Baseball Riot feels very familiar in more ways than one. It’s fun, but doesn’t improve on the material it’s based on.
Last year, we reviewed Tennis in the Face by small Finnish developer 10tons. A mix of Angry Birds, pool and tennis, it was a fun casual puzzle game and an excellent time waster. This year’s Baseball Riot is essentially Tennis in the Face wearing a baseball costume, as the two games are extremely similar.
In Baseball Riot, every level sees you confronted with the task of knocking down all your opponents with a limited number of baseballs. You can launch these balls and have them bounce around the screen for a while, but the number of bounces (and baseballs) is limited, so you have to be careful about where you aim. There’s also an increasing amount of obstacles, ranging from walls to glass – which immediately stops your ball. Your opponents differ in their behavior as well – some will go down easily, whereas others (baseball umpires) have ball-deflecting padding or will catch your ball if it hits their baseball glove. On top of all that, if you manage to also catch stars in each level then that increases your score.
It will all feel very familiar to those who played Tennis in the Face, and in that sense… it’s more of the same. As with every game that fits that description, that is a good thing as long as you liked the original and a bad thing if Tennis in the Face wasn’t your thing to begin with. We enjoyed Tennis in the Face, but found Baseball Riot to be a lesser game. For one, the level design in Tennis in the Face seemed less reliant on trial and error that what we’ve seen in Baseball Riot, which takes away a bit of the fun in terms of true satisfaction when completing the game.
Another reason that makes Tennis in the Face the better game is that it was filled with a bunch of little minigames and features as well, which offered diversity in terms of breaking up the gameplay. One level saw you taking out the team at 10tons, another was filled with dozens of tennis balls for bonus points, and we spent many hours trying to climb up the rankings in the online leaderboard. All of these features are missing from Baseball Riot, which make the game seem like a trimmed down expansion rather than a sequel that builds on the foundations of the original.
It’s still fun to play if you’re into this sort of game, but it’s a shame that the potential that Tennis in the Face showed us wasn’t realized this time around.