Mario Superstar Baseball review


Mario's done it again. From golf to tennis and now baseball, the plumber has proved that he's a better sportsman than Deion Sanders. But Mario Superstar Baseball diverts from the pick-up-and-play style of previous athletic outings, and ups the difficulty.

The truth is you will miss the ball. A lot. As good as Mario can be at golf and tennis, he's no A-Rod, and he doesn't hit a homer easily. In fact you can forget about home runs for the moment; at first you'll be happy when you actually hear the clunk of bat against ball. The first time you hit the ball is such a momentous occasion, you'll throw your pad down and run around the room doing victory laps. Then when you get back to the TV, you'll find that Yoshi has caught the ball with his fat tongue. Thanks, friend.

But then an easy baseball game would be no fun whatsoever. So the fact that batting reaches Thwomp levels of rockness is actually a good thing. The trick is not to look at the pitcher, but at the small triangle in front of the batter. When the ball goes over that, it's time to let go of your shot. You can move forward and try to catch it early, or hang back and catch it off the end of the bat.

Then, even if it looks like a fielder is nowhere near the ball, the field can make life hard. If you're playing in Wario's stadium, the ball can land nowhere near anyone, yet the sandstorms from Shifting Sand Land can whip the ball up and chuck it back into someone's gloves. But as the field can hinder, it can just as easily help. So smash the ball into the far corner of the same stadium and you'll trot to the safety of first base while a fielder picks it up, but as soon as he grabs it, a Chain Chomp will smash into him, the ball will fly loose and if you're lucky, you could sprint around to third base. Moments like these happen on every field, but it's a shame that there are only five stadiums to play in Challenge mode.

Along the way you'll unlock loads of characters, so when you take on Bowser, you'll have big hitters like Donkey Kong, nippy fielders like Diddy and classy pitchers like Peach. Instead, of earning anything worthwhile, all your unlocked players are removed from your team and you just have to play in the same stadiums again, only this time it's even harder. Sure, you'll unlock an extra minigame every time you beat Bowser, but these are mostly crap Mario Party-style games that have nothing to do with baseball.

Still, sports games are best played with friends, and seeing as the baseball is very good, multiplayer is great fun. As with all Mario sports games, the genius lies in the little details - the way it uses the Mushroom Kingdom's idiosyncratic scenery and marries it with proper, almost sim-like sports play to create a game that's silly, but never stupid.


More Info

Release date: Aug 29 2005 - GameCube (US)
Available Platforms: GameCube
Genre: Sports
Published by: Nintendo
Developed by: Namco, Nintendo
Franchise: Mario
ESRB Rating:

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