Baseball Riot is the latest effort from developer 10tons, a studio who have quite a few PlayStation Vita titles under their belt. Is this one a home run for the studio or does it fail to make first base? Lets find out!
Arriving less than a year later than Tennis in the Face – 10tons’ previous Vita title – spiritual sequel of sorts Baseball Riot is here and features a very similar storyline to its predecessor.
You play as once popular Baseball player Gabe Carpaccio, who unfortunately suffers an injury that ends his career. It is when energy drink company Explodz Inc buys the team he used to play for that the team’s members suddenly become possessed by the energy drink and Gabe takes it upon himself to snap them out of it.
The gameplay, for the most part, remains largely unchanged from that of Tennis in the Face – your goal is to aim the ball so that it takes out as many enemies as possible, however this time there is also the additional goal of collecting three stars which are randomly scattered throughout the level. You can aim the ball at various different areas, with triangular sections of the level that will send the ball directly horizontal or vertical – meaning that you’ll have to think with strategy in order to make the most of the environment that the level provides you. There is never a guaranteed way to complete a level so trying different approaches can be the difference between success and failure.
Another new addition to Baseball Riot is the different enemy types in the game and this time around you can’t just simply knock them out with a baseball to the face, as some enemies now have different ways in which you need to hit them with your baseball. For example, some enemies will wear fully padded front armour, which means that you can only hit them from behind whereas other enemies wear baseball gloves and if the ball hits the glove the ball will vanish.
One thing I highly praised about Tennis in the Face back when I reviewed it was its cartoon style visuals, and it’s the same thing with Baseball Riot, the same graphical style is used here and it looks just as good in this game, with the new character designs a particular highlight.
One of the main changes I didn’t like here however was the new soundtrack, Tennis in the Face seemed to have more memorable tunes compared to Baseball Riot. I found that I had muted my Vita after around the first half an hour of playtime due to finding the music quite annoying and repetitive.
If you found Tennis in the Face to be an easy game, then you’ll be quite shocked by by the change in difficulty that Baseball Riot presents. A lot of the levels here will require more thinking and patience to get past them, although there is also the fair share of easier levels, the difficult levels far outweigh the easier ones.
Baseball Riot’s main issue is a problem that i’m starting to have with a lot of Vita games – it feels like we’re getting a lot more ports of mobile games that you can find cheaper on places like the App Store and the Google Play Store – it would be a lot nicer to see to see more games built primarily for Vita. A major example of this lies with the games pricing, the game can be bought for £2.99 on the Apple App store, but will cost players £3.99 on the PlayStation Store, I personally think the game would be better received if there was some parity with the price.
Personally if I had to choose between the two, I would spend my money on Tennis in the Face if I was new to the series as it is the more fun and accessible of the two titles. For returning players, Baseball Riot tries to add new features and attempts to be more difficult and unfortunately this is where it loses it’s appeal. The game tries to hard to add too much in the way of additional features and content and forgets about what made the original the hidden gem I consider it to be.