As a casual fan of baseball, I often find myself in need of a baseball game that is less a real life simulation of the sport and more a fun “arcadey” baseball game that defies the rules of the game. Toss in a few current and classic Nicktoons characters, and you now have my attention. There’s plenty to be said about Nicktoons MLB with the simple fact that there are virtually no reviews for this game on the net. Though it may not appeal to everyone, especially in this time where we are saving our money for the big releases to come, Nicktoons MLB is not the terrible, broken game you would expect.
[quote-right]Features real MLB players and teams but the overall feel of the game is “arcadey”.[/quote-right]Based on the title alone, you should know this is not a serious baseball game. It does feature real MLB players and teams but the overall feel of the game is “arcadey”. There are no team management options, no season mode; There are turbo pitches and turbo battings. It’s basically ‘The Bigs’ with Nicktoons characters substituting in for all the unknown players in the sport. So if you’re playing as the New York Yankees, you keep A.Rod and Jeter in the rotation but switch out Russell Martin for the best fry cook in Bikini Bottom.
There are a good mix of Nicktoons characters in the game. Some you might know and love, and others will have you googling their name just to know who the hell they are and what show they’re from. For the most part, the characters in the game are a good representation of classic and present Nicktoons characters, until you see pictures of Mr. Krabs, Rocko (Rocko’s Modern Life), the Rugrats babies, Arnold (Hey Arnold!) and more in the loading screen. I know this game is geared towards kids but I would have enjoyed seeing those characters again. But my point can basically be viewed as a “old man yells at cloud” moment.
[quote-left]…A good representation of classic and present Nicktoons characters[/quote-left]In the first few moments of the game, I found myself having more fun than I probably should have. After more than a few hours, that fun started to fade as the concept of Nicktoons characters in a baseball game became less exciting. Immediately I found the game to be too simple, even on the harder difficulties. I would basically strikeout ever batter I faced, and even found myself bunting during my at bats just so that the innings would play out faster. Not much fun in beating the CPU by 20-something points.
Like the difficulty, the overall game is easy to play. When you are pitching, you choose a pitch and try to fill the bar in that will determine the speed of the ball. With each strike and strikeout, your turbo meter begins to fill. The turbo meter will allow you to throw an even faster pitch or hit the ball out of the park for a homerun. Batting is simple enough; you can choose to make a contact hit or a power hit. The game is even kind enough to let you know if the pitch is out of the batting zone. One of the most confusing things in baseball games is choosing with on base runner is running where. Nicktoons MLB simplifies that as well, allowing you to control every on base runner with any of the given face buttons.
[quote-right]Despite the “better with Kinect” logo on the boxart, I found the Kinect controls dreadful.[/quote-right]Despite the “better with Kinect” logo on the boxart, I found the Kinect controls dreadful. With Kinect controls, Nicktoons MLB gives you control of your pitches and swings, and that’s about it. I guess that’s good that I didn’t have to fake run. I often found myself swinging my hand as a pitcher would with the results being nothing. My at bats with Kinect were similar, I would swing as one would and I would miss the pitch for a strike. Even going through the menus with Kinect felt long winded and tiring.
Thinking back on my time with Nicktoons MLB, I think I enjoyed the easy achievements more than I did the game. In all seriousness, Nicktoons MLB offers a short burst of fun but just isn’t consistent. There is hardly enough content here to justify a full price purchase. It has only been a week and I have already done everything I could with the game. Though I did find it fun at times, it’s less fun than playing Gears 3 at the time.
This review was based on a retail copy of the game for the Xbox 360 provided by 2k Play.