Unlike with most boys, sports was totally lost on me as a kid. I played some, but I’d be lying if I said I ever took to any of them (except biking, perhaps). That said, I don’t know a ton about baseball, and I’ve definitely played more of it in video game form than in real life. Regardless, Super Mega Baseball 3 still really charmed me with its zany aesthetic that makes this video game of a real game really feel like a video game. Let me explain.
Right off the bat, (Yes, I said it.) Super Mega Baseball 3 does not take itself seriously at all. With such a flamboyant name as that, you shouldn’t be all that surprised. The whole game is over the top on purpose.
The in-game players and teams are not real, and the player models are stylized with exaggerated proportions and personalities. These players callously flaunt when it’s their turn to throw or swing, and they also tend to either become visibly upset or throw temper tantrums when things don’t go their way. This can even result in bats being shattered right on the base plate and pitchers getting smacked in the face when a batter’s aim is a little too straight. Super Mega Baseball 3 functions more like a cartoon, and it fits really well.
SMB3 features a few main game modes: Exhibition is a standard, single game. Franchise is where you’ll play through multiple seasons using the same team. Season is where you’ll play through a full single season, the length of which can be edited. And Elimination is a tournament-style mode where losing teams are knocked out and winning teams compete to be the single champ. While these modes aren’t vastly different from one another, they do at least allow you to experience the formula in specific ways. And with the overall goal of ranking higher being ever present, there’s always a sense of motivation to keep honing your skills.
You can also have some friendly competition in person with local multiplayer. The game features online play as well in some modes, such as Pennant Race where you’re put in a 1v1 match against another player to place the best record in your division. There are also global rankings. I was able to find a match online and it ran rather well, though I was defeated with a difference in score larger than I’m willing to admit.
The gameplay mechanics are about the same as in the recently released RBI Baseball 20. But that one is more of a simulator. Super Mega Baseball 3 is more forgiving and will nudge you along in the right direction to try and make things easier for more casual players. That said, there are a lot of mechanics to keep track of. After all, each aspect of a baseball game is represented here: pitching, batting, fielding, and base running. So, as a game progresses, you have to keep in mind the different controls for all four parts. I did frequently glance at the control guide; it would’ve been nice if it were tucked away in a corner of the screen just to make things easier. That said, when it flows, the results feel satisfying enough.
A helping hand
As I mentioned, Super Mega Baseball 3 does have the tendency to nudge players along. For instance, aiming while batting is auto-assisted, thus allowing you to mainly focus on timing. There are also two different ways to pitch or bat, with focus on power or timing. Each type is accessible by a simple button press, allowing players to pick whichever one they prefer on the fly. That said, there is still some technicality to the experience.
Each team has its own specialty, and each player on those teams has different stats. The players are even affected by surrounding conditions. For instance, the pressure of the pitcher becomes greater when base runners are able to secure positions on the field. Pitchers also deplete their stamina with every throw, and players, in general, can sustain injuries. Thus, while Super Mega Baseball 3 is very much an arcadey experience first, it manages to incorporate enough realistic elements to keep the game grounded, yet still very free to have its own unique identity.
Making it count with Super Mega Baseball 3
Super Mega Baseball 3 is certainly not trying to be a downright authentic virtual baseball experience. It does get the job done at providing a more lighthearted approach to the beloved sport, allowing certain things that wouldn’t hit home in a real game (see how long this next pun took to get here?). If you want baseball on Switch that’s more accessible to just about everyone and can even generate a few laughs, Super Mega Baseball 3 is worth some consideration.
A review code was provided by the publisher.