Mario Super Sluggers very much feels like a first-party game, despite being developed by Namco. It's got a plethora of Nintendo characters, wonderful bits of fan service and quite the bit of polish. There aren't that many flaws in the game, and the single biggest is only the lack of a label on the game's case.
Upon starting the game up, the first thing I did was jump into the practice mode. Sure, back during E3, I went through a few things here, but it's been over a month since I played the game. That's, like, a really long time. Either that, or I have really bad short-term memory. Regardless, I got my brush up course and was ready to hit the field.
The big thing to discuss in terms of controls in Mario Super Sluggers is the fact that you have options. Sure, using the Wiimote and Nunchuk is the best option, in my eyes, but for those that want the baseball experience without needing to put in all of the effort can have a reasonably fun time. But, if you want to do things like steal bases and control your outfielders, then stick with the Wiimote and Nunchuk.
Despite the depth of the controls, getting things done in Mario Super Sluggers is often easy. Fielding, pitching, hitting and even running the bases often takes less than two buttons, meaning the game is highly accessible. Yet, because of how important timing is to the sport and how it was accurately represented in the game, playing it at both a rookie and a more advanced level is possible. It's all up to the player.
So what of the timing? Well, while batting, pulling back on the Wiimote will cock your bat back and, just like in real life, swinging too soon or too early will effect where the ball goes when you connect. The same thing happens on the other side of the ball, as the pitcher can control the speed and type of pitch based on how fast or slow the player winds up and releases. For an arcade game, the title really feels like a sim in this respect. And, being a baseball fan myself, I found this to be quite enjoyable.
Outside of just playing matches, there are minigames also available. Here, you can catch free-falling gems whilst dodging shells and bob-ombs, and there's also another minigame where you have to hit balls into approaching barrels while you try to protect a barrier. They help mix things up and some are downright challenging.
Overall, the package here in Mario Super Sluggers is quite appealing. The biggest flaw I can find with the game is that it doesn't contain Wi-Fi support for online play. This makes the replay value come down a bit, because the CPU can be pretty cheap and your friends will really only want to play so much. But aside from these things, it's easily one of the best sports games on the Wii and has things both big-time sports fans and casual gamers alike will enjoy.
Final score: 8/10