Back to the Diamond
The time has come to return to the baseball diamond and battle it out as characters such as Mario, Donkey Kong, Peach, and Luigi try to stop Bowser Jr. and Bowserís evil reign of terror on Baseball Island, a beautiful paradise Peach created for she and all friends to play baseball on. As time passes, Bowser Jr. gradually takes control of all the islandís baseball stadiums, ranging from the basic Mario Stadium to the fun-filled Yoshi Park. When Mario discovers what has happened, he and Luigi set out to visit and restore peace to all of the islandís baseball stadiums, as well as construct a superb baseball team so he can take down Bowser Jr.ís team. Letís play baseball!
Like Mario Superstar Baseball, or any Mario sports game for that matter, Mario Super Sluggers trades realism for a more fictional experience. The moment you start playing Sluggers, you are greeted by a very well executed CG that explains how things unfold. In a nutshell, the CG shows Mario and crew aboard a small vessel, gazing at the beautiful creation known as Baseball Island. Upon arrival, Peach and Toad greet them and show them to a lighthouse where they get a better view of the island. Following this are some highlights of the crew at the island, such as their trip to Peach Ice Garden, one of the many stadiums. Unquestionably, the opening CG is one of the best on Wii.
Overview of the Diamond
Sluggers boasts ten baseball stadiums. From an overview perspective of the island, one can tell that this isnít your typical island. From the heights of DK Jungle to the slippery surface of Peach Ice Garden, there is plenty to do. For instance, if you want to play a quick game of baseball all you have to do is select the Exhibition from the main menu, hop onto the diamond and go right at it.
Perhaps the gameís main mode, or should I say tutorial, is Ďchallengeí Ė a story-driven mode in which Mario must traverse Baseball Island recruiting characters for his baseball team. The story starts out near Mario Stadium where Mario helps save Baby Luigi and restores peace to the beach. Once he gets to the bottom of what happened he sets out to stop Bowser Jr.ís evil rampage of consuming stadiums. With stadiums in sight, Mario and crew set out to recruit more characters to help them.
Help Me! Oh Wait, Clear This Mission First...
Despite Sluggers being a baseball-themed game, the game also focuses on exploration to a certain degree. Each of the areas in challenge mode has its own unique theme and conflicts that must be overcome to progress and recruit characters. In order to solve these puzzles, a player has to utilize a team captainís special ability. DK for instance can smash barrels whereas Yoshi can ground-pound items. In Peach Ice Garden, a completing the main objective of fixing the broken fountain is easy, but in order to fully complete everything, Yoshi must be present; ground-pound a manhole and you can explore the remainder of the stage. This aspect of the game may seem to be a nice addition, but after scratching its surface, you will quickly discover that it only takes away from the game.
The main point of Challenge Mode is to recruit characters in order to build the perfect team, as previously mentioned. What I didnít mention, however, was how you actually have to recruit them. For starters, characters are hidden everywhere; in crates, trees, sand Ė you name it. When you finally find one, you will need to complete a scout mission. Some of these missions are rather outlandish, such as get a hit. Honestly, these missions make this mode more of a tutorial rather than a festive and enjoyable quest. On top of this you have rather slow loading times and the hideous voice of Lakitu. When you hear Lakitu, you will probably wonder what they did to the poor guy. Compared to the originalís, this Challenge Mode is severely lacking.
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