It Was A Big Week For Soccer Fans Who Own A Nintendo Switch

If you’re like our dear friend and colleague David Moore, you’re still playing Wii Sports every week on your dilapidated Wii, reliving the glory days of motion-control gaming. Or maybe you’ve still got that old GameCube working so you can play Super Mario Strikers when you grow tired of the FIFA grind. 

Well, my friends, if you’re ready for the next generation of Nintendo soccer games, this week brought some stellar news: Mario Strikers and Nintendo Switch Sports were just announced for the Switch, bringing long-awaited renewals to some of our favorite games. And for the first time, you can strap a controller to your leg to play soccer in a video game. 

Soccer On Switch Console

Super Mario Strikers was a beloved five-on-five soccer game featuring Mario characters released on GameCube in 2005. The cult classic spawned a sequel on Wii (Mario Strikers Charged), but the franchise has remained dormant for 15 years. Until now. 

Mario Strikers: Battle League was unveiled during Nintendo Direct on Wednesday, bringing a much-needed update to the series. For those not familiar with the Mario Strikers, it’s basically NBA Jam meets Mario, with power ups, items and special moves. 

For reasons that are probably legal, Mario Strikers: Battle League makes it clear this isn’t soccer, but “a five-on-five sport like soccer.” That said, we know what it is, despite a name that’s closer to Rocket League than FIFA. 

Mario Strikers Release Date On Switch

  • June 10, 2022

The latest installment brings with it some modern updates, including gear that provides visual and statistical upgrades and a skill-based hyper shot. Up to eight players (sorry goalies) can play in a single match on a single Switch console or online. 

The18 is most excited about a new mode that’s basically FIFA’s Online Pro Clubs but probably more fun. We’re already planning to create a club to beat down all the 8-year-olds who think they know how to play soccer. (Just kidding, we’re going to get our asses handed to us by said 8-year-olds, but we’ll lose while doing cool adult things like drinking beer and paying taxes, so we know who the real winner will be.)

Mario Strikers isn’t the only cherished series receiving a modern take for soccer on Switch consoles. It’s been more than 15 years since Wii Sports revolutionized gaming, bringing motion controls to the mainstream and becoming the best-selling single-console game of all time with more than 82 million units sold. Sadly, despite the variety of modes, soccer was never available on Wii Sports.

Nintendo is changing that with Nintendo Switch Sports, which launches April 29. 

It’s going to take a lot of effort to not call this Wii Sports, but Switch Sports looks like it’ll be an instant hit. Favorites like tennis and bowling are back, plus three new sports: badminton (lazy tennis), volleyball (more involved tennis) and, of course, soccer.

Soccer on Switch Sports looks more like Rocket League than FIFA, but when you’re using motion controls, the visual choice makes sense. While you can run around, pass, shoot and score while holding two joy-cons with motion controls, the real allure of Switch Sports soccer will be using a leg strap that comes with the physical version of the game. 

This will be, to the best of our knowledge, the first major video game in which you can use a controller to kick a ball with your leg, though it appears there will be a required software update coming in the summer for full use of that feature. (There were some soccer games/modes with the Xbox Kinect, but those didn’t use a controller.)

Best of all, each sport will be available for online play, so everyone can test their skills against the rest of the world and finally determine once and for all who the best Wii bowler is. 

Lamps, TVs and small pets, beware. Come April 29, you will no longer be safe.

Soccer on Switch

Soccer on Switch means more broken TVs. Photo: Shutterstock.com

Most of us have moved on to bigger and sometimes better things from Nintendo, like Super Mario Odyssey — have y’all played that? It’s amazing. But some, like a lot of us at The18, still long for the days of Super Mario Strikers and Wii Sports. We can’t wait to check out these new games when they come out in a few months. If you’re lucky, maybe we’ll livestream ourselves losing to 8-year-olds in Mario Strikers this summer. 

In the meantime we’re also looking forward to other titles announced during Wednesday’s Nintendo Direct, including the horribly named Triangle Strategy, a remaster of the RPG classic Chrono Cross and 48 — four-eight! — new Mark Kart 8 tracks. Personally, I’m most excited about Earthbound, one of my all-time favorite games, coming to Nintendo Switch Online. 

Finally, we don’t have to think about how godawful the FIFA series is on the Nintendo Switch anymore. 

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