Mario Strikers: Charged Football Online Multiplayer Hands-On

We hit the back of the net with Nintendo's first online-enabled Wii game.

The original Super Mario Strikers was a solid if not essential entry into the GameCube sports catalogue, offering a lighthearted alternative to the seriousness of FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer. It wasn't released that long ago either; its late-2005 arrival gave GameCube owners one more reason to dust off their consoles. It's a very different case for the follow-up, which has arrived so early in the Wii's life in Europe that it's the first game on the system to carry "Mario" in its title. European gamers also have another reason to rejoice because aside from getting Mario Strikers: Charged Football (Mario Strikers Charged in the US) ahead of the rest of the world, it's also the console's first online game. With the US release not set until July and Nintendo's region-locking preventing importers from playing it, we thought that we should take a look at the game to report on Nintendo's online service, as well as the multiplayer part of the game itself.

Up to four people total can play online, with two players on one Wii console and two players on the other console.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of Mario Strikers: Charged Football, make sure you have a look at our previous coverage of the game. As with other Mario sports games, Strikers takes the basics of a sport and applies a wacky Nintendo spin on the proceedings. In this case, players can be smashed into electrified fences, red, green and blue shells can be unleashed across the pitch, and six goals can be scored in one go. It's far removed from the real-life rules of football, but it's a good arcade interpretation of the sport nonetheless. You can read more about the single-player game in one of our other previews, so check them out to find out more about the gameplay.

If you've ever used the Nintendo DS online, you should have a good idea of what to expect when it comes to using the Wii in a similar way. Nintendo has decided to more or less take its successful handheld online service and transplant it to the Wii. This means that the Wii service doesn't offer a mountain of features or options, but Nintendo has created a safe, closed environment for its users.

If you have any experience with other online gaming services, then you're likely to find the Wii system restrictive. But it will hopefully introduce a whole new audience to the service given that it's simple and, crucially, free to use. For example, those used to Xbox Live are likely to be infuriated by not being able to add people you play online to your friends list. Instead, you must each swap 12-digit codes, either physically or electronically. In theory, this is supposed to limit the possibility of children interacting with strangers, but given the proliferation of online forums, it's still easy for people to swap codes with unknowns. A more pressing constraint is that there's no way of communicating with other people in Mario Strikers, so you can't talk to or text them even if they are on your friends list. Perhaps distant acquaintances can devise a system of communication that incorporates an intricate combination of passes, tackles, and shots.

Voice communication will hopefully be incorporated in future Wii releases because the DS supports the feature in such games as Metroid Prime Hunters. A Wii microphone doesn't exist yet, but there's always the possibility that the much-rumoured built-in Wii Remote mic could be put to use. However, that isn't the only restriction of the Wii online service. European residents cannot play people from other territories unless they're on their friends list because of the supposed lag issues this would entail. It's a moot point given that Mario Strikers is only available in Europe right now, but it's a shame to see another feature of the DS service not carried over to the Wii.

Players of other online gaming services will know that when it comes to multiplayer, connection speed is key.

While the Nintendo Wi-Fi service may not be technically advanced, at least it's simple to use. If you've already set your Wii up to use the Weather Channel or download games on the Virtual Console, then you're ready to play online in Mario Strikers. Player matches allow friends who've swapped codes to see if they're online, and as long as they're both available, they can play a match over the Internet as if they were seated next to each other. But most people are likely to opt for the ranked mode, which automatically pairs you with people of a similar skill level based on your number of wins and losses. Thankfully, this process only usually takes about 20 to 30 seconds, and most of our tests matches were almost completely lag-free. True, we encountered a couple of matches that were so slow they were unplayable, but the game allocates scores to your opponent's connection speed, so you can choose to play with an opponent or not; we found that three-and-four star connections played fine, but any less and you're likely to find yourself frustrated.

We've complained about the lack of features in this first online Wii offering, but there are also things it does right. First of all, up to four players can compete online if two people buddy up per console, which is a really nice feature. Winning points to earn a place on the leaderboard is also based on two out of three games, so even if you lose the first game, you can still be in with a chance of coming out on top overall. The game also promotes the best player of the day so far when you log in, meaning that players who perhaps haven't played the game for weeks on end are still in with a chance of featuring on Wii's all over Europe.

Mario Strikers: Charged Football is a fun game in both single-player and multiplayer. Given the limitations of online communication, the only incentive to play online is the challenge of human opponents who are much more devious than their artificial intelligence counterparts. Although it's free and easy to jump online with the game, it has an impersonal feeling that makes us doubt its long-term longevity. Mario Strikers: Charged Football is an energetic addition to the sports genre, but as the first example of an online Wii title, it leaves plenty to be done.

