Go read Part 1 if you missed it! Now, how about we resume this look at Mario Super Sluggers?
|Mustachioed plumber versus the big bad's baby.|
|Bowser: Tossing Bullet Bills as if they were mee|
You can switch back and forth between night and day simply by aiming the cursor on the sun or moon and pressing A. There’s a few advantages to this; daytime is where you go to play baseball, nighttime is where you go to play baseball-related mini-games… and perhaps earn money.
Why, yes! You can collect coins here! Oh, you don’t get an extra life if you collect 100, but you can go around and amass a little fortune in order to buy items that will enhance your team when playing. There are some shops around the maps. That’s not the only thing of interest about these shops, though; if you carry enough money, you can actually buy items that will unlock new stadiums – Luigi’s Mansion (because it was apparently taken off the ground where it was and then turned into a baseball stadium) and the Daisy Cruiser.
|We should just leave him there...|
But then again we do need his talents...
|Sheesh, gotta wonder how they do to reproduce so quickly.|
Especially if they keep on sprouting back so easily in those
little ferris wheel seats...
And all the way through, whenever you find a new hidden player, they’ll challenge you to small challenges. Because they all want to be sure that you’re good at baseball, right? But the challenges they demand are usually very, very easy. It’s almost laughable. Like, dude, why do you bother with that mini-quest?
|Could you imagine this as a Mario-based fighting game?|
|If a new baseball title was made for the Switch, you can bet|
they would add MORE babies like Baby Rosalina to that
damn roster. Like babies are what we need in this game...
Switching from day to night, the baseball fields are no longer used for that purpose, and become mini-game arenas instead. The mini-games include:
|Magikoopas: When they don't turn princesses to stone,|
they make fireworks out of Bob-Ombs.
-Breaking walls with powerful baseball throws;
-Knocking back Piranha Plants moving towards the players on treadmills;
-Catching various precious stones tossed on the field;
-Smashing barrels and Bob-Ombs with balls;
-Attacking ghosts around Luigi’s Mansion (where else?) by tossing balls at them;
-Running around the square of a baseball field while the giant Gooper Blooper has taken residence within it and is attacking the players with its tentacles;
-Running around a field with a paintbrush to try and paint more than the opponents;
-Playing a weird baseball/pinball mash-up in Bowser Castle. What is it with Bowser and pinball anyway?
Good stuff. And a nice change of pace. A pretty great addition for multiplayer, too.
|Go on, Peach. Show Bowser that you, too, can beat him!|
Wait. Peach is the one who won, not Mario.
|So Bowser actually decided to be heroic for once? Or maybe|
it's just a "Only I get to kill Mario" type of deal.
It’s expected that these characters will hardly ever go back to Baseball Island. Everyone will leave, and it’s a mystery if they’ll ever return. The artificial island will thus be left there, untouched, floating aimlessly, with no one to enjoy its activity, a white elephant that cost a fortune to make, money ultimately wasted. We all know that Mario is almost always busy saving the world or Princess Peach. I mean, we all know he's got a big odyssey coming! That's big stuff! He ain’t got time for baseball!
The plot of Mario Super Sluggers makes no sense – but let’s be honest, we’re not here for the plot. We’re here for some good ol’ pitching, batting, running and sporting. The plot is merely setup. How does the game hold up?
Well, it’s really good! I quite enjoy it. Sure, it feels pretty easy, but it features a large cast of characters and enough bonuses to get you to play for a while. Well, until your arms hurt, anyway. It helps that you can pick between three control schemes – Wii remote alone, remote with Nunchuk, and sideways remote. You can go for the simpler controls with the remote alone, or go for the complex ones that give a wider array of possibilities. With some control schemes (usually when using the Wii remote alone), the game may not always register your movements, which is a bother when batting (can’t have a delay between movement and game, when the ball is already coming towards you!). But overall, that’s not a frequent issue.
Speaking of, a big downside of the game is how so many things are done by vividly swinging or shaking the Wii remote. You swing when you’re throwing or batting, then immediately afterwards you may be shaking the Wii remote to run around the field. This will strain your arm, especially if you use the Wii remote alone.
The game doesn’t pretend to be a serious baseball title, and it shows. It keeps the fairly simplistic controls, with very little baseball strategy to it aside from batting or pitching in certain ways and counting on team members to do certain maneuvers or special catches. It’s not revolutionary or realistic, it just wants to be fun. I can’t fault them for that. If you want something closer to reality, there are other games.
The wide selection of playable character and the nine available baseball fields are nice touches. I especially like the various gimmicks, such as the Star Moves, the special throws that some characters possess, as well as the obstacles and hindrances found on most baseball fields. The whole character chemistry mechanic is a good addition, and it gets quickly important to count on the interactions between characters. You’ve got slightly better chances of winning by sticking together the characters who share chemistry.
Like I said, the “Story Mode” of sorts is nothing to write home about, just an excuse to make you play through the game, discover its mechanics and have the odd mini-match here and there. You go around, discover secrets, free everyone and collect captains and team members. It gets kind of annoying after a while that most people you free will join your team only after you’ve “proven your worth” and shown that you could be a decent baseball player. The Story Mode areas are pretty small and don’t offer much, and are done in such a way that you can’t fully beat one, go to the next, rinse and repeat. Your best bet is to gather the captains first, but some captains are in faraway areas and you need other captains to reach them, and so on. It’s like a big puzzle that you can’t complete until you’ve got the full array of abilities. Once the final match against Bowser has been won, you don’t have much of an incentive to go back, unless you want all the playable characters and special moves.
The mini-games are quite enjoyable and add a nice color, and so does the Toy Field. There are many things to do with many players, something to encourage you to try out with friends. Only downside being, back when you could play online on the Wii, this game had no online capabilities. Wanna play with friends? Gotta do that in your house.
The graphics are suitably cartoony, and the music’s okay. There’s really not much else to say about those.
All in all, a pretty fun title. If you don’t mind overworking your arm by swinging all the time, you should enjoy it. This concludes my review. You know… we’re getting closer to the blog’s fourth anniversary. Wow, I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for almost four years. What should I do this time around… I need a big game for the anniversary review.
Let’s see… Ah! Yes, this one will be perfect. Let’s stay in the realm of the Mario series, shall we? And reminisce on one of the most beloved titles of its time, one of the games that people still play or want to play. The combined powers of two developers, for a truly epic adventure… which went on to be nearly ignored afterwards by the Mario series, despite fans clamoring for it to get more recognition.
Yes indeed. Next Friday, get ready for my fourth anniversary review. I’ll be reviewing Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars!