Sometimes you need to keep your expectations at a certain level when it comes to playing and reviewing games. Certain games are released that everyone jumps on the bandwagon to offer unlimited praise regardless of their imperfections or striking similarities to other games. Then other games are released that still offer a fun gaming experience yet reviewers and hardcore gamers still pan them. It seems we’re at this point with many Wii games coming out since they don’t have the hardcore appeal that many reviewers and gamers want nowadays. Mario Super Sluggers is going to be one of those games that won’t have the hardcore buzz to make it a sure fire must have game. However the game is still a fun experience that should keep families and friends playing for hours.
Mario Super Sluggers (MSS) is an arcade-style game similar to the previous entries in the Mario sports series. Gamers looking for a deep simulation-influenced baseball game should keep on looking. Gamers looking for a revolutionary, over-the-top baseball game that is brimming with tons of innovative and unique idea need to keep on looking as well. But if want a baseball title to sit back and play with your friends that is still loads of fun then MSS should fit the bill nicely. Remember not every game has to be a blockbuster for you to still have fun.
During your explorations of the stadiums you will discover different characters; some can be teammates while others play for Bowser’s team. Usually these characters will challenge you to beat them in a competition on the baseball field. The challenges are usually composed of performing a certain number of hits or moves on the baseball field within a certain number of pitches. For example, you have 10 pitches to hit the ball to the right field at least three times. Or you have ten pitches to tag a base runner out with a grounder in the infield at least three times. Many of the challenges are repeated over again regardless of the characters you run across in the game. These challenges also play a key part in clearing a stadium since the boss encounters are played out the same way. The progression of the challenge mode is fairly linear with only a few stadiums unlocked at first and segments of each stadium are locked until you unlock additional characters.
There are five modes in MSS: Exhibition, Challenge, Mini Games, Toy Field and Training. Exhibition is your typical free mode that allows you to get in a quick game with no consequences while Training lets you get use to different parts of the game. Challenge mode is the main part of the game but it definitely isn’t the typical baseball mode you might be expecting. Instead Challenge can be considered 40 percent Mario RPG with 60 percent baseball thrown in the mix. Mario and his crew arrive on a baseball-themed island that soon is overtaken by Bowser and his minions. You have to explore all of the baseball stadiums to recruit new teammates for your team while collecting coins and other items to use in the game.
Each stadium is usually segmented into a few small areas that you can explore. Certain items you can pick up right away while other items are locked to certain Team Captains. You’ll need to switch among various Captains in the game several times to unlock all of the items in the game. This will require backtracking to earlier parks you’ve already cleared. Each stadium will usually contain an item store that allows you purchase new items to improve the skills of your players. Even with the small amount of exploration and item hunting the rest of Challenge mode really does center on baseball.Also sadly there is no Wifi.
The mini games could have been a small diversion from the rest of the game instead the mini games are parts of the regular game. Some of the mini games are connected to the baseball theme of MSS while others will probably remind you of mini games found in other Wii titles. Honestly the mini games don’t really offer anything new or different than what we’ve seen and played in other games by now on the Wii. You’ll still have fun playing with your friends but it would have been nice if there were more mini games included that weren’t part of the main game.
The controls of the game can be customized or simplified to your liking depending on three control types. The first is using the Wii Remote by itself. Swinging the bat is done by swinging the Wii Remote similar to a real baseball bat. A quick swing performs a normal swing while holding the Wii Remote back will perform a charge swing. Pitching is done by holding the Wii Remote facing up and then swiping downwards. These motions are very similar to what you’ve probably done before playing Wii Sports. The majority of the other plays in the game such as fielding and running are controlled automatically by computer with you only having to shake the Wii Remote.
Jump Actions let you jump at a nearby ball to catch it by pressing the A button. You can even perform buddy actions such as a buddy jump or buddy toss. When two players are near each other that share the same chemistry (such as Mario and Luigi) they can execute these moves. The buddy jump lets you jump on top of the other player for a bigger jump to catch a possible homerun. The buddy toss lets you toss a ball to your buddy who will then throw it very quickly to the infield for a possible out on the base runner. Attacking is another fielding move that lets you attack a ball that is nearby or items that are nearby. Yes, the items used in the Toy Field mode can be used in the regular game to take out fielders chasing after the ball. But if you attack the item (called Error Items) coming after you they won’t harm you or you can dodge them completely.
There are two more control setups that you can use in MSS. The second is the Nunchuk mode that gives you more control over your base runners than just using the Wii Remote. You can control when to steal a base, which base runner should try to move to and some additional choices. The last control option is the Wii Remote Sideways which replicates playing the game using a normal controller. Almost everything is reduced to using the directional control pad and the 1 and 2 buttons. The A button is used only during fielding to switch characters. Really the controls are not a barrier to playing MSS since you have everything from the motion controls to a regular controller setup.
Mario Super Slugger really is a game that will probably find more people playing the Exhibition mode simply because that is the true baseball portion of the game. The Mario theme of the game, special Star hits/pitches and Error Items do make for a fun filled baseball experience. The simplified controls should allow for almost anyone young or old to get into the game as well. Yet the main part of the game, the challenge mode, does feel rather flat simply because it feels like an overblown training. You get 10 pitches to win a challenge and even if you lose you can keep trying until you win. There simply aren’t enough mini games to keep people playing them repeatedly. So in the end we’re left with a Mario Baseball that is still fun to play yet only in certain parts of the game. Don’t let that spoil your chance to still play a fun game that will keep your friends and family dusting off their uniforms with Mario Super Slugger.
Review Scoring Details for Mario Super Slugger
Nothing too hard or complicated to get you playing the game. Just like Wii Sports Baseball the motion controls are easy enough to get use almost immediately. The Nunchuk option gives you a little more precise controls while the Sideways options lets the old school gamers play like they’re used to.
This is another visually appealing Wii game with bright and colorful graphics that look really good. All of the stadiums are uniquely designed and themed based upon certain characters. The Star Power hits and pitches give the game a noticeable kick in the pants at times to really turn on the wow factor. The presentation of the overall baseball game is done really well with nice replays and close ups of the action.
Most of the music in the game are remixes of the classic Mario themes you’ve heard before yet the main themes usually disappear after a few seconds. All of the voice acting and sound effects are the classic Mario style we’re use to by now.
What MSS breaks down to is a simplified RPG game with some limited baseball stuff thrown into the mix. The actual baseball portion of the game plays really well but unfortunately you have to wade through more filler than necessary to get to the actual game.
Sadly no WiFi multiplayer, only local multiplayer with up to four players.
Mario Super Slugger might not hit a home run out of the park but it still offers a fun-filled gaming experience that I’m sure many Wii owners will check out. If the Challenge Mode offered some additional options then I know the game could have scored higher. Yet if you’re looking for a game to play with your friends Mario Super Slugger should still be on your list.
Review created by: Aceinet at GameZone