Review: Super Mega Baseball
Years ago I remember sinking a good deal of time into MLB Slugfest and loving just about every minute with it. As with most sports games I tend to gravitate towards arcade rather than simulation and, as luck would have it, the arcade take on sports hasn’t been all that well represented in recent years. Super Mega Baseball falls somewhere in the middle in that it’s able to offer a more accessible game while staying true to every aspect of baseball. (This isn’t a game that you’ll be punching the guy on first continuously until he steps off the base.) The result is something that I think casual and diehard baseball fans can easily get into and have a lot of fun with.
Super Mega Baseball is non-licensed so the game’s fictional league consists of 12 teams, 4 stadiums, and coed players. (Herbisaurs, Sirloins, Overdogs, Beewolves, and Wideloads are just some of the teams you’ll be able to choose from.) You can choose to simply play an exhibition match or to start a season with a team of your choice. Seasons range from short, medium, and long (16, 32, and 48 respectively) and consist of a playoff that is set to a 3, 5, or 7 game series depending on the season length.
To anyone who has any experience with baseball video games, you’re going to feel right at home with Super Mega Baseball. Aside from the pitching the game controls about how you’d expect, but more importantly there’s a bit of streamlining that will help newcomers pickup on the controls faster than they normally would. There’s even an EGO (difficulty) slider that you can set to 15 for an easy game, 35 for something a bit tougher, or even 99 if you’re crazy. The lower difficulty tends to allow for a bit more automation with fielding that allows new players to ease themselves in, while at the same time if you spend a lot of time with MLB The Show you can probably start things at a much higher setting. (My friend who has spent most of this year playing exclusively The Show was able to pick up this game without issue and proceed to absolutely dominate me in our first game.)
Pitching in Super Mega Baseball consists of three steps. You first choose the type of pitch you want to throw with the right analog, aim/throw the pitch, and finally you’ll slide a reticle into the target area that, depending on how close you get, determines the quality of the pitch. All of this takes about a second and just feels great. Overall the controls just feel spot on. They allow for a certain amount of complexity that experienced players might want (especially with your control over base runners) while still remaining completely accessible to someone who hasn’t seriously played a baseball game in years.
In season mode you’re given the ability to customize a number of different aspects of your team. You can completely change the look and name of every single player on your team or you can start hiring trainers to improve the stats on certain players. Each trainer that you hire comes with three modifiers that can be assigned to players in order to increase specific stats. (Increase speed, better pitching, higher batting power, etc.) There’s a large variety of modifiers and they each have three different tiers to unlock as you level up in the game. It becomes more apparent as you progress through the season, but the ability to hire trainers and assign various modifiers adds a lot of depth to the game. The season itself plays out with teams split up into the super and mega division. At the end of a season the top two teams enter the playoffs and things continue until a champion is decided. From there the season mode is over, but if you start a new season with the same team you’ll immediately start with all of the staff/modifier progression that you’ve already made.
Season mode also includes stat tracking for pretty much everything you’d want. You can view your full team stats and league leaders for everything from home runs to bases stolen. These can be viewed in between games from the season hub. Weirdly enough, and as one very minor gripe, there’s no way to view the stat summary of a game while you’re in the middle of it.
Super Mega Baseball’s over-exaggerated cartoon style works really well and kind of makes the whole thing a bit more enjoyable. I love that players will cry when they strike out in a key moment, or when smoke is bursting from their ears when frustrated, or even just the the way the characters will appear nervous when the game is on the line. The four stadiums in the game also feel quite unique in theme. There’s a part of me that wishes that each team had their own stadium, but with how nice each stadium looks and considering the size of the developer, I can understand why there’s only four.
The game’s UI, particularly in season mode, can feel a bit cluttered. There tends to be a lot of information being conveyed on screen at any one time. A less is more approach could probably do well to improve things in that respect.
Super Mega Baseball does well for people like me who enjoy baseball, but don’t care to dig into something as realistic as The Show. It sticks very close to the rules of baseball while offering gameplay that is very accessible. At the same time I think there’s enough depth that people who play The Show every year will enjoy. It might not be as deep as The Show but, for the price, it’s a lot more than I expected. If nothing else, for me, it’s refreshing to play a sports game that stays true to the sport while not taking itself too seriously.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Fun and accessible gameplay
- I love that the players show a variety of emotions depending on the situation
- The team and player names are really great. Personal highlight: Lianne Drive.
- Season mode has a lot more customization than I expected
- Being able to change the look and names of every player.
- Ego lets you set a difficulty that feels right for you
What I Dislike:
- I think the UI is a little bit too cluttered at times. Particularly in the season mode
- I'd like to be able to view the current stats in the middle of a game