Leave plenty of room for movement when playing this entertaining baseball game featuring good statistics, bonuses/unlockables and simple controls. Authentic Little League licenses are obviously not as recognizable as Major League Baseball, but definitely create a great experience of working up the ranks and skill development. 16 official teams (worldwide) and 10 customized teams all feature a star player in authentic settings like Volunteer and Lamade Stadiums.
The colorful graphics incorporate some nice shadowing and depth all under a global theme skewing a bit towards Asian overall. High customization options include change a character’s hair and eyes plus more practical changes like batting form. Trivia tidbits about each player such as favorite movies or favorite hobby (surprise, playing video games) coming to bat provide one of several unique enhancements. Defined ball trails help players track the action.
Sound effects take precedent over background music. The quick interjection-like voice commentary features Gary Thorne, play by play announcer for the Baltimore Orioles and ESPN, which recently broadcasted Little League playoffs.
A variety of game modes range from fast paced fun to in-depth season play – all tracked statistically with viewable unlockables (about 90 total) in the clubhouse. The skill challenge mode features six different mini game for up to four players (three batting and three pitching). All these mini games feature a special challenge level where players can break records and start unlocking objects, which accumulate in the clubhouse.
The standard home run derby, definitely the best in the bunch, requires some strategy (e.g. starting with the remote straight up vertically then swinging across works well). The zone based HORSE and batting frenzy (hit specific areas to avoid getting letters) does an excellent job of make learning batting control skills very fun. The best pitching game is bowling while gallery and darts helps build accuracy.
The World Series tournament mode lets players get right to the big show without playing through a season. The exhibition mode allows one or two players to play quick or custom games. Players may want the training mode knowledge before tackling the full games. Training takes several minutes, but can yield quicker progression and lower frustration as players take advantage of the special meter and player talents. During games, the three level talent meter at the screen bottom gives a great advantage during key moments. It can be easily activated by holding the B button then pressing A. Shaking the remote (when prompted visually) can also give key advantages.
The in-game action is a lot of fun. Connecting with the aluminum bat provides that perfect ‘ping’ sound over your Wii remote speaker. Players get a great range of actions, which are somewhat limited because they encompass only the Wii remote (no Classic Controller either).
Batting control can best be mastered by going through training then playing through three batting skill challenges, especially batting frenzy. Most players can easily succeed with the main actions like pitching and batting then advance to advancing base runners on hits and sacrifice bunts (hold A when batting).
Fielding is largely automatic when nothing is immediately pressed. Outfielders can even rob a sure home run away from a team. Directional pad icons appear to give players the choice of throwing to all the bases. The game promotes good strategy and constant progression with great supporting physics, though the fielders run a bit slow.
Players get of entertainment and physical exercise in this involving title that might be worth full price for most gamers. Hard core fans will enjoy the strong gameplay and casual gamers will appreciate the helpful icons and power-ups. This game wins with simplistic, fun gameplay.
Little League World Series Baseball 2008 is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB. This game can also be found on Nintendo DS.