Review by thesampleman
"Swung for the fences but only reached the warning track"
Mario Superstar Baseball is another in a long line of Mario based sports games. This game is an arcade style baseball game, so if you are against such games you will not like this game.
The graphics in Mario Superstar Baseball are fairly good. On the positive side is the crowd. Each member of the crowd moves in a fluid and normal looking way. They jump and cheer, etc., and move around which gives the illusion that they are cheering for you. The stadiums are designed pretty nicely, and sport generous amounts of color, and detail. The characters are also designed faithfully, and their swing animations are smooth and fluid. The effects for your star powered pitches and hits are nicely colored and animated. You can tell that the programmers put a lot of work into the animations and graphics.
Sound was an area that was lacking in this game. Each character has their own voices, but after a little while they all sound the same. Also, the voices become so repetitive that you sometimes feel as though you should mute your television. The songs are decent but also become repetitive. The biggest area of concern in my opinion was the umpire. The umpire is the most annoying sounding thing I think I have ever heard, and that is saying a lot. Speaking of annoying sounds that irritate me, the sound effect they gave Donkey Kong. He sounds really weird and certainly does not sound like a giant ape or whatever he is. All in all this was my second most disappointing area in the game.
The controls in this game are another sore spot for me. Batting and pitching are easy to use and learn. However, the area that annoys me is the fielding and base running. The automatic changing of characters in the outfield has led to too many errors and miscues for my liking. Also base running is frequently frustrating. The characters have the annoying tendency to run when I do not tell them to, or continue running when I want them to stop and turn around. This is the most irritating part of the game and could possibly render some people virtually angry to the point of turning the game off or worse!
The game has a few different modes. There is a story mode where you lead Mario and assorted friends into a challenge against Bowser. This mode however gets very old very fast, but is the main area where you can unlock special items and characters. Then there is a place called Toy Field where you can play a baseball like game with certain pitch lengths to score the most points. There are also mini games and other assorted goodies that will keep you hooked for a little while. However, this game will only hold you over for so long. Eventually the challenges become stale and the mini games boring. Beating the story mode is a breeze and should only challenge novice gamers.
There really is very little story in story mode. Bowser challenges you to a game of baseball, but first you have to defeat the other rival teams on a game board type thing. Then and only then can you face off against the man himself. The story here is not that good and could have been done without. In fact it seems a trifle forced, and you'll start laughing at it as soon as you see the beginning screen of story mode or the opening cinema.
This game is really worthy of a rental. If you're in the mood for a decent arcade style baseball game, then look no further. This game though is not foe everyone, and especially not for those that are impatient. This game really is a love/hate relationship. You'll love it one minute and be screaming at it the next minute.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 11/09/06
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