[floatleft]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/mariosuperstarbaseball/cover.jpg[/floatleft][i]Mario Superstar Baseball[/i] is the newest Mario-themed sports game to hit the GameCube. Historically, the [i]Mario Sports[/i] games have been a huge success with gamers due to their quirky and fun approach to the sport, and [i]Superstar Baseball[/i] is no exception.
[i]MSB[/i] sports a bevy of fun yet challenging modes of gameplay. Jump into a quick Exhibition game and pick your favorite characters and the park you want to play in. Challenge mode has you taking on different teams around the Kingdom. As you beat the other teams, you will recruit new members to your own team. The ultimate goal is to put together an All-Star team and defeat Bowser’s team. Toy Field is a strange multiplayer game where offensive and defensive players battle it out to see who can collect the most coins. Last and certainly not least are the mini-games. Every [i]Mario Sports[/i] title is chalked full of highly enjoyable mini-games. [i]MSB[/i] has: Bob-omb Derby, a tweaked-out homerun derby, if you will; Wall Ball, a pitching game where you collect coins based on your pitching accuracy; Chain Chomp Sprint, a mini-game that tests your base-running skills; Piranha Panic, where you earn points by hitting the Piranha Plant with an egg of a matching color; Barrel Batter, which tests your batting accuracy; and a few other unlockable games to keep you playing.
[floatright]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/mariosuperstarbaseball/ss04_thumb.jpg[/floatright]One thing to keep in mind is that the actual baseball gameplay mechanics are pretty dumbed down and will not compare with your true baseball sims from EA. Your pitching is limited to fast ball, change up, slider, and any star-powered pitch your player may possess. Batting is pretty standard with your player having full freedom in the batter’s box and sporting the bunt, swing, and power swing. Players also have star-powered swings as well. Star swings and pitches are special moves and deduct a star from the team star meter or two in the case of a non-Team Captain. Use these moves when you are behind or when you want to secure a big lead.
Fielding in [i]MSB[/i] left a little to be desired. I really never became all that comfortable with controlling any of the fielders, and more often than not it resulted in an extra base for my opponent. The Cube’s controller is also not very conducive to games of this type. I found myself fumbling over buttons trying to remember what they did. This may be more of a rookie mistake on my part, but I felt it was important enough to mention.
[floatleft]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/mariosuperstarbaseball/ss07_thumb.jpg[/floatleft]The bottom line is that [i]MSB[/i] delivers a well-engineered baseball experience that can be highly shallow for the casual player or very immersive for the veteran baseball fan. The game sports an interesting team-chemistry aspect that allows you to hand-engineer the most deadly baseball team in the land if that happens to be your thing. Not being a big fan of sports games, I found it enjoyable and didn’t find myself getting bored before the game was over.
In the end, Nintendo has themselves a decent game, and I would recommend giving this one a rent or a borrow if you are considering it. There just wasn’t enough in this one for me to give it a glowing score and suggest that you run out and buy it.