Der nir nir nir nir nir, der nir nir nir nir nir, der nir nir nir nir nir, NIR NIR, der nir nir nir nir nir, nir nir nir nir nir, nir nir nir, nir nir nir, nir nir, NIR NIR…
Get that song out of your head. That’s the R.B.I. theme, in text form. And, like me, you’re going to be humming it all god damn weekend thanks to that lede. Luckily (or not), it’s only played the first few seconds you boot up the new R.B.I. Baseball 14 on the device or platform of your choosing.
As you may have heard, MLB Advanced Media – MLB’s sister company, owned by all 30 Major League teams, which runs MLB.com, MLB.tv, other streaming services and even some online properties – acquired the naming rights to Tengen’s R.B.I. Baseball series, which hasn’t been great since Nintendo. On Wednesday, MLBAM released their new version on Xbox (360 and One), PS (3 and 4), and IOS devices. All are essentially the same.
I downloaded the game on my iPhone and offer you this review:
I read Will Leitch’s review on Sports On Earth, and I agree with his assessment that things we’re nostalgic for are better left in the past. The original R.B.I. Baseball was great because we’d never seen anything like it before. We remember our good times with it and forget that it was an incredibly simplistic game that in no way could compete with modern standards. Unless, of course, the modern version of the game was built to be an addictive distraction and not an all-consuming experience.
And that’s just what MLBAM has managed to do with R.B.I. Baseball 14.
Everything that you loved about the original – the batter-pitcher showdowns, the quick pace of the game, the two-button control scheme – is all here. It’s bolstered by modern cartoony graphics, current rosters, and some overall refinement. Generally, I’m not a fan of touch-control games (read: I can’t stand them), but R.B.I. pulls it off nicely on IOS. There are swing and bunt buttons, you touch a base to throw to it, swipe to run to the next base, and use the “d-pad” to control your pitches. It works mostly flawlessly. Really. The only problem I had was getting runners to go to the next base– it wasn’t quite sensitive enough. Then again, that’s a problem I’ve always had with baseball games.
R.B.I. Baseball 14 is addictive. I wanted to play a few innings my first game and I wound up playing all nine, which takes about 20 minutes. At $5 on IOS, it’s a no-brainer purchase if you’re looking for a game to distract you when you have a free moment or to help you unwind after a day at work. It’s crazy easy to pick up and play, and the batter-pitcher showdowns are just as fun as you remember (though there’s no online play yet). At $20 on Xbox and PS? Eh. If you’re sitting at your TV, you’re better off playing MLB: The Show. R.B.I. is the perfect mobile game, but it’s more of a fun time-killer than a great game. So it might not be worthy of the console experience what with so many other choices at your disposal.
But as someone who rarely plays games on my iPhone or iPad, mostly because I can’t find anything other than flight simulators that are easy to pick up and play, R.B.I. gets the top spot in my rotation. Get it for your mobile device.