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Wiffle Ball DS Package Art
GENRE
Sports
DEVELOPER
DSI Publishing
PUBLISHER
DSI Publishing
LOCAL WIRELESS
MULTI-PLAY
Yes
Wi-Fi/GLOBAL ONLINE
MULTI-PLAY
No
MICROPHONE
No
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Wiffle Ball DS

Wiffle ball has been around for more than 50 years as one of Americaís favorite backyard pastimes, and now it can be played on-the-go. Fortunately for real Wiffle ball, the video game versionís shallow-game design, lazy graphics and weak implementation of DS features will send children racing back outside to play the real thing.

visuals

Everything in this game is composed of pre-rendered sprites made to look 3D a la Donkey Kong Country style for the SNES. While this sounds nice in theory, the four frames of animation used for each character at bat only makes you remember how much better of a job Rare did with pre-rendered graphics when making Donkey Kong Country over 12 years ago.

During gameplay, both screens show different views of the playing field. The top screen is a zoomed out, slightly overhead angle showing the full playfield as well as the one-man outfielder. The bottom screen is set just behind the batter. The bizarre design choice in the use of the two screens is where the lazy graphics becomes evident.

The two screens reveal that this particular game of Wiffle Ball is being played out in two separate dimensions. Somehow, a rift in the space-time continuum allows the top screen to show the pitcher and the outfielder, but does not show the batter. The bottom screen displays the batter and the pitcher, but not the outfielder. When you swing the bat in the lower screen and hit the ball, the upper screen will only reveal the reaction of the ball, magically stopping and reversing direction, presumably in the spot where you should be seeing your batter.

Meanwhile, the upper screen will show the outfielder and the pitcher moving and reacting in order to catch the ball in play. However, the bottom screen will only show the pitcher standing perfectly still, while in the other dimension (known as the upper screen) this same pitcher is running around trying to catch the ball.

To the game's credit, the four different field locations are well-detailed and colorful; and oddly enough, the pitching animations sync up on both screens.

audio

The soundtrack boasts a whopping two songs: one song for menu screens and the other for gameplay. The track used during gameplay is fitting for the gameplay and actually kind of relaxing -- a minor redeeming point for this game.

The designers at least put in a little effort into the sound effects, which are befitting of the various locals in the game. You will hear lawnmowers rumbling while in a back yard, cars honking and passing by as youíre playing on the street and birds chirping during a game in the sandlot. The sounds of the Wiffle bat connecting with a Wiffle ball also come across as natural and suitable to the game.

gameplay

All Wiffle Ball games are made up of 7 innings with only 2 outs per round. No base running is involved in Wiffle Ball. When batting, a cone-shaped boundary signifies whether your hit landed you a single, double, triple or a home run. The player with the most points at the end of 7 innings wins.

While at bat, you can either swing with the press of a button or swipe your stylus up the screen. It can be a chore to line up a good swing as only the top screen reveals a shadow under the ball, making it easier to judge the distance from the player. However, as mentioned above, you canít see your batter in the top screen and have to approximate where you think heís standing. Since the bottom screen shows all the action, the best option is to imagine just how big the ball should be when it is striking distance and then flail away.

Pitching gives you the ability to choose the speed and type of pitch you want to throw using either the touch screen or various button combinations. Once a ball is hit into play, you take control of the nameless, aqua-blue hat-wearing, red-shirted outfielder kid that plays on every team. Using the dpad you direct your nameless, fielding avatar towards the ball in order to catch it.

Wiffle Ball DS offers three game modes to choose from: Quick-Play, Season Mode and Multiplayer. Unfortunately, no matter what mode you play, in just a single inning of this game you will have experienced the full variety this game has to offer.

Quick-Play is just as it sounds, pick from one of the eight characters, choose a location and play a single game. Your choice of characters are ranked in three different stats: Fielding, Hitting and Pitching. The funny part is, right from the outset of the game one of the characters already has every stat maxed out. Since you donít build stats as you play, you have no real reason to choose any of the generic characters over the most powerful character.

Season Mode allows you to choose a character, and then pits you against the other seven characters in a simple 7-game tournament. After grueling through and winning the entire tournament, you are rewarded with a screen saying "You Win Wiffle Ball." Nothing unlocked, no new modes or characters -- just nothing. You donít even get a credit roll, as that is available to view at any time from the Options menu.

multiplayer

A limited multiplayer mode allows two players to battle it out, each with their own copy of the game. Good luck finding another person with this game.

overall

Wiffle Ball DS feels as if it spawned in the minds of the marketing department, rather than a game designer setting out to create a quality game. It's unfinished, lacks any depth and is as forgettable of an experience as any webpage banner ad game.

final score 3/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Ryan Heath
Staff Profile | Email
"Be sure to drink your Ovaltine."


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