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Baseball Riot Review (Switch)

Help Gabe defeat his evil ex-baseball team and corrupt energy drink manufacturer Explodz. Inc. Equipped with just a bat and a few baseballs, you must defeat one-sided umpires, obnoxious fans, and a bunch of other baseball goons while utilizing tools like vending machines, glass, and tubes of balls to regain your former glory. It's a physics puzzle game that is a sequel to the popular Tennis in the Face. It's time to riot!

Baseball Riot Review (Switch)

Introduction

Baseball Riot is an action-puzzler made by10tons LTD. It's a sequel to the popular title Tennis in the Face, and it follows with very similar mechanics and style. Baseball Riot places the player into a small 2D stage with three balls and a baseball bat. The mission is to eliminate all the opponents on the screen while getting stars to increase your rank and be able to proceed.

There are over 100 levels in Baseball Riot, and the opponents, obstacles, and challenges all change and increase in difficulty as the game progresses. It's an arcade game that combines sports and platforming in an interesting way.

Baseball Riot can currently be purchased on the Nintendo eShop for your regional price.

Baseball Riot Review (Switch) fallen fans

Story

The story is thin but humorous. Gabe is an ex-baseball player who is trying to get revenge against his ex-baseball team and an energy drink company who have formed a dastardly alliance. The game begins with a series of funny newspaper headlines detailing his fall from grace and the alliance, and there isn't much in the way of plot beyond that, but outfielders, umpires, and hipsters who love the energy drinks are just some of the opponents you will face.

The game utilizes simplistic humor throughout the game; moments, like entering a stage and reading that a hipster loved baseball before it was cool, were great. The story may be virtually non-existent, but there is a lot of light-heartedness and many laughable moments in Baseball Riot.

Gameplay

I want to preface by saying that I never actually played Tennis in the Face, so Baseball Riot was a fresh and original experience for me, but from the gameplay I have seen, the games seem very very similar.

Baseball Riot's concept centers around hitting baseballs around a stage using a crosshair. You need to think about the trajectory and how the ball will bounce off walls, which parts of the opponent's body they will hit, and how obstacles in the stages can hinder or help you. You complete a stage by hitting every enemy, and the stars are (somewhat) optional but increase rank and points. There are three stars per stage and getting them all gives you the best rank, and getting "X" amount of stars between the levels is the only way to proceed to the next world. 

The game starts off really easy, but this game gets seriously difficult after you complete the first or second world in the game. There are about 12 stages per world. After you finish enough stages and collect enough stars, you can go to the airport and fly to the next world. Each world features unique opponents, obstacles, and adds to the challenge. 
Baseball Riot Review (Switch) head shot
The opponents usually have interesting perks or features that make them harder to knock down. For instance, umpires cannot be taken down from the front due to protective gear, and outfielders have big gloves and will catch your ball if it hits them. This makes for some interesting tactics and requires you to experiment with specific angles to take out these enemies.

The strategy and intuitiveness of aiming the ball and finding the right angles seemed inconsistent and unreliable on many occasions. There were times I would hit the ball in the same exact spot and get different results, and there were many occasions where hitting a few enemies was completely lucky. The ball bounces around more than a ping-pong ball in the Olympics, and it's quite hard to figure out exactly what it will do. This made for some really exciting moments, but it took away some of the enjoyment of the game since I had to utilize trial and error more than truly problem-solving.

Baseball Riot does give the player a chance for more balls. Three balls just aren't enough for many stages, and by taking out at least three enemies with one ball, you can gain an extra ball. This is definitely a strategy that became necessary during the later game, and luckily, there is a button that resets the level immediately. This means I would try to line up a great first shot and just reset the stage until I had an ideal first ball result. The game does reward experimentation, and the lack of loading time means you never need to deal with a mistake for too long.

The other big element of the gameplay is the obstacles. There are obstacles in most stages, and some of them help you while others are detrimental. Glass, for instance. immediately breaks but also stops your ball dead in its tracks. Other objects like energy drinks and vending machines can explode, taking out any enemy that is nearby, and sometimes enemies or objects will ricochet or flop into other enemies. I definitely spent some time playing around with the objects before I would even truly try to comlete the stage. This is definitely the kind of game where knowing your surroundings before attempting to beat the level was very beneficial.

All in all, there is a lot here for the cheap price, but the gameplay does get old after playing for a while, and I enjoyed the game in short bursts but had trouble playing beyond a half an hour at a time. I also wish the game had more baseball-centric levels. Being in the city with girders and buildings was fine, but it would have been cool to have levels in a baseball stadium or other venues, especially since baseball is in the title.

Graphics and Audio

The graphics in Baseball Riot or very simple. Simple does work though because each level is filled with a myriad of bright colors and the color schemes, in general, are vivid, but not every part of the level shines. The backgrounds are very similar; they are just silhouettes of a city with different colors. This works fine, but it does get a little boring, and it would have been cool to see some more baseball-themed places instead of typical big-city backgrounds.

I loved the sprites and the items. Seeing well detailed, cartoonish opponents ranging from businessmen to umpires to energy drink-addicted hipsters was a lot of fun. Watching them get toppled and flung like ragdolls was a nice touch and added to the already humorous sprites and gameplay. The same goes for the obstacles in the level. Seeing the glass shatter and tubes of balls explode was zany and exciting.

Baseball Riot Review (Switch) map
The music is less than ear-grabbing and borders on generic most of the time. Each world has its own soundtrack, and typical electric beats and guitar riffs play in the background. It's certainly not a bad soundtrack, but it won't be winning any awards and is entirely forgettable.

If there is one bright spot in the soundtrack, it's definitely the grunting and groans that come from the fallen opponents. As they get hit, they make comical noises that were very tongue-in-cheek and fit well with the blithe vibe of the rest of the game. They reminded me a lot of old arcade voice effects before voice acting was a staple in gaming.

Conclusion

There is a lot of content packed into this $4.99 title. It features over 100 levels and offers hours of gameplay. With that said, it's not a game I enjoyed for long periods of time, and it's best in shorter doses (it's a great time killer). The gameplay definitely gets redundant, and the graphics don't really do enough to set the levels apart. Even so, the game is hilarious, and the gameplay is definitely fun, but it's still a frustratingly hard venture beyond the first couple worlds. I enjoyed that you can skip around and play different levels if you are getting bored or enraged by another level, and this definitely kept the game fresher.

The consistency of hitting the ball can be a bit awkward in that there is a lot of experimentation that doesn't always reward the same shot equally. This means that the element of luck played a larger part of my success than I would have wished. This can favor the player in some cases where the obstacles explode and create a domino effect of destruction.

All in all, I had a lot of fun with this Baseball Riot despite its flaws, and if you are all at interested, I would say pick it up because the $4.99 price tag certainly won't break the bank, and there is definitely fun to be had here.

PROSCONS
+ Tons of content for a cheap price– Difficulty can be frustrating
+ Humorous– Gameplay gets very repetitive
+ Gameplay is simple and fun– Not enough of a baseball vibe
7.2
Good

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