It feels like someone sucked the fun out of sports video games. I can remember a time when in addition to the usual officially licensed games, there were also these off-the-wall arcade titles or ones starring mascots, as well as games that took the word simulation very seriously. But as sports games have begun to strive for photo-realism and lock-down exclusive licences, while publishers continue to feel a perverse need to annualize the damn things, my interest in the narrow market for digital representations of real sports has plummeted.
Until I laid eyes on Super Mega Baseball 2: Ultimate Edition.
On a superficial level I find it very appealing; the players are human caricatures with ridiculous body proportions, goofy hairstyles and suitably wacky names to boot. They play for bonkers teams like the Sirloins, the Platypi, the Wideloads and – my personal favorites – the Beewolves. And they play at farfetched fields that nevertheless smack of real world locales, with a lot of local flavor in their backgrounds, like the Statue of Liberty poking her head over the stands. Although most people will probably balk at the lack of Major League Baseball affiliation, Metalhead Software hits a homer by giving the game a serious shot of personality that makes Super Mega Baseball instantly recognizable and nigh iconic.
On top of its inviting setting, the game is an absolute blast to play. It does a good job of communicating the ins and outs of baseball as you play, teaching you rules and control mechanisms as situations arise. In fact, it does an amazing job – with little hand holding – of teaching you all you need to know just by letting you do it. The many options might seem daunting at first, but Super Mega Baseball 2 is actually very intuitive and has one of the gentlest learning curves I’ve ever seen in a sports sim. It’s fun whether you’re still doing basic maneuvers or whether you’ve learned the nuances to batting, fielding and pitching.
What makes Super Mega Baseball 2 perhaps the best game of stick ball around is how customizable it is. As I was saying, the controls are very malleable and in tune, whether you’re an amateur or a hardcore stats nerd. You can play exhibition games, online games, games with people locally, leagues, tournaments, seasons… the options are seemingly endless.
The pre-set teams are wonderful and brimming with personality, but you can also make your own teams and players. And what’s really neat is how flexible the difficulty settings are, being malleable enough to make the game playable by just about anyone.
It’s been a long time since I’ve given a damn about a sports game, especially one about baseball, but Super Mega Baseball 2: Ultimate Edition hits all the right chords with me and, most importantly, my Little Leaguer of a son. We’ve been playing it almost every night together, testing all the teams and practicing our positions. There is even talk of starting our own league, the type of commitment that might take months. And quite frankly, that fact that I’m willing to give Super Mega Baseball 2 that kind of time is the best praise I can give the game.
Super Mega Baseball 2 was developed by Metalhead Software and is available on PC, Switch, PS4 and Xbox One. We reviewed the Switch version. The Ultimate Edition naturally contains all previous content released for the game.
Disclosure statement: review code for Super Mega Baseball 2 was provided by VIM Global. A Most Agreeable Pastime operates as an independent site, and all opinions expressed are those of the author.