(Electronic Arts) For Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 platforms. Rated Teen. Retail $49.99. **
EA Sports' new marketing campaign is predicated on the idea that "everyone plays": Novices and experts alike can share in the fun simply by adjusting the level of controls.
Though it's not a traditional EA Sports title, the arcade boxing game Facebreaker certainly doesn't abide by the company's new mantra. If this is supposed to be for everyone, why is the easiest skill level still really hard?
Facebreaker's comical fighters are reminiscent of the classic NES title Mike Tyson's Punch-Out, with their cartoonish styling and mannerisms. (Facebreaker's Latin lover character Romeo must be somehow related to Punch-Out's rose-chewing Don Flamenco. In fact, they share the same weakness pattern.)
And like Punch-Out, Facebreaker relies on precision timing and specific patterns to smack down your opponent. Can't figure out the best time to slug Voodoo? Then be prepared for a bunch of frustrating losses.
Also in stores
In Mario Super Sluggers, Nintendo has successfully found a way to take a baseball title and add a Super Mario-style adventure - solving puzzles and exploring a 3-D world - to the mix. The game is set on an island populated by baseball stadiums, and after you complete a challenge (which covertly teaches the finer points of playing Sluggers), you can add teammates in Mario's quest to build a squad to defeat the evil Bowser and drive him from the island.
With more of the great choices of control Nintendo is known for (controls can be as easy or as complex as you wish and even changed easily in the middle of a game), and bright vibrant colors and upbeat music, Sluggers is perfect for baseball fans of all ages.
For the Nintendo Wii platform; Rated Everyone. Retail $49.99. ***
Los Angeles Times