Super Mega Baseball 2 takes out the super cartoony elements from the first game’s visuals and, instead, ups the customization and arcade feel of the main game. While the basic gameplay has stayed generally the same, the aesthetic and surrounding mechanics have been expanded and improved.
Despite the fact that I typically loathe sports games, Super Mega Baseball 2 is much more about fun than simulation. In the first game this was presented to players in the form of outlandish character models with super-deformed bodies wielding gigantic baseball bats. This time, things are toned back; the game is brought closer to reality, but still featuring more color and style that won’t be mistaken for ESPN. There is no release date yet, though developer Metalhead is aiming for an early 2017 release on both platforms and stated the game would most likely cost a bit more than the first ($20) but less than a full fledged retail release ($60).
Basic gameplay swaps between fielding and batting. Batting has the usual swing, bunt, and power hit where you have to time your windup to the pitch. You can also control runners on base once the ball is in play, dictating whether they should stay or move forward. Pitching requires a little more activity, as you have a myriad of options to choose from for types of pitches. Each has its own draw distance, which must then be matched quickly with analog movement to the target displayed on-screen. Suffice to say, if you have played a baseball game before, everything on display here will be easy to pick up on.
A difficulty slider ensures a fair or challenging experience for any player, as it can be adjusted individually when cooperative play is active. The scale slides from 1 to 99, which makes sure that anyone can find a sweet spot instead of teetering between hard and crushing or another middle-level difficulty.
Another unique element is the Mojo system which keeps track of a players confidence in his ability. Perform well while using this player and his Mojo will boost, miss a ball, strikeout, or cause an error on the field and it will drop. Depending on a players Mojo level, he may perform better, or worse, later in the game than at the beginning. Every play also brings points with it, which will place you on the online leaderboards.
Creating and managing your own team is enhanced with a large wealth of icons, colors, and combinations accessible. You will want to create your own defined team for the online mode, where you can play against friends or through matchmaking. The level of graphics available is about as much as any other emblem creation tool from Halo or Call of Duty. More can even be introduced with online updates.
Cooperative play can handle up to four players, although sometimes there will be a player twiddling their thumbs as they wait for a batter to hit a ball — there can only ever be one pitcher and one batter. The game moves along at a quick pace, no instant replays or lingering as someone walks up to the plate. What little downtime there is can be skipped over with a button press, as the game is more focused on delivering action than simulating a major league game. That may disappoint those looking for an alternative to the realism of MLB The Show, which itself features a retro throwback mode to a more arcade-leaning style, but will delight those like myself who enjoy a simpler version of America’s greatest pastime.