|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Namco Bandai||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 25, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
As far as Super Sluggers' play modes go, players are given a limited offering. You can expect to find practices, exhibition games, mini-games, offline multiplayer, and a challenge mode. There are a ton of mini-games to be found throughout this game and most are at least mildly entertaining. Destroying rolling barrels as they approach from different parts of the field by batting, and hitting homeruns in the correct direction to create fireworks are just two of the highlights. There are also plenty that help to hone your skills in fielding, pitching, and base running as well.
This game is clearly at its best when playing with up to four players on the same screen. Competing against friends is entertaining, especially with all the character chemistry and attacks at your disposal. The only thing I can't figure out is why there is no online multiplayer offered. The Wii can clearly connect to the internet and Nintendo has already made several games that can be played online. This game would have greatly benefited from an online multiplayer option and perhaps some form of leaderboards to keep players coming back for more, especially once you've completed the game's short challenge mode.
The challenge mode is a bit of an oddity, having you control a variety of team captains in what boils down to a point-and-click adventure with mini-games. You start off with just Mario and need to explore several undersized environments to find coins, items, and the rest of the game's characters. The puzzles involved in this mode are incredibly simplistic and amount to nothing more than needing a specific team captain to be able to do certain things. Mario can use warp pipes, Donkey Kong can climb vines, Wario can open treasure chests, etc. The disturbing part of this mode is that apparently nobody trusts Mario anymore. Every time you find a character, you have to prove yourself by playing a mini-game before they'll join your team. Seriously, if you can't trust Mario, who can you trust? These mini-games aren't incredibly interesting, but they all help you to learn how to better play the game. Once you have at least nine characters, you can challenge Bowser Jr. and, later, Bowser himself to an actual game of baseball. Sadly, if you don't take the time to find and unlock all the game's characters, this mode can be beaten in a little less than an hour. However, fully exploring the environments and collecting everyone will take you between four to six hours.
With Mario Superstar Baseball on the Gamecube being such a great game three years ago, it is fairly disappointing to see Super Sluggers not really doing much to improve on its formula. Sure, player chemistry and attack items are good additions, but there is really nothing else. The motion controls are tacked on, all the control options are flawed, the graphics are the same if not slightly worse, there is no online multiplayer, and the challenge mode is boring and repetitive. If you are just looking for a fun baseball game, by all means pick up this title. However, if you are looking for a true successor to Mario Superstar Baseball, I guess you'll have to keep waiting.
CCC Staff Contributor