Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3
We played on: PlayStation 4
Sports fans have few choices these days. Professional licenses have become exclusive perks—and notable games are rarely made without them. Luckily, Super Mega Baseball is the rare exception. It offers a charming, family-friendly experience that’s colorful and easy to pick up and play. Challenging enough for serious fans of the sport to dig into, it also scales to accommodate newcomers. All this makes it a great entry-level baseball game for both kids and their parents.
There’s no narrative guiding the action in Super Mega Baseball. Instead, you’ll find rosters full of cartoonish players with silly names. There are men and women of various skin tones, and you can tweak their appearances to recreate yourself and others if you’d like. The 12 included teams are all original creations, such as the Moonstars and Herbisaurs, as are the four unique stadiums you’ll play in. The resulting tone is good-natured and has a fun, lively personality that doesn’t take itself too seriously—unlike in your average professional sports game. For example, you’ll see players sweat profusely when in tough match-ups or cry fountains of tears after a brutal strikeout.
Super Mega Baseball Gameplay
Super Mega Baseball is accessible without feeling dumbed down or too simplistic. It has flexible batting and pitching systems that let skilled players have a bit more control, while still letting newer or casual players enjoy themselves and be competitive.
For example, when you’re pitching you can choose to throw a powerful pitch that’s tougher to pinpoint within the strike zone, or simply toss something that’s more likely to cross the plate but not necessarily zip past the batter. And when you’re batting you can swing for contact or really put some muscle into a stronger yet less accurate power swing. Whatever the case, the gameplay systems are easy to understand and mostly effective. I found fielding to be a bit inconsistent. It’s difficult at times to judge the distance and speed of the ball when trying to make a play—but that’s the only major standout annoyance on the field.
You can pick the precise difficulty setting that fits your skill level or mood. There’s a wide sliding scale that lets you add or subtract points of difficulty. Want to dominate the computer player with ease, or have a tough pitcher’s duel? It’s your choice. However, Super Mega Baseball has limited play modes compared to most other modern sports games. There’s no online play or expansive general-manager mode full of menus that allow you to make tiny, nuanced decisions.
However, the game includes entertaining local multiplayer. This mode lets up to four players (two on each team) battle it out on the same TV. And you can play an entire season against computer opponents, with the ability to hire and fire staff members the more you play. You can bring on trainers and coaches that improve certain players’ stats, so there’s incentive to choose wisely and pick helpers that can enhance your particular play style on the diamond.
Super Mega Baseball is rated E by the ESRB for “Alcohol and Tobacco Reference.” One of the fictional teams, the Crocodons, depicts a gangster crocodile in its logo with a cartoonish cigar sticking out of its mouth. The only alcohol reference I noted came with a player named Chugg Burbony—just a jokey name on a roster full of them.
While a lightweight package compared to most sprawling sports simulations, this charming $20 downloadable affair is an ideal gateway game for young baseball fans. The cartoonish style and accessible nature hearken back to the arcade-style sports games of decades past. And it’s an entertaining game to play whether you’re looking to dominate the computer or go head-to-head with local family and friends. It may not have real-life players or teams, but as the 2015 season nears, Super Mega Baseball is a strong option for families.