Baseball Riot is a physics-based puzzle game from 10tons. It is the sequel to 2014’s Tennis in the Face, in which players strike enemies unconscious with deadly tennis serves. Baseball Riot follows the same premise, challenging the player to be as effective as possible by taking out several targets at once with a limited amount of shots. It’s a goofy, brain teasing time killer with loads of challenge and personality.
The player takes control of Gabe Carpaccio, a washed up baseball legend. Gabe’s team is replaced by the Electrolytes, a corporate team whose only purpose is to advertise its energy drink, Explodz. The story is explained in a quick set of newspaper headlines at the beginning of the game, and goes no further than this, as it serves only to set up the premise: a violent baseball rampage.
Baseball Riot is designed like a mobile game and plays just like Tennis in the Face. The player has three balls which they must use wisely in order to knock out all the enemies onscreen. You can obtain an extra ball if you manage to hit three guys in one shot. On top of the enemy presence, you must also hit stars which are required to unlock access to more levels.
Levels start off quite simple, allowing the player to become comfortable with their shots, which I feel is best done with the Vita’s touch screen.The controls are relatively simple, but may not be perfect. Playing on the Vita, it is very possible to accidentally nudge the rather sensitive trigger buttons when playing with the touch screen. This occurred to me several times and has jeopardized my game more than once. I feel like there should be an option to disable button controls if one intends to use the touch screen, and vice versa.
The core bounce mechanics feel quite intuitive and are easy to learn. Balls only fly for a certain amount of time, and lose momentum as they fly through the air. They can also be broken by certain objects, such as glass panes and scrap metal. The player is later assisted with special objects, such as explosive boxes and tubes that release more balls when hit.
Stages become progressively more complicated by introducing new objects and new enemy types. The Umpires wear chest armour and must be hit in the head, legs, or back; The Fielder holds up a giant baseball glove which can completely stop your shot. Each area, consisting about a dozen stages, introduces a new enemy type. This helps keep the gameplay from getting too stale. However, three of the enemy types don’t do anything special, and two others are almost identical. On top of this, the game rarely mixes and matches them for interesting level design. Most stages only consist of one or two enemy types.
I feel like the more difficult levels require very specific shot tuning to maximize efficiency, and it became a very repetitive way to play the game. Experimenting with certain shots can be fun for the first while, but at times I simply wanted to toss my Vita against the wall. However, I feel like 10tons have struck a near-perfect level of difficulty and complexity. Most stages are easy enough to the point that I would not feel stuck in a single place for too long, yet difficult enough that a tough victory was truly satisfying. While getting through the first six zones, there was only one moment in which I put the game down due to difficulty with a single stage. Even so, the player always has access to multiple levels, so you have the choice of avoiding a level if it proves frustrating.
All in all, Baseball Riot plays just like a mobile physics puzzler without annoying mechanics such as microtransactions and one-use power-ups. Its cartoonish charms and physical comedy ensure that the game is always fun to play and look at. It is challenging in all the right ways, and holds no mercy for players who refuse to overcome difficult slumps. It provides hours upon hours of entertainment for the price, and I’d recommend it to anyone who loves a good challenge.
A code of Baseball Riot was provided by 10tons for the purpose of this review.