I Hereby Beg Nintendo for a Mario Strikers Wii U Title
I think it’s safe to say that Nintendo kicked ass in 2014. We gave them Publisher of the Year, Moment of the Year (for the Luigi Death Stare), and a few other nods in our end of the year gaming awards. Personally, I love the company to death, as evidenced by my propensity for buying anything they throw at me. This year promises a slew of new titles from the gaming giant, including Zelda, Starfox, and Splatoon. The Mario spinoffs will run rampant with Mario Party 10, Mario Maker, and Yoshi’s Woolly World. But one under-appreciated series has been dormant since the times of the Wii: Mario Strikers.
Super Mario Strikers, developed by Next Level Games for the Gamecube, released in 2005 to generally positive reviews. Simply put, this was soccer with a huge injection of Mario and just a smidgen of hockey’s brutality. Players could choose from a handful of Mario icons as playable characters for each 5v5 match. Glorious special abilities, devastating body checks, insane chip shots and rainbow kicks, and a bit of strategy combined into a fantastic and genuinely fun game, especially when played with two or more people.
Fast forward to 2007. Mario Strikers Charged released for the Wii. How do you make a Mario sports spinoff sequel better than the original? Add more characters, give them even more unique abilities, and add a bevy of new arenas, each with their own environmental effects. Mario Strikers Charged iterated exquisitely on the original in almost every way. The playable captain roster expanded (including standbys like Mario and Yoshi as well as Diddy Kong, Waluigi, and other peripheral but awesome characters), and there were more sidekicks to choose from (Monty Mole, Dry Bones, Boo, Shy Guy, and others), each with an awesome special move. I would argue that this installment had much more gameplay depth, allowing skill and tactful play to triumph over luck and button-mashing. Of course, the game included systems that allowed for massive comebacks, like 6-point megastrikes. It’s really one of the best Wii titles I played, and I still pop it in once in a while for nostalgia’s sake.
But that’s my problem exactly. I don’t want the Mario Strikers series to be buried under nostalgia. Nintendo has since proven that it can adapt to consumer wants and needs with pristinely polished and consistent content. Their plan to win back the gamer after the Wii U’s first year is well underway, but it doesn’t seem to include a new Strikers game.
So now, I must beg Nintendo to revisit the franchise for the Wii U. Next Level Games worked on Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, so I have to assume that the relationship is alive and well. Now that seven years have passed, Mario’s universe has grown a ton–Rosalina and the Koopalings are probably dying to don their shin guards and take the field. Oh, and did I mention Amiibo support? It’d be amazing to pop Mario on the gamepad and unlock a new special shot. Nintendo’s proficiency with local multiplayer (seen in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Mario Kart) would no doubt return in full form and reinforce the company’s stance as one that exists to entertain its customers with a new Strikers game. Hell, why not release one on the 3DS as well? I’d love to slide tackle a few Hammer Bros. on the train once in a while. I’ll look forward to the announcement trailer at E3.