Backyard Sports: Sandlot Sluggers
“Get Your Gang Together for a Game of Backyard Style Baseball”
What It Is
Parents and adults with young sports-gamers in their homes are probably familiar with the Backyard Sports line of DS and Wii games. Backyard Sports is one of the best selling kids’ sports video game series that features popular sports games, such as baseball, for kids. These games have increasingly added new features, power-ups and objectives that turned the series into a game on par with sports franchise games for adults. Recent Backyard Sports baseball games have played up the MLB license with popular major league players from today as well as past heroes of the sport. Unfortunately, the games were starting too look too much like teen and adult baseball games and the Backyard Series looked like it was headed for a 7th inning yawn. So Atari took a page from Hollywood’s play book and treated the series to a reboot with a totally new Backyard Sports game, Sandlot Sluggers!
Backyard Sports: Sandlot Sluggers, takes the baseball game back to the basics that made the earliest versions of the game so much fun by returning the ball game to the back yard. Players join a diverse group of kids and play ball in one of eight interactive fields, each of which is themed to match one of the game characters.
Sandlot Sluggers is a baseball video game that utilizes the Wii-Remote. Pitchers use the Wii-Remote to throw the ball across the plate with the ability to throw a Fast, Curve or Screw Ball simply by pressing the “A” or “B” buttons. It’s up to the batter to swing the Wii-Remote at the right moment to connect with the ball—just like the real sport of baseball. Once a player is on a base, both players use the “+” on the Wii-Remote to steal or stop a player from stealing a base. The whole control system is highly intuitive and makes this a fun game that anyone can quickly pick up and play.
Why It’s Fun
Sandlot Sluggers is a fresh and exciting game. In addition to the fun of playing a game of baseball with friends, Sandlot Sluggers is packed with humor that will keep everyone in the room laughing and the game-play constantly entertaining. For starters, the games’ announcers are two old men who sit on the side and call the games. These two wise-crackers keep the game going with plenty of jokes and taunts that are very reminiscent of Waldorf and Statler from The Muppets. Additionally the power-ups that become available to both pitcher and batter add a whole other level of fun to the game. A power-ups main purpose is to give players enhanced abilities such as the Fire Bat, which super-heats the ball, making it too hot to handle for the players in the field. The Sandlot Sluggers provide those abilities but throw in some comical twists including the Pitchers’ Booger Ball that covers the batter and TV with green slime making it hard to see the ball.
Who’s Going To Love It
The game can be played by up to four people and each player can adjust his or her own difficulty level. This difficulty feature enables people of all ages and gaming experience to play together in a balanced game suited to each person’s individual skill. With this custom difficulty setting, kids as young as four can play against older siblings and adults without anyone getting frustrated by the other’s gaming skills.
The in-game characters, settings and content are designed with kids in mind and is both appropriate and entertaining for all ages. Even adults will enjoy the game’s humor.
What To Be Aware Of
In addition to a game of baseball, Sandlot Sluggers includes mini games and multiplayer tournaments, plus several different game modes including Season mode, Family mode, Story mode and quick play.
In addition to the Wii version, there are also versions available for the DS and Xbox 360. These two versions are virtually the same game but without the motion-sensing abilities of the Wii-Remote. There is also a downloadable Windows PC version of the game that gives players 15 minutes of game play for free.
3 out of 5
It has to be fun or it wouldn’t be on Time to Play. But some games are more fun than others so here’s our scale: 1 is fun, 2 is a lot of fun, 3 is great, 4 is awesome and 5 is out-of-this-world!
Video Game Information
Backyard Sports: Sandlot Sluggers
Players: 1 - 4
Available: Now, at most major retail, toy, gaming specialty shops and many online e-commerce sites.
Launch Date: May 25, 2010
Date of Review: June 2010