With the Major League Baseball postseason just around the corner, it felt like the right time to review another baseball video game. The sport is hard-coded into my DNA... What more can I say?
Today’s offering, Super Baseball League, is a bit of a different animal though. This casual player-versus-player game is set in the same universe as South Korean developer Haegin’s other baseball title, Homerun Clash. Super Baseball League sets itself apart from other baseball titles by playing out over one short inning as a one-on-one tiebreaker match. This makes the game very accessible to baseball fans who can’t necessarily sit through the full nine innings of a regular game. With the action being compacted into a short time frame, the gameplay comes thick and fast, with simple batting and pitching controls to facilitate the speed.
There are multiple modes available for any super sluggers out there: 1v1 Super League, World League, Situational Training, and several more, including the Homerun Derby, which is always a blast to play. You can also choose to tinker with or fully randomize familiar aspects of the game—such as the batting order, home/away decisions, and the addition of “zombie” runners on base as innings begin—to keep things fresh.
Being set in the same universe as Homerun Clash, well-known sluggers from that game pop up in Super Baseball League, each with their own unique skills and abilities. These original characters can be signed in order to build up a powerful team and advance through the rankings. Characters can be customized with power-ups, upgrades, stat assignments, star promotions, and more, all of which can provide them with a decided edge over their rivals.
While the cartoony graphics, wailing guitar rock music, and eight well-designed stadiums add a good bit to the overall ambience, the fast and furious gameplay is what truly makes Super Baseball League enjoyable. It’s baseball hopped up on methamphetamines and stripped clean of any dillydallying.
On defense, you literally have three seconds to throw a pitch by choosing the pitch type, direction, and velocity/quality with three separate taps on the screen. While you can change the alignment of your players, your main focus here is to make quality pitches that won’t be smacked around the yard, because you only have one half-inning to shut the door on the other team. One quirk that needs to be mentioned here is that it is almost impossible to throw a ball while pitching in Super Baseball League. Seriously. There are literally hundreds of big league pitchers who would kill for that particular ability. The only rationale I can think of for why Super Baseball League plays this way is because balls and walks slow down the game, and that’s just not happening here.
On the offensive side of things, play is equally as brisk, as you enter the batter’s box and swing for the fences relatively quickly in Super Baseball League. And just like on the defensive side of things, your main focus here will be singular—that is, making solid contact with the ball to drive in the “zombie” runners who are already on base. You can control these runners to a certain degree (i.e., by having them attempt to steal a base), but that’s about it in terms of offensive strategy. Your main task while at bat is to choose a normal or power swing...then grip it and rip it, which is achieved by simple placement of your finger on the right hand side of your screen. Release your finger when you’ve placed the bat in the flight path of the ball, and (hopefully) CRACK! goes the bat. One odd frustration of note on the offensive side is that sometimes the game moved too fast, and even though my finger was pressed firmly on the screen, I didn’t have control of the bat until the ball was already on its way. This input delay caused me to foul off a good many pitches that I definitely should have parked in the bleachers four hundred feet away.
It also should be noted that Super Baseball League is free-to-play, but it features a ton of extra stuff to buy (gear, buffs, loot boxes, etc.). The game also regularly interrupts play with a good many ads, but they don’t seem quite as oppressive here as they do in other games. I guess that’s because Super Baseball League just moves so damn fast.
Super Baseball League does a lot of things right in terms of gameplay and presentation. It has a few niggling quirks that keep it from transcending the realm of GOOD and entering the halls of VERY GOOD. And despite this experience’s imperfections, it is a serviceable way to stay in the game during the postseason.
SCORE: 3 STARS OUT OF 5
PLAY IF YOU LIKE:
• Homerun Clash. Give Super Baseball League a swing if you dig Haegin’s OTHER take on the Great American Pastime. • MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2022. Super Baseball League isn’t by any stretch of the imagination a realistic baseball sim like Glu Mobile’s MLB Tap Sports, but it certainly does distill the game of baseball down to its most exciting elements and there’s something to be said for that, I think. You can check out my full review of MLB Tap Sports here.
💬 Have you played Super Baseball League? Let us know what you think of it in the comments! Even if you haven't played it, leave a comment sharing your thoughts on your favorite versions of video game baseball!
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