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Discussion

88 comments
timohiggins21
timohiggins21

HEY GUYS IM AFTER SUM FRIEND CODE FOR MARIO STRIKERS SO IF U MSG ME ND GI VE ME UR MARIO FRIEND CODE ILL GIVE U MINE THANX

ravemast117
ravemast117

Bleh... Another friend code game. I thought Nintendo was planning on just using Wii Friend Codes instead of separate game codes??

dizzyrhino
dizzyrhino

Isn't it about time this game got an official review?

jazziey
jazziey

Mario Strikers is the best game. Its fun and enterataining and will keep u playing for ages. I dont hav the Wi-Fi yet but i wnna get it. Is it eny good?

roll450
roll450

well another well done for nintendo but at the same time I just cant wait for the use of the mic and just want to get a free online experience which mean that dont want friend code just want to pick random people but. Nintendo is too concerned about kids playing it since teens and other age groups will also be playing it. My point is that Nintendo want to keep it at a E rated game during online play.

jorje_isnt_def
jorje_isnt_def

The Online for the ds and wii both suck. Which is weird coming from me because im the biggest Nintendo fanboy you'll ever meet. I want a deeper online experience. A personal online experience. I want to meet people in other states and talk to them and become friends with new people. I dont want "please wait while opponent is found" I want to find the opponent. I want more freedom and no friend codes. I want a decent online experience.

DarkHero42
DarkHero42

Can't wait to play Canada, Britan, China, Japan, and my country, America! Get ready for DarkHero42 cause the time when Mario Strikers Charged come out and when I get the hang of it you will face my wrath MUHAHAHAHA!!!

llvllaster
llvllaster

cant wait to play u americans us brits have had a fair bit of practice

Naruto2002
Naruto2002

I can't wait for this game to come out.

Moldy10
Moldy10

im not a fan of the game but its good that nintendo is making games online compatible i hope madden, metroid, and ssbb are online how awesome would that be

Zaini_the_boss
Zaini_the_boss

well I really like mario striker I am fan and and pro in playing in it.... but I really really hope that there is a pro evolution soccer or winning eleven on the Wii I really do but hey.... we have the one and only mario we must be proud of it...

Steel_Rain777
Steel_Rain777

Hopefully this is the one of first of many online Wii titles. Let's see if Nintendo doesnt make it fugly with friend-code madness

darkIink
darkIink

If it's online for free, Live can go to hell for all I'm concerned.

Basher96
Basher96

If only Wii with Xbox Live. That should be their next channel. Wii Live :)

bigmick07
bigmick07

Im not a big fan of this type of soccer game, i would much prefer a realistic version like Fifa or Pes.

WiiNut6493
WiiNut6493

Drkr_Zen your right. nintendo needs to unleash more online mario sports games. like Mario basketball, tennis,golf baseball, and FOOTBALL ACTUAL MARIO FOOTBALL! i can see it now..... bowser plows through mario and luigi.... He scores! the GOOMBAs when the game. they are going to super mushroom ball XXII!!!

Masterx1220
Masterx1220

Zero_Space "The system might be simplistic to Xbox Live, but truth be told, Im not really that fascinated with Live, other than its reliability. As for voice chat? Couldn't care less. The only friends I care to play with I can play with in person. I really don't need to hear some kid a half a world away calling me immature names. So in my book, the Wii online service sounds just fine. Adding friends is a chore, sure, but at least the Wii HAS online." U took the words right out of my mouth

zsb90
zsb90

nice. will there be a DS equivalent as well?

Drkr_Zen
Drkr_Zen

I hope they bring Mario Tennis or Baseball to the Wii.. with WiFi. Soccer's just too boring for me.. then again, Mario got me into Tennis and Golf; two sports I otherwise wouldn't be interested in.

kenesu96
kenesu96

now if only nintendo will make a game based on football! maybe super mario 2 point conversion?

legolas0630
legolas0630

could anyone explain to me what that "friends codes" are since i dunn have a ds

DarkHero42
DarkHero42

This specific Wi-Fi game for Wii should be a very good internet game. I just wonder what the feel for the contols will be like. I'm sure that Nintendo will make Mario Stikers Charged very interesting to learn (control wise and Wi-Fi wise).

xunhallowed
xunhallowed

Oh yes, watch out Microsoft and Sony, you've got competition. This completely restricted online's great! It's like your parents are controlling everything you play! Oh wait, the Wii's for 10 year olds who need the parental control. THAT'S WHY THERE'S FAMILY SETTINGS! Finally we find out!

cochad
cochad

i hope its not anything like the ds wi-fi thing where you have to get peoples friend codes to play them. that was the dumbest thing ever

Neo9898_98
Neo9898_98

"God..`. people here doesnt know ANYTHING, dude read before talking, this game was already ot in UK before Pokemon... noob... >_>" Noob? You are the noob. Pokemon was out in Japan in December or so... making it the FIRST WIFI GAME. Game, Set, and match.

marioman50
marioman50

does that mean that M-rated games will allow you to play with anyone you want to (including strangers) online? children aren't supposed to be playing M-rated games anyway, so no need for this stupid child consideration crap! I love nintendo but they're being so stupid with these precautions!

p00k1
p00k1

even if this game came out on the gamecube, it could possibly still have online play. but how many people have a gamecube modem? hell, how many people play phantasy star online for the cube?

