Developers High Voltage Software partners with Nickelodeon and Major League Baseball to bring you Nicktoons MLB, a baseball simulator featuring real MLB players competing against popular cartoon characters from Nickelodeon.
The Nicktoons MLB Wii game is just what it sounds like: Nickelodeon toons participating in professional baseball. The game offers quite a large stable of selectable characters from both Nickelodeon shows and Major League Baseball teams. Since there are plenty of other games on the market that have MLB players in them, Nicktoons MLB’s greatest hook is the inclusion of Nickelodeon characters, and it does this with much gusto.
Among the selectable Nicktoon ballplayers are SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick Star, Fanboy, Chum Chum, Aang, Katara, Zim, Ren Höek, and Stimpy J. Cat. Before the start of a game, players get to select the characters and decide the positions they’ll play on the team. Various characters each have different skillsets, but it ultimately comes down to choosing your own favorite Nick cartoons. The baseball stadiums are a mix of real-life locales such as Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, and Yankee Stadium, as well as cartoon ones like the Air Temple Courtyard from Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Poseidome from SpongeBob SquarePants, and Yolkus Stadium from Jimmy Neutron.
Players expecting some wild and crazy cartoon rules will be surprised to find out that the Wii Nicktoons MLB game is more or less a faithful adaptation to real-life baseball. All the positions are filled, the innings are set, and players take turns at batting and pitching just like in real life. In fact, the Wii Nicktoons baseball game holds up surprisingly well against more serious baseball games out their. When batting, players just swing the Wii remote in regular fashion depending on the type of pitch thrown at them. When pitching, players can choose the type of pitch and determine the amount of power. There is a special “hot zone” for each player and, depending on a successful bat or pitch, could result in a Turbo Hit or Turbo Pitch, basically a souped-up version of the regular ones.
Audio is decent enough. The Nicktoons are all voiced appropriately and spout out some occasional clever lines. Also, announcers are present to give a constant update on the happenings on the ball field. Furthermore, the game has bonus features such as unlockable virtual baseball cards featuring some of the Nicktoons which is then displayed on a gallery as you collect them.
Graphics-wise, the Wii version is significantly inferior to its Xbox360 counterpart. Most of the characters and stadiums come out as blocky and stilted. Another drawback to the Wii version is the horrible motion sensing for batting. The Wii doesn’t register the direction or force of the player’s swing as accurately as one would have hoped.
The AI is subpar and easy to beat, taking away the challenge for this game. However, the most glaring mistake might have been removing the cartoony elements too much and focusing on serious baseball instead. Since most of the targeted gamers of Nicktoons MLB are probably kids who are fans of Nick cartoons, it would have been reasonable to include outrageous powerups or crazy stadium obstacles similar to Mario Super Sluggers. Unfortunately, the lack of these features makes for a baseball-focused game with Nicktoons added on almost as an afterthought, surely not one that would provide lots of entertainment value for Nick fans.
Nicktoons MLB can be played on the Wii with a standard Wii remote. It contains both single player and multiplayer modes.
Nicktoons MLB is basically a decent baseball simulator that will hold up to most standard ball games out there. Unfortunately, the main draw of having Nickelodeon toons slug it out with MLB players seems to be nothing more than eye candy. It’s nice that most of the popular Nick toons make their appearance, but other than that there’s really nothing more to do with Nicktoons MLB. The lack of more cartoony or outrageous elements and the overall serious simulation of real-life baseball make the game more suitable for adult gamers instead of younger players, who were probably the target market in the first place. With better baseball simulators out there, Nicktoons MLB doesn’t really hold any edge at all. It’s a game only a hardcore Nick or baseball fan would pick up.