Super Mega Baseball makes me giggle like a little girl. That’s no exaggeration. My laughter goes up several pitches and I roll around on the floor from laughing too hard. Super Mega Baseball is hilariously competitive and it makes me love baseball again. Suddenly I feel five years old self again — back to when I want nothing in the world more than to become the next Mike Schmidt (I was in love with the Phillies as a little guy). But Super Mega Baseball channels this same childlike wonder into pure joy that makes me want to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”.
We needed a couch multiplayer game that takes us back to the fun of the Nintendo Entertainment System’s arcade baseball games. Back then, they always allowed for lots of two-player fun. But Super Mega Baseball steps things up by adding a four player option! I’m not sure that three and four players is quite as much fun as two-players, since one person always waits (that’s just baseball) but it’s still a super-good time. Teams of two switch between pitching/fielding and taking turns at bat. The real joy lies how every exaggerated movement feeds into playful arcade energy.
Each advance against the enemy team results in Mojo. Every mistake sucks away Mojo. Greater Mojo results in more enthusiastic cartoonish player characters. These blokes are silly and funny looking. But they get even more so when they get struck out.
Super Mega Baseball seems perfect for fathers and sons to play together (or mothers and daughters, for that matter). It’s not too hard to give your opponent a leg up if they’re still learning the game. And even better, you can play co-op against the computer if you don’t want to oppose each other. It makes me wish I had my own five year old to play the game with.
“It makes me wish I had my own five year old to play the game with.”
Pitching and batting turns into this captivating game of bait and switch. Or lure and misdirection. Or cat and mouse. The pitcher starts his pitch with the cursor on-screen. Then the cursor disappears as he winds up. The delivery can move literally anywhere as the pitching player pushes his control stick into any direction he so desires. And, of course, there’s eight different kinds of pitches. The batter focuses, as you’d expect, on timing and judging the pitch. The aim on the pitch semi-automates. It works beautifully and creates a great foundation of tension between teams at the beginning of each play.
Fielding is a bit trickier. I’m not used to newfangled controls in baseball games where the face buttons turn into a representation of where to throw the ball. But apparently it’s become a convention since I’ve been ignoring baseball games for the past two or three decades. Then there’s the issue of trying to catch a ball that’s just out of reach. I’m still getting used to the right trigger functions, which dives to catch the ball, and the right bumper, which makes players jump for the same purpose. The hilarity of this tension comes through perfectly in the game’s Extra Innings trailer. If you haven’t seen that, be sure to watch!
Co-op can be just as fun as competitive play as two players take turns on a team. Max and I continued to giggle like little girls as we utterly destroyed the computer in a game that went 18 to 1. The game knew that we were humiliating the computer and told us we could change the difficulty by manipulating the Ego ratings for the opposing teams. The default Ego is 15, and it goes up to 100. There’s lots of room to do terribly at the game. But I’m still unclear of how my own team’s Ego settings affect the world overall. Nevertheless, it’s encouraging to see that the game’s “solo” Seasons aren’t limited to solo play at all. They seem to be the perfect setup for parents and kids.
I can’t think of anybody who wouldn’t like playing Super Mega Baseball. The only challenge is getting people to get over their own biases and aversions to baseball. If the game had rocket-powered cars, it might get folks out of their limited perceptions of what a game like this can be. But despite not having the universal appeal of Rocket League (or cars), I think Super Mega Baseball has a clear place beside it in your local multiplayer library.