Super mega fun.
I grew up on some truly enjoyable baseball games: R.B.I. Baseball for the NES, Sports Talk Baseball for the Genesis, and of course Ken Griffey Jr. on the SNES. They all had that arcade feel; easy to pick up, and fun to master. Since then several have tried to recapture that magic; almost all of have failed. Baseball video games are almost a thing of the past, especially for Xbox One owners who have yet to have a (good) title on their platform.
Super Mega Baseball scratches all of those itches. Already out on PS4 (which you can check my colleague Dave’s review of here) this arcade-style baseball game is exactly what I have always wanted out of my baseball titles. It is easy to pick up and play, has enough depth to keep it interesting, and most importantly, is a ton of fun to play. For anyone who shares the same memories of the lost art of arcade baseball, this is your dream come true.
Platforms: XB1, PS4
Price I’d Pay: $19.99
Multiplayer: Local Only
Super Mega Baseball is pretty barebones when it comes to features and modes. There is an exhibition mode and a season mode, which make up the bulk of the action. Exhibition is self-explanatory, and friends can play against each other locally. Sadly, online is still not a part of this package. Season can be broken down into smaller sessions for those not wanting to invest in an abundance of games.
One of the coolest things about Super Mega Baseball is customization. Every team can be edited from the main menu, including appearance, stats, and names. It was only a matter of time before I created the roster of staff here at the site. In season mode, players can also hire coaches and trainers to improve abilities for players, of course if they don’t get the job done, they can also be fired.
The core of the game though is the batter/pitcher war, which is what baseball is really all about. The batting interface is fairly straightforward. There is a cursor to move around to guess where the pitch is coming from, and the normal swing types of contact, bunt, and power. Power is a bit unique in that it winds up a meter. Releasing the meter at the correct spot puts more power to the ball. It is much harder to nail a power swing, but when I did, great things happen.
Pitching follows the same cursor idea, with the right stick choosing the pitch type before delivery. Then aiming where the ball should land gives a better, more accurate pitch. I could also throw power pitches with the X button, again with the timing, to fool batters. It is a fun exchange, and one that is simple enough for anyone to comprehend and have fun with. It is also worth noting that everything is affected by Ego and Mojo.
So let’s break those two items down. Ego is essentially difficulty. On zero Ego, the batting is much simpler. The cursor follows the ball during the pitch, making it more about timing. Pitching makes it easier to hit the sweet spot. Finding the right Ego level is essential to enjoying the game. I tested it from zero on up, and it definitely shows. I went from dominating by 20 runs, to eking out victories in the final inning.
Mojo is player-specific. So for example when a player gets behind in the count, they get nervous, making it harder to make contact with the ball. Positive actions also boost mojo. For example striking out someone, or slamming a home run all add to their score. It is a neat system, and one that definitely makes a difference on the higher ego difficulties.
I love the visual style of Super Mega Baseball. The disproportionate characters are just fun. I also really enjoyed the created stadiums. The sound design also delivers – hearing the ump yell half-garbled nonsense on pitches, and the singular clapping of players. It is all really well done. Contact with the ball has a wallop behind it, and the small visual presentation cues are cool, if not a bit overdone. I really don’t need a title card between each batter.
Super Mega Baseball is a great throwback to the baseball games I grew up with and loved. It is the perfect couch multiplayer game with friends, I just really wish online play was part of the package. For anyone who has enjoyed the classic arcade-style baseball game in the past, the genre is finally back to its original, fantastic form. Do not hesitate to pick up Metalhead’s latest no matter which console you own.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.