The Super Mega Baseball series is a new one for me, but Super Mega Baseball 2 (SMB2) has a lot going for it. While it doesn’t feature any MLB teams and/or players, there is still plenty to love!

Great gameplay is paramount to any game’s success, and baseball games are no different. SMB2 shines with its attention to detail in all aspects of hitting, pitching and fielding, without sacrificing accessibility. This, by far, is the game’s greatest strength. Hitting, for instance, gives the player a nice angle on the incoming pitch. It’s almost like you’re seeing the pitch from the catcher’s perspective. You’ll see the pitch’s break angle and be able to time your swing effectively. There’s also a circle that appears where the pitch will end up crossing the plate. From this circle, if you so choose, you can move the left joystick in any direction to further adjust where you want to swing. If you want to try for a home run, move the joystick down so you’ll get under the ball ever-so-slightly. If you want to make sure you hit a ground-ball or a line-drive, move the joystick up so the bat gets on top of the ball. None of those fine-tune adjustments are needed as players can simply time the pressing of the swing button to get a solid hit. But the ability to tune your swing how you want is a welcome feature for baseball fans.

Pitching and fielding feature similar amounts of depth. While pitching, you can select any type of pitch your pitcher has available (just like in real life, some pitchers can only throw 2-3 types of pitches): curveball, slider, changeup, 2-seam fastball, 4-seam fastball, cutter, and the list goes on. Each pitch has a particular amount of break to it. You can select where you want to pitch with a great deal of freedom, and then once selected, there’s a secondary target that you’ll need to line up in order to execute your pitch perfectly. It’s a really satisfying system. For fielding, your players will mostly go for balls automatically without having to move them directly, but you can dive/move for the ball in a variety of ways. If it’s close to the outfield fence, you can time your jump to try to rob a home run. You can also dive on the ground or jump in the air in the infield to snag a line-drive. Whether you’re an experienced baseball gamer or not, the game caters to both audiences very well.

Baserunning also features some nice ways to control the action. You can steal bases, advance/retreat all runners at once or advance/retreat individual runners for finer control. However, advancing/retreating individual runners didn’t always work as well as I would’ve liked. You end up using a combination of the left and right joysticks in tandem and it can take awhile to get everything just right. You might end up sending a runner when you didn’t want to or retreating a runner at an inopportune time. I got myself into quite the pickle several times before the controls really settled in. While the baserunning wasn’t quite as intuitive, the rest of the gameplay systems are top-notch.

Moving on to the presentation, Super Mega Baseball 2 features really solid performance. I didn’t notice any slow-downs except for a couple times in online play which appeared to just be connection related. The overall art-style isn’t really my cup of tea though. It reminds me of the N64 era of big-head modes and games like NFL Blitz. Each player has very exaggerated characteristics and can look really goofy. It was hard for me to really build any connection to the players–I found myself preferring to play with my favorite team (the Atlanta Braves) in RBI Baseball 19 than sitting down for a game in SMB2. Each game is quite different from one another but I loved being able to play with real-life MLB players/teams.

One major component SMB2 has over RBI Baseball 19 is the ability for online multiplayer. I enjoyed this a lot more than expected. Knowing I was playing against another person really made the baseball games more interesting, rather than just playing against AI. The game even supports online cross-play with other systems! Local multiplayer is also supported for those who want some couch multiplayer.

Overall, Super Mega Baseball 2 is a great package–there is a ton of depth, plenty of customization options for players, teams, and leagues, and online multiplayer. If you can get around the art-style, the poor soundtrack and umpire sound effects, the game is really a ton of fun. If you’re a baseball fan, it’s definitely worth checking out and being able to play on-the-go makes this the definitive version of the game.