Game 1 of the MLB World Series between the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants kicks off today, and to celebrate the MLB-developed R.B.I. Baseball 14 ($4.99) is on sale for the first time since its release back in April, down to just $1.99. The original R.B.I. Baseball series was a mainstay of the sports genre on 8- and 16-bit game systems, but had laid dormant since its last entry in 1995. This year, MLB’s in-house development studio Major League Baseball Advanced Media looked to resurrect the series with a modern coat of paint, while keeping the gameplay simple and arcadey as a throwback to the series’ origins.
In that sense, R.B.I. Baseball 14 is a home run (sorry, I couldn’t help it). It keeps the mechanics, and along with that the interface and controls, nice and simple. This is a game about batting and pitching at their most basic levels, and it’s a lot of fun. Sports games have become incredible facsimiles of their real-world counterparts as gaming and technology has evolved, which can be a great thing, but it can also be overwhelming for those not looking for that incredibly deep sports simulation experience. R.B.I. Baseball 14 kicks it old-school, and I really love it for that.
The flip side of all this is that R.B.I. Baseball 14 perhaps kicks it a little too old-school at times, and suffers a bit for it. It’s a very bare-bones game, and it sorely needs some sort of long-term career or dynasty mode. As it is now, you can pop in for an exhibition game, play through a full season including the postseason and world series, or simply jump straight into the postseason. Those 3 modes are it, and I definitely crave something more since the core gameplay is so fun. Also, it’d be nice if MLB Advanced Media kept the rosters more up-to-date, and as an iPhone 6 owner I’d love an update so the game could run in native resolution.
Those negatives I mentioned are pretty nitpicky though, as even at its original price of $4.99 R.B.I. Baseball 14 is a lot of fun. For its sale price of two bucks, it’s definitely worth checking out if you want to get into the baseball spirit with the start of the World Series tonight.