Super Mega Baseball Review (PS4)
If you’re an older sports gamer, than you probably have fond memories of past baseball games such as Ken Griffey Jr.’s Winning Run, R.B.I Baseball (Classic version) and Baseball Stars. What do all of these games have in common? Well, that would be a simple, engaging, and fun approach to America’s past time. While games like this are a rarity these days, the ambitious developer, Metalhead, aims to bring a small piece of that era back, with Super Mega Baseball. Did they succeed?
As with any sports game the gameplay is incredibly important, even for the an arcade game such as Super Mega Baseball (SMB). If you’re wondering if the gameplay will make you feel the need to blow in the cartridge to make it work again, the answer is yes. In almost every way possible, Super Mega Baseball draws an inspiration from all of the titles mentioned before, and more. The gameplay offers a simple approach, but yet has a certain depth to the strategy required to be successful on the harder levels.
The hitting interface is once again, you guessed it, simple in its approach. It offers the basic hit X, Square, or O for normal, power, or bunt. If one is inclined to use the analog stick for the same purposes, Metalhead has you covered. Although the approach is simplistic in nature, it does require the user to have a keen eye, and understand the strike zone. If you try and pull an outside pitch, chances are you’re going to hit a weak ground ball to short or third, or throw a lazy popup in the air to the infield. Although an arcade game by nature, the physics that SMB brings to the table is a baseball simulation at its core, and requires a sim style approach to match, unless of course you’re playing on the lower difficulties.
As much as we loved the hitting in this game, the pitching interface is one of the finest we have ever been privy to using. If you have ever played the Ken Griffey or Power Pro series, then you will feel right at home. Once you select your pitch, you are then required to place a location reticule in your desired location. After you have done that, a sort of gravitational icon appears and it is incumbent upon you to place that icon as close to the center of your location reticule to achieve full pitch effectiveness. While it may sound a little over the top, trust us when we say it is outstanding, and we hope other baseball titles will make this an option moving forward.
The fielding in SMB is similar to the pitching in the fact that once the ball is place, your player will gravitate towards the general direction of where the ball will be landing. Think of it as semi-assisted fielding, but it does give the user the option to take full control to run faster, dive or jump, and throw the ball to the location of choice. The first time you make a diving grab at short, or rob a would-be homerun, it will feel like a well earned accomplishment. The fielding may not be as fun or intuitive as the hitting or pitching, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring, because it’s not.
This is an area that SMB struggles a bit, as it only offers up two modes: Season and Exhibition. While season mode does give the user the option to choose a season length, difficulty, number of innings, it is simply one season and you’re done. With that said, SMB does offer deep stat tracking, which is a huge plus, and the user can customize each team member, both in looks and namesake, but that’s as deep as the well runs. The stat tracking and customization options are a very nice inclusion (ye,s we are looking at you R.B.I Baseball 14) but for some that are hoping for a career, multiple-season or online league modes, you might be a bit disappointed. We would also be remiss if we didn’t mention that while there is no true online multiplayer in SMB, it does offer couch co-op seasons and exhibition.
Although Super Mega Baseball may not be as deep a game as some are accustomed to, it absolutely shines in the gameplay department. It’s simply an arcade baseball game with simulation roots, that will have one wanting to play it again the minute you stop playing it. If you’re looking for a fun baseball game that you can finish in about 20 minutes to get you through the doldrums of winter, Super Mega Baseball should be perfect for you.
Learning Curve – Not a difficult game, but will require some time to master the pitch and hitting interface.
Control Scheme – Simple and responsive
Visuals – Fun, cartoonish, and over the top – which is perfect for this game
Audio – Timely and accurate, and we love the quirky umpire voice.
Replay Value – Short on modes, and true MP could have added some much needed depth.
Score 7.0 (Good)