The next game in our “Free-to-Play” feature week is a strange one, for many reasons. It’s a baseball game, but quite different than other ones you may have played. And second, it’s from Nintendo, which is unusual because they generally don’t dabble in this kind of game. They have this and a free-to-play version of Steel Diver for download, a submarine game on 3DS. The baseball one piqued my curiosity though, so since it was free to download, I figured, why not?
The story behind the game is pretty amusing. Rusty Slugger is a dog that used to be a big league baseball champ. But in his aging years he just runs a fledgling sporting goods store. To draw sales in from a younger crowd, he’s started to carry baseball video games made by Nontendo for the 4DS. There are a lot of jokes about Nintendo in this game! The 4DS lets you jump inside the games! Man, if that were real, I’d get a copy of Dead or Alive Volleyball and…JUST JOKING! Anyway, Rusty’s fallen on hard times, his wife has left him and he’s got ten puppies to feed. So he’s desperate to sell these games, even if he has to haggle to get a lower price!
When you first start the game, Rusty will give you one of his puppies to babysit (I picked Rustrix, but it doesn’t really matter who you pick). The puppy will act as your guide in the game. Rusty will then give you a demo of one of his games. These games are arcade-y, WarioWare-like versions of activities you do in baseball, such as hitting, pitching, and even bat making! Each game is simple, but surprisingly deep, with multiple levels of difficulty, high score leaderboards, and more! There are ten games in all, and Rusty will give you a free demo of one of the games.
But here’s the thing. To buy the full version as well as the rest of the games, you have to pay real money. Each game costs four dollars each. But, by listening to Rusty’s stories and woes, saying the right things, and even giving him donuts and other special items, you can haggle down the price. If you’re good, you can get each game for half off, and the whole game will cost about 20 plus dollars (sales tax not included). By getting high scores in the games and getting StreetPass tags, you can earn special items to use in haggling as well as vouchers for discounts on games.
The problem I had with this game is that they don’t save the lowered price when you haggle it down. So if you haggle and don’t buy the game right then, the price will go up again and you’ll have to do the haggling all over again. And if you give him any special items to haggle, do you lose them? So if you get this game and want to buy things, make sure you are confident you want to buy right then and are connected to the Internet via your 3DS so you can buy the games on the eShop.
I also hate how they play through your sympathies to get you to want to buy the games. Rusty might as well said, “Cary, if you don’t buy these games, Princess Zelda will hate your guts, Toad will be sad, and Kirby will die.” And the bad thing is the games have that level of Nintendo quality that makes you want to play them, too. I’d much rather Nintendo just have all the games that you pay for at once and not have to worry about the haggling part, even if that is part of the gameplay. The game looks like fun, but I probably won’t bite into it because I don’t want Nintendo to think it’s OK to nickel and dime their customers.
Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball is rated E for Everyone with ESRB descriptors of Comic Mischief and Mild Fantasy Violence. Reading skill is helpful for the text, and parental supervision is recommended for the in-game purchases.