Despite its name, Baseball Riot
is not a sports game about playing baseball, nor is it a fighting game based on inciting violence from a large crowd of people. Instead, Baseball Riot
is an Angry Birds
-esque puzzle game from developer 10tons, the studio also responsible for Crimsonland
, Sparkle Unleashed
, and Tennis In The Face
. If you have ever played the latter of those three titles then you will know exactly what to expect. This new title is a spiritual sequel to Tennis In The Face
, from gameplay to the game's premise.
Baseball In The Face! Oh, hold on... wrong game.
Players take on the role of Gabe Carpaccio, a baseball player whose career was ended by a baseball to the knee. He is horrified to see his former team bought out by Explodz Inc, an evil corporation that sells energy drinks that make people extremely aggressive. Gabe must take out all of his enemies using nothing but a baseball bat and a limited supply of baseballs if he is to reclaim the club from the grip of Explodz Inc. That is as far as the story goes, but then a deep story isn't necessary for a puzzle title such as this.
The gameplay is easy to understand but difficult to master. In each level, Gabe is fixed in his starting position. There is no moving to get a better angle -- all enemies must be taken out from the same spot. Either joystick can be used to aim the ball and players press
to hit the ball. The levels start simply enough with the enemies in easy to reach locations and few obstacles. As players progress through the game, they will encounter enemies that are hidden in seemingly impossible locations, obstacles like glass that will stop the ball dead, or Explodz crates that can either help out immensely or hinder just as much. Then there are the different enemy types. Your basic fans can be killed with one hit, but then you have the players that can catch the ball, umpires that are shielded from the front by pads and a helmet, and scientists that take two hits to kill. Each one will need a different strategy and this is where the challenge lies.
Did you know that baseball live-action role-playing includes swords and shields?
The enemies aren't your only problem, though. If you want to get any further than the first region, you need to collect as many as you can of the three stars in each level. Each star counts as a point for your score and each region requires you to hit a certain score to proceed further. Taking out three enemies with a single ball will result in an extra ball, something that is vital in later levels. If you finish the level with unused balls, each ball will also add a point to your score. Players will spend quite a while lining up the perfect shot to be able to finish with a high star rating. This would be great if it wasn't for the random nature of the game's ball physics. Not only can the slightest of adjustments completely alter the way that the ball bounces, even hitting the ball in the same direction multiple times can result in multiple different outcomes.
The difference between a great score and even just finishing the level can all come down to a lucky bounce, resulting in a lot of frustration. When you couple this with a difficulty that can spike up and down frequently, some levels are more akin to torture whereas others are like a walk in the (ball)park. For these reasons, and due to the repetitive nature of the game, it is most ideal when played in short bursts of up to an hour at a time. The game features eight regions, each with their own specialist enemy, two optional objectives and 13 levels apiece. The time needed to complete all of the levels and the achievements falls in the 10-12 hour range, but with a more reliable and predictable physics system the game would take much less than that.
Good luck getting that bottom star
Speaking of the achievements, all of the game's 16 optional objectives have a single achievement tied to them. These vary from performing a trick shot to getting a certain number of stars in a region. All are completely optional and it is entirely possible to complete all of the levels without earning any of the achievements. As levels can be replayed at any time, none of them are truly missable; however, they are challenging, especially some of the objectives in the later regions that require a pixel perfect shot and a dose of luck for good measure. Unfortunately, Two Stars
is also a little buggy. After meeting the requirements, some players need to recomplete a level for the achievement to unlock. This completion is not for the faint of heart.
contains a lot of content for a low price point, but it will only really be enjoyed in short bursts. The gameplay is easy to learn but difficult to master, especially with the differing enemies, various obstacles and, unfortunately, somewhat random ball physics. The latter factor will frustrate some players and luck does play a larger part in a player's chances of success than it should. While the levels do, predictably, get more difficult as the player progresses, the difficulty can spike unfairly in places. Finally, all of the achievements are tied to optional objectives and one of these is slightly buggy — the completion is not easy.
- Lots of content for a low price
- Easy to learn, difficult to master gameplay
- Somewhat random ball physics
- Unpredictable difficulty spikes
The reviewer spent 11 hours completing all but one of the game's 104 levels. She valued her sanity far too much to go back for the remaining level and she will forever curse those scientists and Explodz Inc. Despite this, she won all of the game's 16 achievements. This Xbox One copy of the game was provided courtesy of the publisher for the purpose of this review.