A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this baseball game may take about two games for kids to get the hang of the touch screen controls. Generally, though, it's easy to pick up and play, and a lot of good, old-fashioned fun. While the graphics are fun, all the kids in the game look cute, and not all that realistic.
What's it about?
Why did it take so long? LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES BASEBALL 2008 is a game that will immerse kids in the excitement of organized youth baseball. Until now, kids who wanted a real-life baseball experience had to head to the big leagues with serious simulation games like MLB 08: The Show. Sure, there have been other children's baseball games, but these featured simplified baseball a la Wii Sports or Backyard Baseball 2009. But Little League World Series Baseball takes you on a journey from the sandlots all the way through the big show in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
When you fire up the DS version, you'll hear some energetic, albeit very cheesy, music. Honestly, the music gets annoying. Why not just do something classic and familiar like "Take Me Out to the Ball Game"? Yet you know it's the little leagues from those signature aluminum bats and the echoing metal crack they make when hitting the ball. You'll have 26 teams, both national and international from which to choose along with a variety of minigames created to improve your baseball abilities and just have some plain ole fun.
Is it any good?
The coolest thing about the game is that every movement from pitching to batting to base running and fielding can be performed via the touch screen. With pitching, you choose a style like curve or fastball, touch the place where you want it in the strike zone, then trace the pitch precisely on the path that appears on the touch screen. The speed at which you trace will equal the speed of the ball thrown to the catcher. With batting, which is harder than pitching to master, you'll hit the ball with a stylus movement across the strike zone. You'll also get minigames, the best of these is called Horse. If you don't hit the ball in the right direction, you get a letter. Spell out a complete word and you lose. Beyond the minigames, even the long group of games in the World Series is a delight to play.
However, this game makes all the youth players look cutesy with big round eyes. By making all the players look this way, it seems as if you are playing a cartoon with idealized kids who aren't baseball heroes. Still, they've packed a lot of hardball into this little DS game. While it would have been fun to have had WiFi play in addition to the local DS multiplayer gameplay, perhaps that feature will be in next year's game.
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