Hitting baseballs at people's faces isn't a very nice thing to do. But, what if those people are in cahoots with the evil energy drink company Explodz? In that case, I guess former all-star hitter Gabe Carpaccio doesn't really have a choice.
Okay, what the heck is Baseball Riot? Well, it's basically a sequel to Tennis in the Face which I reviewed over a year ago. For the unfamiliar, you simply aim then launch a ball to hit as many people as possible. With only a limited number of balls, you have to make every crack of the bat count. Watching the ball bounce off walls and obstacles while leaving nothing but chaos in its path is silly fun in its purest form. However, trying to master every single stage isn't as easy as you'd expect. In fact, even the most precise batters will find themselves retrying some stages dozens of times. Not only are you trying to hit every person on the screen, you're also encouraged to hit all three stars because doing so unlocks further areas of the campaign. Although it often boils down to trial and error, it feels awesome once you completely master a stage. Thankfully, if you manage to hit a few people with one ball, you get an extra one! Overall, it's undeniably enjoyable but is it too simple for its own good?
One thing that I loved about Tennis in the Face was its scoring system. Trying to get as high of a score as possible in every stage was a blast. It compelled me to replay every stage again and again just so I could climb the leaderboards and show off to my online pals. Therefore, when I noticed that none of this is implemented here, I was rather disappointed. Instead, you try to collect three stars (as I've already mentioned). This isn't even half as fun and it makes me wonder why they decided to scrap such an innovative scoring system in favour of a generic star-based system. Don't get me wrong, stars are cool but originality is better.
Baseball Riot's campaign is broken up into eight areas with 16 tiles in each. Tennis in the Face had the exact same setup but it was far superior. In that game, you uncovered bonus mini-games, tournaments, and whatnot. Here, you only get the basic stages and information panels that display your stats and achievements. Even the final panel merely has you replay previous stages in order to complete the game. I know I'm comparing this game to its predecessor a lot, but I enjoyed it so much that it makes me curious as to why they took so many steps backwards when they created this. If there's one issue that both games have in common, it's that the gameplay eventually becomes stale due to the fact that it never really changes.
After all of that being said, Baseball Riot is still a fun game. The campaign slowly introduces new characters that require various approaches to take out as well as additional objects and hazards. By the end, you'll look like a badass as you take advantage of your surroundings to put an end to Explodz once and for all. Also, the funky soundtrack from Tennis in the Face returns which is great because it provides an appropriate backdrop to the absurdity unfolding onscreen. Finally, it makes me happy to say that the sound effects are a huge improvement. Whereas the original game had unfulfilling and muted effects, hearing the destruction boom through the speakers here added a great deal of satisfaction. Its content may not be up to par, but they definitely got the audio right this time.
Baseball Riot may be a step back from its roots, but it's still an enjoyable little game that's worth checking out. However, you should definitely play Tennis in the Face first because it's simply an overall better experience.
- + Hitting people with baseballs is fun
- + The campaign progresses smoothly with new enemy types and stage features
- + Fantastic audio enhances the destruction
- - Too much trial and error is needed
- - Many essential features from Tennis in the Face are unfortunately removed
- - Gameplay is just as unvaried as ever