Pin It
Favorite

The Player 

by MARTY DEMAREST & r & & r & Mario Super Sluggers & r & Rated Everyone; Nintendo Wii & r & 3 Stars & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & used to think baseball was a simple game, requiring an assortment of bases, a ball and a bat. But during a match held aboard a cruise ship, I watched a do-rag-wearing monkey swing a surfboard at the ball. Then the monkey's team fired a cannonful of banana peels that sent outfielders skidding across the ship's highly polished deck, which was already tilting toward a giant squid who had hauled himself out of the ocean sometime between innings. Suddenly baseball didn't seem so simple any more.





Mario and his gang have always brought a dose of charming mischief to their sports outings. The random challenges of ricocheting turtle shells and walking bombs compensate for the less-than-subtle rules, offering novices a fair chance to defeat pros on the mayhem-modified playgrounds. When the formula works (Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, Mario Tennis), the games combine the elegance of sports with the chaos of cartoons. When it doesn't work (Mario Hoops 3-on-3), the result is a frustrating diversion in a world of better options.





Mario Super Sluggers hits a grounder somewhere in the middle, resembling -- in perhaps too many ways -- its GameCube predecessor Mario Superstar Baseball. A few lively (and living) ballparks play host to games that teeter on the verge of anarchy, thanks to super-powered swings and pitches. The characters display a selective affinity with each other, forming teams that cooperate better or worse depending on whether they're from the same Mario franchise or not.





Mario Super Sluggers adds a few invigorating touches to this mixture, most notably by incorporating player-launchable objects like bouncing fireballs. "Buddy jumps" allow characters to hop atop each other to grab balls that are headed out of the park. And God of War-style twitching settles close plays, with the offense and defense racing to press the designated buttons during tight contests between runner and ball.





Unfortunately, Super Sluggers gets muddled by the Wii's idiosyncratic controller. A single-handed swing of the Wii Remote results in either a pitch, a hit or a miss. That is, unless the Wii Remote is being held horizontally between both hands. Then the Remote-swinging is eliminated in favor of some good old-fashioned button-pushing -- unless the Nunchuk is attached, whereupon the swinging is reinstated with one hand while the other hand and its thumbstick take over for subtleties of timing. It's a trio of control schemes that creates chaos -- unfortunately not the kind on which Mario's sports games thrive.





THE GOOD: With more than 70 Mario characters (some of them just different colored versions), teams can be recruited and tweaked to accommodate any playing style. Even Miis (the Wii's personalizable playing figures) can be brought into the game, though they're given below-average statistics that can't be increased.





THE BAD: The three separate control schemes used in Mario Super Sluggers belie Nintendo's stated goal of simplifying videogame controls. Not one of them achieves a perfect match between real-world action and onscreen effects. The result is a game that offers three faulty ways to play one of the world's most sophisticated games.





THE BOTTOM LINE: A ballpark riot that pits the Mario characters against each other, but with the real contest among Super Sluggers' three different -- and differently flawed -- control schemes.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • In Their Best Interest
  • In Their Best Interest

    Why many neglected kids don't have legal representation for critical decisions that could dictate their future
    • Feb 23, 2017
  • 'Right Side of History'
  • 'Right Side of History'

    The Washington Supreme Court rules against Arlene's Flowers; plus, two dogs call it a day
    • Feb 23, 2017
  • Frozen Out
  • Frozen Out

    In the middle of a chaotic winter, the city of Spokane ousted its veteran street director, but won't give an explanation to the city council
    • Feb 23, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Patrolling While Black
  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015
  • Shake Down
  • Shake Down

    When an earthquake rocks Western WA, what will happen in the Inland Northwest?
    • Jul 22, 2015
  • Hopeless for Heroin
  • Hopeless for Heroin

    As heroin deaths continue to rise in Washington state, what can a parent do to save a child from the depths of addiction?
    • Jul 29, 2015

Comments


Comments are closed.

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
Spokane Social Sketch

Spokane Social Sketch @ Boots Bakery & Lounge

Last Sunday of every month, 2-5 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • We Have Not Yet Begun to Fight

    Why we're filling the streets to protest Trump's inhumane, dangerous policies
    • Feb 2, 2017
  • Obscene Gestures

    Spokane political party leaders hope to harness post-election passion into civil discourse. But so far, there's only been more strife
    • Feb 9, 2017
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

briefs


green zone


marijuana


Comment


do something


Readers also liked…

  • Patrolling While Black
  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015
  • Catcher on the Cracks
  • Catcher on the Cracks

    Is the alternative Dishman Hills High School saving at-risk students, or leading them to drop out?
    • Nov 25, 2015
  • Grazed and Confused
  • Grazed and Confused

    Washington regulators won a case confirming their authority over ranchers, but advocates say the state has been cowed
    • Dec 23, 2015

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation