Publisher: MLB Advanced Media
Release Date: September 5th, 2017
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
When R.B.I. Baseball released on the Switch, while I had never had a chance to play it on the other systems, I had nothing but negative opinions about it. Going in I was expecting the worst and hoping for something that was at least playable if nothing else. Leaving it I can say it certainly is not as bad as most will say, and it’s a lot of fun assuming you go in with the right expectations.
If you pick this up assuming you are getting a portable version of MLB: The Show, you are going to leave thinking this is the worse game in the world. R.B.I. Baseball is an arcade style game that brings you the bare minimum. It has very limited modes, which include Exhibition, Season, and Preseason with nothing else. The season does include full stat tracking so you at least have that to go with it. While there is no online play, it does feature roster updates, with one available when you start for the first time.
Actual gameplay wise, the game again brings the bare minimum. If you ever played the original R.B.I. Baseball on the NES, not much has changed. Pitching includes only three pitch types with the option to control the curve of them. Batting gives you limited options as well with being able to pull the joystick back for more flyballs, tilt it forward for more grounders, and bunt. You do control the fielding and you can control your baserunners, including being able to steal or pickoffs stealers. There is no commentary, though you’ll at least here the umpire call plays.
It probably doesn’t sound to appealing with the lack of features, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a lot of fun to play. I love baseball, but some baseball games just get to complicated for me to be able to get into. This has easy pick up and play controls that I could (mostly) get the hang of within a couple of games. It was something I could do local play with ease (single Joy-Con controls included.) Some might be turned off by the lack of announcer, but for the majority when I play in handheld mode, I’m not listening to the game either. When playing a season, keeping track of stats would be a deal breaker for me, but it does a good job on this to keep me interested.
If you like arcade style sports games you can jump into quickly, this actually is good. As a game you can pick up and take with you to play on the go, it works. However, if you’re a purist who wants control over every aspect of your pitch or swing, definitely stay away. As long as you go in knowing what you’re getting with R.B.I. Baseball, it can keep your interest while you’re watching the season wind down.