Mario Strikers Battle League adds Diddy Kong and Pauline as playable characters

Mario Strikers Battle League has a meaty and free new update that adds Diddy Kong and Pauline as playable characters, a new stadium, a new gear set, a new ranking system, and a bunch of fairly significant balancing tweaks.

At launch, Mario Strikers saw mixed reviews, and the majority of complaints seemed to revolve around its relative lack of content - our own 2.5/5-star review called it an "undercooked" and "slightly thin experience," while noting its robust mechanics and fun animations.

Today's Mario Strikers Battle League update is the second to add a bunch of new stuff. The headliners are obviously the quick and nimble Diddy Kong and the surprisingly powerful Pauline. The character made her debut way back in 1981's Donkey Kong as Mario's love interest before Peach, and she much more recently made a comeback in Super Mario Odyssey, where she served as the mayor of the game's uncontested best level, New Donk City. 

It's not that she doesn't seem like a strong person, but I'm a bit surprised to see Pauline's strength stat seems to be even higher than Bowser's and Donkey Kong's - and she's pretty darn quick too! I'll be eager to see if Nintendo nerfs Pauline in the future or just lets her dominate the field like the boss she apparently is.

Elsewhere in the update, there's the new Planetoid stadium and Barrel gear set, both of which you can see in the trailer up top. Then there's also a new "Striker Ranking," which gives you a score based on your performance in matches over a fixed period of time.

Finally, there are some balancing updates you should know about before your next match. Namely, CPU teammates should be able to mark opponents more quickly, while the charge time of perfect free passes and lob passes has been "adjusted." Curiously, Nintendo says the online matchmaking system has also been updated, but doesn't specify exactly how. Check out the full patch notes for all of the changes.

Another new Mario Strikers Battle League update is due out this year.

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Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.