Mario Superstar Baseball (GameCube) Review

By James Temperton 11.11.2005

Review for Mario Superstar Baseball on GameCube

Our only previous experiences with baseball are as follows: being hit in the face with a baseball bat, watching it live on Channel 5 at 3am whilst drunk and confused and playing rounders when we were little. Thus we approached Mario Superstar Baseball with a great deal of caution. Thankfully, being a Mario title it has about as much depth and detail as a very clear puddle...

And that is by no means a bad thing. In simplifying down the game of baseball (and let's face it, it is a fairly complex game) Nintendo have made it accessible for all. Even people from the south of England who like cricket and crumpets can understand this game and enjoy it. Developed by Namco, it takes the shape of Mario Golf and Tennis titles with a simplistic, stripped down version of the 'real' game. Featuring a vast roster of Nintendo characters (including some of the hideously annoying ones that we can't even remember the names of) and baseball stadiums with a lovely Mushroom Kingdom theme to them, this is far from a conventional baseball game.

The game supports the standard fare of gameplay modes for this ilk of title. Exhibition Game allows you to play a quick game in a Ball Park of your choice against the computer or up to three friends. There are various novelty modes and minigames to enjoy, but the main part of the game is to be found in the Exhibition Mode and the Challenge mode. The latter of the two sees you going on a mission to eventually take to the field against a team headed by Bowser. Pointless storylines and cheesy movies ensue...

Screenshot for Mario Superstar Baseball on GameCube

You start off with a team full of Pianta's (annoying blue thing with big nose and a tree protruding from his head for no apparent reason), with every match you win you get to replace one of them with a character who doesn't make you want to run away screaming with annoyance and or fear. You also get to take part in various very entertaining and well thought out minigames that give you coins for you to spend in the local shop. The Challenge mode is based over a big map that you have to travel about on and when you have accumulated enough talent, the doors to the Bowser match will open up. Whilst it might sound a bit trivial and pointless, this is a genuinely worthwhile gameplay mode. Yes it lacks depth and substance, but it is terrific good fun and allows you to unlock characters and abilities by doing something other than playing game after game after game.

Screenshot for Mario Superstar Baseball on GameCube

Playing the game couldn't be easier. You press A to pitch or throw the ball and A to swing the bat (depending on if you are fielding or batting at the time) and that is about it. If you press and hold A you can charge up a swing or a pitch and by holding down the R button you can deploy a special swing or hit. Called either the "Star Hit" or the "Star Skills" you can use this option for devastating effect. For example, Mario can unleash a virtually unplayable fireball that scorches past the batsman (literally on fire); the same is true for batting too! Admittedly the game lacks depth, but this makes it more fast-paced, instant action arcade fun. Whilst you can steal bases and hit the ball in different ways and even put direction on your pitches, there is very little customisation in the way you play beyond that.

Graphically the game is solid enough, but rarely outstanding. All the character animation and stadiums look excellent and there is a real vibrancy and colour to the games presentation. The introduction movie at the start of the movie looks superb and whilst at times some aspects of the game lack attention to detail, we certainly can't fault how it looks. Namco have taken the classic Nintendo philosophy of fun, colour and ridiculous characters and concepts. The arenas are far from conventional and when characters start hitting the ball with boxing gloves and deranged looking meat-cleavers (that's Bowser) then you know you are in Big N territory.

Screenshot for Mario Superstar Baseball on GameCube

Suffice to say the emphasis here is on fun, and the game really comes to life when you have some friends over to enjoy it. By stripping everything down to the bare essentials in terms of rules and options, Nintendo have ensured that anyone can enjoy this game and that means one thing: party time! Indeed, this game does borrow a number of ideas from the Mario Party series, meaning that it is awesome fun with three mates and some beers/non alcoholic fizzy pop drinks. All you need to master in order to hit the ball is timing, hitting the ball at the right moment is essential, otherwise it'll whiz straight past you for a strike or straight up in the air to a fielder for an easy catch. It took us (total baseball n00bs) no more than fifteen minutes to work everything out and from then on in it is fast, furious and fabulously good fun.

Screenshot for Mario Superstar Baseball on GameCube

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Nintendo have converted us. Whilst we still don't really have a clue how real baseball works, if it is anything like Mario Superstar Baseball we are hooked! The easy to master gameplay and huge roster of characters allow for some great multiplayer fun and the game is quite expansive for the loners amongst you as well. Bright, colourful and very Nintendo, this is a worthy addition to anyone's gaming collection.

Developer

Namco

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Sport

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (2 Votes)

European release date Q4 2005   North America release date Q4 2005   Japan release date 21.07.2005   Australian release date Q4 2005   

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