IGN Review of Little League World Series Baseball 2008
The state of sports games on DS is a bit on the pathetic side. Sure, we've got a decent Madden offering, and MLB Power Pros is a good – not great – baseball title that fits comfortably in your pocket, but for the most part there isn't much to enjoy outside of a few Japanese imports or Mario 3-on-3 Basketball, if you dig on that. Baseball specifically has been a rough sport, and Little League World Series Baseball 2008 isn't going to do much to change that. Random touch controls? Check. Budget feel? Check. Skip this one? Oh my yes. Check.
Little League Baseball comes paired with the Wii version of the same name. Published by Activision, this odd "officially licensed little league" title mixes a strange Eastern/Western art style in creating a game that isn't quite appealing, but isn't exactly ugly either. On Wii though, the visuals work much better, with modeled characters having an outer glow and hyper-polished look, despite being very simple in design. On DS, it comes off as clip art, and the game's low-frame animations plague the entire experience from top to bottom.
On the gameplay side of things, it's all about touch control. Trace lines when pitching to throw, flick with the stylus to swing, slide vertical or horizontal to run bases or throw the ball, and let auto-fielding do the rest. It's extremely simple in concept, but the touch controls feel tacked on, and anyone that thought running bases with "slide/motion" controls is crazy. Everything else touch-wise at least works, but it isn't exactly better than button control, and it's far from a fun overall design. Batting, for instance, is way too hard, and doesn't always detect when you swing.
The overall product offers a few nice features, but in the end it ends up being far too basic to really recommend to anyone outside of crazed – younger – baseball fans; and that's if you've already picked up MLB Power Pros, and still want more. Multi-cart wireless is available (local only), and if you're in it only for the one player offering you can run through Exhibition, World Series, Training, a list of Skill Challenges (including a bowling-inspired game), and a Baseball Pins system, similar to achievements. World Series is an ok – but linear – experience, and while you get a bit of team and player editing, you won't find anything as in-depth as its console counterpart. What it really boils down it is that the overall game just isn't engaging enough to warrant a longer, career-minded mode, and the World Series offering itself isn't strong enough to make up for lackluster play.
Nothing in this game is really broken; it's just not very inspired or original. We've done touch control in sports games on DS before. Some of them work better, and others worse. The real issue is just that it has no real style of its own. Visually, yes. As far as actual flow, sound design, and gameplay though, it's pretty soulless and generic. If we weren't playing it for review, we would have put this one down shortly after the turn of the first inning. Granted it's geared towards kids, but fun is fun, and this just ends up being too simple (again, outside of the annoying base-running and batting mechanics) overall.
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