iLounge Game Spotlight: R.B.I. Baseball 14
The words “R.B.I. Baseball” instantly conjure up memories for gamers of a certain age and ilk. First released in Japan in 1986, R.B.I. Baseball has continued to attract a cult following over time, much like the Tecmo Bowl series. Now, the franchise has been updated and relaunched with R.B.I. Baseball 14 ($5) by MLB.com.
Staying true to its roots, R.B.I. Baseball 14 is focused on quick, arcade-style baseball gameplay. Gamers searching for advanced management strategies and deep gameplay should look elsewhere. R.B.I. Baseball is a throwback to old baseball games — controls are very simple. While pitching, users can control the speed and direction of their pitches, and that’s it. You won’t find four separate buttons for separate pitches here. You want to throw a changeup? Hold up on the onscreen joystick. Fastball? Hold down. It’s old school. The graphics aren’t flashy, but they do the trick, and the animations are smooth enough. A nine-inning game of R.B.I. takes about a half hour to play, and games can also be set for three or six innings.
Like the classic versions of the game, it does appear that players seem to perform similarly to their real life counterparts — it’s most notable in the speed of a player on the basepaths or when throwing fastballs with a power pitcher. Controls are a breeze to learn and use. Pitching, hitting, and throwing present few problems. Baserunning can be a bit much when multiple players are on base, but plenty of baseball games have that issue. Fielding can be adjusted within the settings. R.B.I. Baseball defaults to assisted fielding, which lets the computer guide your fielders, while letting you handle the throws. Considering that it’s not always easy to judge fly balls in the game, it’s not a bad option.
It’s not a simulation-style game, but one might expect R.B.I. to have a few more details than it does. Actual MLB ballpark wall dimensions seem to be in order, though the details behind the outfield fences aren’t really there. The game has the official licenses, and all the teams. It has plenty of real players, but far from all of them. The bench is short, as are the pitching staffs. Pitchers fatigue quickly, so you’ll have to go to your bullpen often to get through a nine-inning game. And forget about messing with your batting order.
Curiously, for such a fast-paced game, R.B.I. Baseball 14 offers no multiplayer options. To some gamers, this might not matter at all, but it would have been nice to include something. The season mode is also lacking, giving players virtually no management options. Again, it’s not a simulation sports game, but being able to pick the starters or throwing in a few wrinkles wouldn’t have been so bad. The season mode isn’t much different than playing exhibition mode. Gamers can also go straight to the playoffs with a postseason mode.
MLB.com deserves credit for sticking with R.B.I. Baseball’s true arcade feel. Not everyone wants to play a highly involved, 90 minute baseball video game, and they didn’t lose sight of that. However, as the game’s title notes, it is 2014. A few more things could have been added without diluting the game’s appeal — most notably, deeper rosters and a few other extra options. Old school baseball gamers who want a fun pick-up-and-play game should be pleased with the purchase, but anyone looking to go deeper will probably be disappointed dropping $5 on R.B.I Baseball 14.
iLounge Rating: B
- Apps of the Week: Epic Zen Garden, OmniFocus, Evernote, Pocket + more
- iLife and iWork apps to be pre-installed on 64/128 GB iPhone 6/6 Plus
- Apps of the Week: The Met, Iconic, Infinity Blade 1.4 + more
- The Room Three coming to iOS next spring
- Apple updates App Store Guidelines, reveals app rejection reasons
- Apps of the Week: Hyperlapse, BioShock, Asphalt 8 1.5 + more
If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods/iPhones/iPad or accessories, or if you sell or market iPod/iPhone/iPad products or services, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators.
- Apple quietly pulls back on 2014 CarPlay availability
- iPhone 6 Plus users reporting bending iPhones
- FXNOW channel comes to Apple TV
- Apple airs two new iPhone 6 ads
- Apple to reportedly shutter Beats Music? (Update: No)
- Report: iOS 8 adoption rate estimated at 30%
- Apple Watch to come in 4GB, 8GB versions?
- Apple hits 10 million iPhone 6, 6 Plus sales in first weekend
- Video First Look: iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
- iPhone 6, 6 Plus support 2.1A charging, ship with 1A adapters
- Belkin WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set
- Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
- Spigen F70Q 7000mAh Dual Portable Quick Charger
- Apple Inc. iOS 8
- ZeroChroma Folio-Slide for iPad mini
- Zoom iQ6 XY Stereo Microphone for iPhone + iPad
- Bowers & Wilkins P5 Series 2 headphones
- Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard K480
- Cambridge Audio Bluetone 100 Bluetooth Speaker
- Cambridge Audio Go V2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 8.0
- Multi-Editorial: On Apple’s iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus + Apple Watch
- What’s New In Apple TV 7.0
- What’s New in iTunes 12
- iLounge Picks: Five Great Summer Party Speakers
- Editorial: Endings And Beginnings
- Live From CE Week 2014: Brand New iPad, iPhone + Mac Accessories!
- What’s New In iOS 8 For iPad, iPhone + iPod touch
- iLounge Multi-Editorial: WWDC 2014’s iOS 8, OS X Yosemite + More
- The Complete Guide to Apple TV Channels