ntnimara
ntnimara

It is the beggining.. online console gaming is great... good thing Nintendo is gettin into it with this game... I loved mariocart... and this sounds like a similar experience... Hurah for the mario craze!!! and dudes, football is the better name for soccer... cause there is foot+ball... American football is basicaly Rugby on steriods... and as far as I know, in American footaball ther hardly is much foot to ball corelation..

pikaby
pikaby

'Lies. Pokémon Battle Revolution was the first wifi enabled game.' Looks like I wasn't the only guy who thought wrong :P

OsiriasGuy
OsiriasGuy

"Lies. Pokémon Battle Revolution was the first wifi enabled game." God..`. people here doesnt know ANYTHING, dude read before talking, this game was already ot in UK before Pokemon... noob... >_>

Zero_Space
Zero_Space

"They really need to stop calling soccer "football", it's just not cool , how can anyone compare a bad A** sport like Football to this inferior game called soccer." Thats a pretty lame statement, considering the entire WORLD calls "soccer" football. The US is the odd man out.

mark_unix
mark_unix

lame!!! first game online? didn't Nintendo promise this on the gamecube? o sorry the wii is an upgraded gamecube now i get nintendo thinking completly 8)

daniel665
daniel665

Bought this game a week ago and its fantastic fun. the ai is very good and online opponnets are even more of a challenge. Great pick up and play game and the incentive to climb the leader board has been enough to make me have some late night sessions.

willripyouanew1
willripyouanew1

They really need to stop calling soccer "football", it's just not cool , how can anyone compare a bad A** sport like Football to this inferior game called soccer.

7arek
7arek

I've never been into the mario strikers series but I have to admit, I'm very excited to see this game and how two players can play online on the same console. I'm also excited to see what happens to wii's online service down the road. mario tennis online%^@#%^

Zero_Space
Zero_Space

The system might be simplistic to Xbox Live, but truth be told, Im not really that fascinated with Live, other than its reliability. As for voice chat? Couldn't care less. The only friends I care to play with I can play with in person. I really don't need to hear some kid a half a world away calling me immature names. So in my book, the Wii online service sounds just fine. Adding friends is a chore, sure, but at least the Wii HAS online.

Neo9898_98
Neo9898_98

Lies. Pokémon Battle Revolution was the first wifi enabled game.

Super-Mario-Fan
Super-Mario-Fan

I can't wait until this game comes out in the US. The first Strikers was my favorite Mario sports game on the Gamecube. I just hope Gamespot dosen't get too overcritical about the Wii's online service. After all, this is one of the first online games to be released for the system.

OsiriasGuy
OsiriasGuy

Hey Sworsdsman_stram dont be such a idiot -_- this ie the first ONLINE gam, not multiplayer game noob

willripyouanew1
willripyouanew1

U got that right XBL is # 1 , and the haters better recognise, besides Mario Strikers is a kids title,

kbaily
kbaily

Well, it's a start. I mean Nintendo's online service will probably never match Xbox Live, but you can't really complain when its free. I don't have Wi-Fi but I'll buy a LAN adapter once Smash Bros. is out.

noelveiga
noelveiga

Kca, there IS a friendlist, it's code-based, but it's a friendlist. And you can invite your friends to join you, as long as you have their friendcodes registered. Webproserv, I'm glad you enjoy your Live subscription, but this game plays really smoothly online. Adding friends is a chore, but you only have to do it once, so it's not a deal breaker. As for communication, I agree that some form of it would be nice (maybe restricted to your friendlist?) but you don't lose the feeling of playing other humans with this one. And keep in mind that only 50% or so of the 360 out there play Gold, so online isn't that important. And that's on the most online-focused console out there.

webproserv
webproserv

This is why you pay $50/year for XBOX LIVE. Enough said. When you have a FREE service like the Wii has and the PS3, you get little to no interaction with friends, communication is non existent and adding friends is a chore. I want to see Nintendo do more they certainly are capable of doing so. Sony? All is lost if they can't get there online "service" up to the standards that XBOX LIVE has set. Come one Nintendo get on the ball, Online is where it’s at and I have 6 million people to back me up.

swordsman_stram
swordsman_stram

This is there first multiplayer game?OMG i thought there first multiplayer game came out in November.

Da_Meter
Da_Meter

Undugrownd I agree because brawl is going to be like the biggest game for the Wii so if there is no voice-chat that would be f'd up. I mean pokemon d/p have it so why shouldn't the wii have it. Plus the wiimote has a mic on it so why not. It is kinda rediculous.

Undugrownd
Undugrownd

They better as hell have voice-chat for Brawl. This is getting ridiculous.

boodarni
boodarni

من که هنوز این بازی رو ندارم ولی به زودی میگیرم و تستش می کنم. I don't have this game yet. But I'll get it soon and test it. ( Sorry me if I write & speak wrong. Because I can't speak English )

johneese
johneese

Baby steps nintendo, baby steps.