Nintendo stalwart Mario is part of video game royalty, having been a much-loved fan favorite since his Jumpman appearance in the 1981 Donkey Kong game. Since Mario’s first appearance on our screens, his popularity, and the video games he has spawned, have gone from strength to strength.
From movies to Olympic Games, Mario knows a winning recipe when he sees one, and given the global popularity of soccer, it is no surprise to see the greatest Italian ever has jumped on board with a few great soccer games of his own.
Today we’ll look at the 4 best Mario Soccer games, as well as discuss which platforms these great games are available for.
4. Mario & Sonic At The London 2012 Olympic Games
- Platforms: Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS
Unsurprisingly for a game revolving around the Olympic Games, Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games covers much more than soccer. With badminton, canoeing, volleyball, athletics, aquatics, table tennis, and even horse riding also included.
This multi-sport classic offers gamers a great deal of playability, there is a single-player storyline to follow, which is given a huge boost by the game making sure to include London landmarks within the game which adds to the Olympic feel quite well.
Ignoring the many other sports that Mario & Sonic has to offer, and focusing purely on the soccer, players can choose to take control of either Mario himself or the world’s most famous hedgehog, Sonic, and after picking the remaining players for your four-player team, you’re good to go.
The graphics are, of course, extremely cartoon-like, there are many NPCs to choose from to make up your team, all with their own unique attributes, such as acceleration, skill, stamina, and power, and the gameplay is quick and easy to grasp.
Certain characters, such as Sonic, have special skills, which add an interesting twist during games, and the whole experience has a very Megadrive feel to it that for older players will bring back memories of old-school gaming.
Obviously, Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games is not designed to rival FIFA, if it’s a hardened soccer simulation game you’re after, think again.
But as a video game to pick up and have a blast on with friends, you could do a lot worse than this fun game, younger children especially will find the simple controls and gameplay a lot of fun to mess around with.
- Multiple sports to play
- Simple to learn
- Fun to play
- Quickly loses appeal
- Graphics look dated
- Can be unresponsive
- Doesn’t focus on soccer
Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games is available on the Wii and Nintendo 3DS, released, yes, you guessed it, in time for the 2012 Olympics, you can more than likely pick this fun family game up for a bargain price given its age, and it is more than worth trying out.
3. Mario Strikers: Battle League
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Nintendo Switch players may well be in for an absolute treat of a game this summer, as Mario Strikers: Battle League is due to be released on June 10, 2022.
A highly anticipated sequel to the wonderful Mario Strikers Charged Wii game (Spoiler: see number one on our list) Battle League looks set to take everything that was good, fun, and violent, from Strikers, and super-charge it.
One of the most keenly awaited aspects of this potentially superb game is the excellent multiplayer scene it could bring. As well as up to 8 players being able to play locally, four players versus four, with two computer-controlled goalkeepers.
There is also an online “club mode” whereby up to 20 players can create their own league and go head-to-head with the game automatically updating the league table.
Given the almost 15 year gap between releases of a Mario-themed soccer game, the potential for Battle League is huge. Graphically superior, and taking all that is best from the already excellent Mario Strikers Charged, fans of both Mario, and arcade-style soccer games, could soon be pitting their teams against each other for years to come.
At the time of writing, Mario Strikers: Battle League is only being released for the Nintendo Switch, however, should the game be as popular as many hope it will be, there is every reason to suspect that other platforms will soon be able to enjoy this battle-themed soccer bonanza.
- Multiplayer looks superb
- Great graphics and Intros
- Great co-op play
- Updates a classic
- Only available on one platform
- Soccer can take second place to the off-field battles
2. Super Mario Strikers
- Platforms: GameCube
Super Mario Strikers was the last Mario game ever released on the Gamecube, and this 2005 video game is an excellent combination of both soccer, and of the classic Mario universe.
As well to being able to play soccer, players are able to push each other off the ball and throw Mario-themed items at each other (bananas and little red mushrooms anyone?) which is a great addition, especially in multiplayer games.
The game is a standard five-a-side soccer game, each player has the same goalkeeper, and once you have chosen your team captain, which will be one of the major players in the Mario universe, you then get to pick your three sidekicks and take on the opposition.
Super Mario Strikers has multiple game modes, from single-player, multiplayer, and practice mode, where you get to hone your shooting or passing skills.
Overall though, it is the great multiplayer options that make this such a fun game to play. True to the genre, there are multiple power-ups available that really spice up the game.
Being able to push an opposing player into an electric barrier, immobilizing them while your character scampers away with the ball is great fun, as is getting a bullseye with a banana to stop a player in their tracks.
Player versus player is one of the most amusing, and addictive, parts of this great game. It’s only a shame it’s only available on the GameCube.
- Excellent gameplay
- Simple to learn
- Replayability is great
- Quick games offer a lot of fun
- Superb multiplayer
- Getting very dated
- Only available on the Gamecube
- Poor single player mode
1. Mario Strikers Charged
- Platforms: Nintendo Wii, Wii U
Comfortably number one in our list is the superb Mario Strikers Charged, a Wii platform Nintendo game released in 2007, an excellent mix of soccer and warfare that can literally steal hours of your life.
A precursor to the highly anticipated Mario Strikers: Battle League, Mario Strikers Charged is a frenetic blend of soccer and battleground shenanigans that offers players both single, and multiplayer games.
Whilst the single-player mode is decent, it is yet again the multiplayer mode that makes this Nintendo classic stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Purist soccer fans may not like it, but for pure gamers, the fast-paced and graphically impressive Mario Strikers Charged offers hours of fun as you put other players to the sword.
Instead of standard soccer pitches, games are played in a more arena-like setting, which offers different yet fun ways to play soccer, as usual with a Mario-themed game, as well as trying to score goals. A huge part of the gameplay revolves around simply stopping your opponent, either through special moves or simply giving them a good thrashing.
After choosing from one of the 12 available team captains, each with their own special moves, you then select your three sidekicks and head off to play your opponent.
Only your team captain has the ability to perform a Megastrike, and once your Megastrike is charged, your captain can score anything from three to six points.
Sidekicks are not forgotten either, as their ability to perform skillshots adds a real tactical dimension to this brilliantly fun soccer game, Soccer Strikers Charged is one of the best Wii soccer games available, period, and with an upcoming sequel on the horizon, Battle League has some pretty big shoes to fill.
- Great graphic for its age
- Frenetic pace
- Simple to learn
- Hours of replayability
- Superb multiplayer mode
- Slightly dated, although still fun
- Soon to be ousted by Battle League
- The single-player story mode is poor
- Only available on the Wii
Mario Strikers Charged takes a worthy first place on our list of the best Mario soccer games, although it is up for debate how long this will remain so, with a June 2022 release date for Battle League imminent.
The overall gameplay for all four games is fast-paced, quirky, and lots of fun, although it is the multiplayer mode for these fun soccer games that makes them stand out. FIFA may have nothing to worry about, but for quick and hilariously fun soccer with friends, these games still offer a lot of value.