E3 2008: Mario Super Sluggers Hands-On

We step up to the plate and take a swing with Mario Super Sluggers.

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Just as Mario Strikers Charged Nintendo-fied the sport of soccer last year, Mario Super Sluggers is this year aiming to add a Mario twist to the grand old game of baseball. We managed to grab a quick bit of play time with the upcoming game at E3 2008, and it's looking set to deliver the same type of arcade fun as its soccer stablemate.

Just like Strikers, Sluggers takes the basic concepts of its sports and adds plenty of Nintendo characters, over-the-top special moves, and wacky arenas to the mix. It plays a little more casual-friendly than Strikers--the entirety of Sluggers can be played using the Wii Remote alone in a way that's reminiscent of the baseball minigame in Wii Sports. While there is the option to play using a Wii Remote and a Nunchuck, we stuck solely to the remote-only option during our play test.

Our demo level took place on a Princess Peach-inspired stadium, which was filled with various icy environmental hazards (such as slow-moving icebergs in the outfield that would freeze a fielder if he made contact with). Playing against the computer, our first task was to pick a team captain, followed by picking a lineup from a range of Nintendo characters. You can also choose to play with any Miis on your system, so with Yoshi as the captain and the Miyamoto Mii in the side, we took to the diamond.

Batting is as easy as swinging your arms with the Wii Remote as you would a real baseball bat. While waiting for the pitch, you can also lightly wave the remote (once again, like a real bat) to add a bit more power for when you eventually try to strike the ball. Timing was key here, as only well-timed connecting swings had any chance of making it to the outfield. Running to base requires you to quickly waggle your remote left and right. When fielding, fielders seem to automatically run towards high balls and grounders, with a quick waggle of the Remote making them throw the ball to a base. Pitching is probably the most fun--just like in baseball in Wii Sports, you need to wind up and throw like you were pretending to chuck a ball. Pressing A or B while pitching adds throw modifiers such as curves and pace, while pressing A and B at the same time will make the pitcher throw a special ball. In our team's case, pitcher Yoshi's special pitch showed a rainbow appearing between him and the strike zone, making it harder for the batters to see when they had to make their swing.

Mario Super Sluggers swings into stores on August 25, 2008.

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