Wii Baseball Kit: A Home Run
Hyperkin Nintendo Wii Baseball Kit with Sound Plus
+ Great mechanical sound effects
+ No extra electronics or software needed
+ Made of soft foam
+ Gear for three sports available
+ Comes in three colors
- Too small and light
- Sound is sometimes inappropriate
Compared to XBox and PlayStation, I love the Wii for its simplicity and the freedom of motion that using its Wii mote provides. Being able to move around and flail your arms to control the action makes for much more realistic gaming than sitting with a controller in your hand playing a game with only your fingers.
Unfortunately, the Wii’s audio comes up short next to the full rich sound that the other consoles produce. However, Hyperkin’s Nintendo Wii Baseball Kit with Sound Plus remedies that by enhancing the console’s audio effects. The company also makes similar gear for playing tennis and golf with the Wii console.
Hyperkin’s Sound Plus effects make the sports equipment sound and feel more like the real thing, but rather than using electronic sound effects to reinforce the action, the bat mechanically adds the crack of the bat hitting a fast ball. Inside the bat is a suitably low-tech mechanism: a small ball slides down the barrel where it makes a loud pop when it hits the end. The harder you swing, the louder the sound, just like at the ballpark.
Made of soft, pliable foam, the bat weighs about a quarter of the real thing and is only about half as long. It’s available in white, blue, and pink. It also can’t do any damage and, in fact, the bat will likely end up being used in play fights between kids.
The Wii mote fits into the hard plastic handle with or without the Motion Plus module, leaving all the control buttons and lights accessible. Unfortunately, the handle is too short to accommodate how you grip the bat with two hands.
The bat works with all the popular baseball games for the Wii machine. I used MLB 2K9 and the Wii Sports disc and it really added to the realism of playing the game. I really like the sound of the bat striking the ball as I hit it. At first it’s a surprise, then it becomes second nature.
The bat reinforces the nature of the game with not only sound but vibrations as well. The sound generally comes at the right time, but sometimes you get the bat crack when it’s not called for, such as when you miss the ball, which can reinforce the shame of a strike out.
Compared to Intec’s $40 Remote Baseball Bat, the $25 retail price for the Baseball Kit with Sound Plus is a bargain that makes the game sound better and the play more like you’re at the diamond. You may not be a big league slugger, but at least you can sound like one.