MARIO + BASEBALL = THIS. COOL STUFF RIGHT?
It’s just, well, those controls — aside from the fact that they’re initially confusing and a little odd, you have to deal with some absolutely WONKY fielding. Characters run like they’re immersed in cement, and knowing which character you’re going to control by the time the camera oh-so-slowly catches up to the ball is both impossible and very frustrating. Simple flyballs that should be easily caught are not, and four runners make it to home plate by the time you get the ball and throw it to the wrong base.
It’s this one, gaping problem that underscores the entire experience.
Namco Bandai developed the title, and it looks and sounds just like a polished first party effort. The amount of depth (a favorite phrase of mine lately) involved when one switches to a control scheme other than the Waggle Your Wiimote A LOT!!! one is impressive. You can pretty much do anything, from running specific baserunners to stealing bases while batting to fun pitches and insane hits.
Single player is as pleasant as multiplayer too, thanks to the Challenge mode, which amounts to a mode that could have been called “Story Mode!!! For Players Without Friends!” or whatever. It is exactly what you think it is — a really awful plot, characters to unlock, fields to find, blah blah blah. At least it’s there, though, and it is rather substantial.
It’s just the fielding controls that bog this nicely priced $20 effort down — you can get used to them after awhile, but you will still miss catching really obvious hits and watch the opposing team rack up upwards of 5 runs or more. It’s absolutely frustrating.