Mario's extreme soccer game, Mario Strikers Charged was available for play at GDC. The game, a sequel to the Gamecube original, featured some impressive presentation values and some very fun gameplay. The graphics seem relatively unchanged from the original. The game does natively support 480p and widescreen modes, a nice plus for HDTV owners. Although not technically stunning, the game's cute, animated art style certainly goes easy on the eyes.
The game's controls are almost too simple, with passing and shooting very easy to perform. Tackling another player comes from simply shaking the nunchuck: it's a simple Wii gesture that doesn't seem too elaborate for its own good. The Wiimote comes into further play when you must defend your goal from an opponent's special shots. They will launch up to five soccer balls, and by using the pointer, you must try to aim at the screen and press A to stop as many as you can. In theory, it's a novel idea, but as is most pointer functionality on the system, it seems like an abrupt change from the rest of the game.
Mario Strikers Charged certainly doesn't innovate gaming, but it remained to be quite fun, especially in multiplayer. How it holds up to longer gameplay sessions is still to be seen, but gamers can find out when it releases later this year.