Mario Strikers Charged features many soccer fundamentals such as passing, lobbing, shooting, and scoring, but other than that, this is far from being a traditional arcade soccer game. This is due to the fact that Nintendo and Next Level Games threw in a bunch of Mario-esque features into the game.
Power-ups can be used throughout matches, and you’ll see familiar favorites such as Koopa Shells, Chain Chomps, Mushrooms, and other such items. Each captain also has a unique special item. Yoshi, for example, turns into a large egg which can crush anyone in its path while Wario will let his intestinal gases loose and disorient anyone who dares pass through the flatulent cloud. These items add a fun twist to the game and fit right in with the Mario universe.
Stages also have certain features and hazards that directly affect gameplay. One stage features windy conditions that send tractors, cows, and other debris onto the field, and being struck by these objects will knock you right off the map. Another field that’s placed on a sea of lava has chunks of molten magma flying onto the stage, thus resulting in players having to play a bit strategically to avoid being hit and maneuvering around the molten rock.
One big change to the formula set by the game’s predecessor regards your captain’s sidekicks. Characters such as Mario, Diddy Kong, and Daisy can all be picked as team captains, but this time the sidekick characters all function differently. One example is Monty Mole, who is a pretty slow character but features a confusing deke move where he burrows underground for a second before coming back to the surface and knocking out anyone near the area. There are a variety of different sidekicks to choose from, with some focusing on defense, others on shooting ability, others on speed, and so on.
Charged includes cup and exhibition modes, with the game’s championship mode featuring unlockables and increasingly difficult opponents, and exhibition offering gamers a chance to practice or get some free play going alone or with friends. One of the game’s biggest draws, however, would have to be the game’s online multiplayer mode. Here you can play against friends or be matched up randomly with someone of similar skill level. The game’s online mode is definitely engrossing, and there are rarely ever any lag or connection issues, so the mode is as solid as they come for the most part.