E3 2008: Mario Super Sluggers

E3 Disclaimer: Kombo’s E3 previews are designed to inform you of what each game at E3 plays like, and what we think of what’s shown. These previews are not reviews, and we reserve final judgment of each game until it is finished and released. These previews offer an honest opinion of what a publisher chose to demo at E3. So, without further ado, read on.

What the Game’s About
Building on Mario Superstar Baseball for the Nintendo GameCube, Mario Super Sluggers sends the Mushroom Kingdom crew back to the baseball diamond for another round of ball-batting fun. Of course, being a Wii title means that the game sports motion controls. Players can use just the Wii remote or attach the nunchuk for a little extra finesse. All of the Super Mario characters you would expect to see in the game appear, all the way from Mario and Yoshi down to Goombas and Piantas. Every significant character has a home field filled with gimmicks (fire traps, etc.) and a specialized power move for both pitching and batting. The idea is to build up a solid team and advance through the various baseball tournaments.

What’s Hot
Mario Super Sluggers looks a lot like its predecessor. It’s crisp, colorful, and bright. Only two players can play the conventional multiplayer baseball mode, but up to four players can dive into the mini-games and the returning-yet-rejiggered Toy Field.

What’s Not
Unfortunately, the Nintendo representatives were reluctant to give up the controls, so I can’t say anything about the actual control experience. However, it’s been my experience that when a representative is hesitant to hand over the controller, there is something wrong (or, at least, not quite right) about the game. The representative showed off both pitching and batting, but it took some work for him to finally knock a pitch out of the park. The game only has about a month left to cook before it hits North America. Here’s hoping the developers can fix any lingering control issues before then.

I’m cautiously optimistic about Mario Super Sluggers. I enjoyed the previous Mario baseball title, so it’s possible that this new edition could be just as fun. Everything is riding on the controls here. If done right, this could be one of those games that bridges the gap between the core crowd and the casual gamer audience.