Some people call it soccer, others call it football, and most Americans just call it boring. But as the world's national pastime, kicking a ball around into a net is pretty ultimate. Combined with Nintendo's most famous characters in history, you get Mario Strikers Charged.
But is the game any good? Hit the jump for our Frankenreview: every bit of every review in the entire Universe thrown out, so you can read less.
Straight away you may grasp from that comment that the Wii's motion controls are hardly put to the test. Other than waggling the remote quickly to do a shoulder barge (pressing on the directional pad makes players do a slide challenge, which is much less distracting than shaking the controller all the time to tackle) and the reflex-testing goalkeeping aspect...this definitely feels just like the game the GameCube title really should have been.
As well as letting you tackle from behind, Mario mixes things up and lets you hammer the ball into another player, tackle players that don't have the ball and even use such items as bombs and turtle shells... Mario Strikers takes a lot of inspiration from the 'old school', which is something I respect. If you grew up on NBA Jam, Nintendo World Cup or Speedball, then you'll know what I'm talking about. Rules are out! Biffo is in!!
The captain can unleash a Super Strike...holding down the shoot button triggers a Super Smash Brothers style screen spasm of light and a power barometer which needs to be stopped at the right time, just like a golf game...this is where the remote comes in - the screen rotates and lets you see approaching shots through the eyes of the keeper. You direct the on screen hands and press A to make a save. It's great fun and ironically, more realistic than the simplistic hit and miss penalty shoot-outs in Pro Evolution Soccer.
In comparison to its rivals' online services what you get here is quite rudimentary, no voice communication and long friends codes instead of easy to remember names, but it still works well enough. Games occasionally take a while to connect to, but once connected there are no real problems, after playing numerous games online I'm yet to encounter any lag or dropped connections.
And for all of its random nonsense, Charged is balanced surprisingly well. Each character has enough "weapons" on offence and defence for skilled players to overcome the deluge of items, power kicks, and field hazards. On higher levels, the A.I. is a bit too good - in that annoying "I have decided that I will score a goal riiiiiiiiiight...now" sort of way.
All the descriptions remind me of Pigskin Football. Maybe I actually have something new to play for the Wii.