When you think about sequels you almost expect things to get better. You think things will be bigger, better or more refined over the last outing to keep things a little fresh to maintain your interest. So when 10tons declared Baseball Riot as a direct successor to Tennis in the Face, you can’t help but expect things to be a little different, a betterment over the previous game. But what I think has happened here, is that 10tons have fallen foul of ‘Ubisoft Syndrome’. Baseball Riot is said to be a successor, but it’s more of the same just set in a different location. Much like the Assassin’s Creed titles used to be…
Baseball Riot Review
What Baseball Riot does is take a simple yet effective mechanic from Tennis in the Face, and plonk that into a different environment and change the sport ever so slightly. Whereas before you were pinging tennis balls at folk, now you’re smashing baseballs willy-nilly to continue the efforts to thwart the ‘Explodz’ drink supplier from taking over. The main man behind this most recent attempt is former baseball star Gabe Carpaccio who is trying to save his teammates after they have been brainwashed courtesy of Explodz.
Baseball Riot has a sense of wit and humour about it, much like Tennis in the Face, with all your adversaries having unique methods of trying to stop you in your tracks. They’ll block your balls with shield, use catching mitts to stop them and wear protective suits as well. You’ll need some patience and persistence to see some of the levels off, especially when a misplaced baseball can be the difference between success and failure.
There are 100 levels to smash through, each having a three-star earning potential. Collecting stars is the key to progression and you won’t get to the next area without them. I found that you’ll lose your patience with one level or another, put the game down in frustration, only to find a simple solution on your next attempt.
The presentation of Baseball Riot is very nice and has a charming feel to it, with the ragdoll physics of your enemies making some satisfying takedowns later on. You’ll be able to use the environment to your advantage hitting explosive crates, tubes that fire extra balls and let loose conveniently placed junk piles on a ledge.
But is this any different from Tennis in the Face? In all honesty, no it isn’t. The only thing that has changed is the sport you play and the protagonist. Your enemies are the same, the objectives are the same and even the main map is identical to the last. These would probably have been better as extra maps for Tennis in the Face, keeping its original identity, and progressing the story onwards slightly – in some way. Albeit a lower purchase price than other games on Switch, there’s no real reason to play Baseball Riot if you played Tennis in the Face. The only thing that will probably help you make your mind up is if one of these sports is your thing and, if not, then flip a coin to decide which one to play.
This isn’t a criticism of the game at all because it is a fun game to play and it keeps the Switch loaded with pick-up-and-play titles which suit it perfectly. It would have been nice if 10tons could have tweaked the formula ever so slightly though, bringing something new to the table, rather than just a rinse and repeat of the previous game. They have recently said, however, that their entire catalogue is now on the Switch, meaning they may now be working on new games for the future. I welcome this and hope that their next title is a culmination of their recent efforts and ‘hits’ the target.