently introducing you to what you soon realise is a game of far more depth and complexity than at first appears, it is also a lot of fun in itself.
The in-game music (more on this later) is just stand-out superb, so even before I sat down to learn how to play the game, the catchy funk guitar beat along with the sight of Mario sporting massive Union Jack-boots (not jackboots!) already had me in the mood. Grinning from ear to ear at such a ridiculous sight and tapping my toes to the beat, I gradually learnt the basics of the game – passing the ball, ‘charging’ (powering-up) the ball and saving the ball.