Jeff and I ventured into San Frantastic earlier today for Nintendo’s spring media summit, where they showed off a number of upcoming first- and third-party games for the Wii and DS. We can’t talk about most of the stuff we’ve seen so far, though you can expect a deluge of hands-on stories and a bombcast chock-fulla Nintendo talk this coming Tuesday. One of the things we can discuss right now is Mario Super Sluggers for the Wii, which we got to see in action for the first time today.
The gameplay definitely appears to take a lot of its cues from the baseball minigame in Wii Sports, using the same sort of motions for batting and pitching. It will expand on those concepts as well, letting you perform special pitches by holding both the A and B buttons while you throw, though it’s safe to assume there will be plenty of other ridiculous twists on the action as well. There will also be a little fielding in the game, though it seems to involve little more than waggling the remote.
Still, Nintendo’s Bill Trinnen was very clear that this is not intended to go up against serious baseball sims, something that was made more apparent by the game’s Nintendo-mascot-heavy line-up. We got to see the Mario Fireballs go up against the Peach Royals, with characters like Wario, Donkey Kong, a Hammer Bro, and Baby Mario stepping up to the plate. Probably my favorite touch was the fact that DK didn’t bother with a bat, opting instead to just strap a big red boxing glove to one of his hands. It also seems worth noting that Namco Bandai was listed at the bottom of the press release for Mario Super Sluggers, which could mean that either we’ll finally get the Soul Calibur/Nintendo crossover we’ve all be waiting for, or that Namco Bandai has some hand in the game’s development.
Maybe it’s just because there’s so much damn baseball on TV right now, but Mario Super Sluggers looked pretty good to me, though it also looks like it won’t offer too many surprises for those already familiar with past Mario-themed sports games. Mario Super Sluggers is set for release later this year.