I know it’s America’s national pastime, but I’m going to come right out and say it: I don’t like baseball. I played for fun when I was younger, but the game ended up being the end to my amateur athletic antics when I tore an ACL playing for a work league softball team. I’ve since had the ligament replaced (thanks to my now thinner hamstring), but baseball took me down when years of full contact football, hockey and lacrosse netted nothing worse than bruises and a broken nose. Besides, I’m Canadian, so I don’t have to toe the line. All of which helps to explain why, when a copy of Baseball Blast! from 2K Sports showed up, it didn’t exactly make it to the top of the review heap. My knee ached just looking at it. But the other day, the boys were bugging me to try it out, so we cracked it open.
Once again, I learned the valuable lesson that I shouldn’t impose my likes and dislikes on my kids. They loved this game. Normally they’re a Lego Star Wars/Rock Band/ Mario crowd, so I expected them to lose interest pretty quickly, but despite an almost zero exposure to baseball, they picked it up immediately and spent the better part of a Saturday evening at it – holding the attention of seven year old twins for several hours at a stretch is no small feat. Baseball Blast! for the Wii consists of 20 mini games, all with a baseball connection (naturally) and most of which involve hitting, catching or throwing a ball (although there was also a variation on bumper cars). None of that complicated strategy of managing a team roster or fighting to control multiple players on a field. Which is perfect for young kids and casual gaming. Even though you can pick from major league teams for your jersey, the choice appears to have no real impact on game play and the characters are very cartoon-ish, so don’t expect to be instantly recognizing anyone. Again, this isn’t meant to reproduce a real MLB event of any sort, just the atmosphere. Bob Uecker and Rob Dibble are available for play by play to add a little more authenticity. The favorite mini game so far is probably Cannonballs, where your player attempts to sink pirate ships. Yes, they’ve combined baseball and pirates (not the Pittsburgh variety, either). Baseball Blast! supports up to four players and multiplayer mode is definitely its strong point. The game is nothing earth shattering, but it’s a fun, casual title and at twenty bucks, it’s a pretty good value.
Baseball Blast! for Wii from 2k Sports
Rated E for Everyone (with Comic Mischief)
Wired: Multiplayer mode is a blast, a good assortment of mini games, kid friendly games and controls, inexpensive.
Tired: Single player mode not so fun, hitting can seem a little random.