Review: MLB Bobblehead Battle (XBLA)

Review: MLB Bobblehead Battle (XBLA)

When I play sports games, baseball is definitely not one of my normal selection. I generally tend to pick up tennis or soccer before anything else. That being said, MLB Bobblehead Battle is a far cry from something like 2K Sports’ MLB 2K series. With a quirky bobblehead style, and gameplay reminiscent of an arcade game, MLB Bobblehead Battle, along with the other MLB Bobblehead entries from Konami, actually ends up being…gasp…FUN.

MLB Bobblehead Battle follows its two predecessors, MLB Bobblehead Pros and MLB Bobblehead Stars, and completes the planned MLB Bobblehead trilogy from Konami. Where MLB Bobblehead Pro and MLB Bobblehead Stars had you playing actual baseball, and enforced the rules of the game, MLB Bobblehead Battle acts like an arcade game. When you’re on the defense, you control the pitcher, with the goal of striking out the man at bat. When you’re on the offense, you control the batter, with the goal of hitting the ball and landing it on certain areas of a giant grid that is overlaid onto the entire field. You don’t control any runners, you don’t control any infielders or outfielders, you simply control the pitching and the batting. Pitching is from the perspective of the catcher. You choose your pitch type, then aim and let fly. Batting is simple. You can either bunt, or swing, by placing your reticle where the ball will be, and timing your swing (or holding your bunt).

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Successful hits and scores earn you card points. These card points can be used to activate temporary effect cards to either make the game harder for your opponent, or easier for you. Cards range from turning the entire infield into a scoring zone for three turns, making bunts easy ways to grab bases, to making the entire field, except for one infield square, an instant out, with quite a few other variations for both offensive and defensive purposes. The card aspect is what makes this game really fun, because you have to spend your points wisely, and any action you take may be countered by a well played card on your opponent’s end.

Aside from the exhibition mode, there is a challenge mode. The challenge mode starts off with a single available challenge, which consists of a regular game with a specific victory condition. If you win, and meet the condition, you unlock bonuses and subsequent challenges. There is also an online mode, which allows you to quick play or customize a match of 3, 6, or 9 innings. Finally, there is a stadium editor that lets you modify how the obstacles in a field are arranged, or even remove and add new obstacles that are unlocked from the challenge mode.

MLB Bobblehead Battle provides me with something I never thought would be possible: a fun baseball game. Is it worth 800MSP? Well, that’s up to you. I have no doubt that this game will make its way onto my list of quick time killers. If I’ve got nothing else to do, and my hands are itching for some quick fun, MLB Bobblehead Battle will definitely be in the rotation.

Review

ProsCons
A FUN baseball-ish gameNot a lot to it other than pitching and batting
Rating
75 out of 100

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