Baseball Riot is a sequel to the popular physics puzzler Tennis in the Face, however this time around you won't be serving the balls – you'll be striking them. You play as the ex-professional baseballer Gabe Carpaccio, who threw his whole career down the toilet when he became addicted to the energy drink known as Explodz. Now returning from his rehabilitation he is seeking revenge on anyone associated with the enticingly delicious sodas that ruined his bright future.
The gameplay is exactly the same as Tennis in the Face – which is no bad thing, by the way – with each level tasking you to knock out Explodz energy drinkers with baseballs that you ricochet around the room. The only puzzling thing about it are the angles, as some levels foes will be hidden behind obstacles and you are required to bounce the ball off other surfaces to reach them. It is the very simple concept of aiming and hitting balls that makes the title so appealing to all audiences, as you can just pick up and play the game with a lot or little gaming experience.
We found Baseball Riot to be a bright, colourful and very enjoyable experience that is best played in short bursts as the levels feel quite repetitive otherwise. This means that it's perfectly suited to the PlayStation Vita – the game's cross-buy compatible – but if you do stick with the PS4 version, then it's worth noting that the DualShock 4's touchpad is used to good effect.
The levels are laid out on a world map, in a grid, which is split into different regions, each adding a new type of enemy into the fray. For instance, Umpires wear armour on their fronts meaning that you will have to take them from the rear [Hm? – Ed] and Fielders have a glove on one hand which they use to catch your balls if you're not careful [Hm! – Ed]. These alternative foes mix up some otherwise bland and repetitive level designs and add in that much needed additional layer of difficulty. Each region on the map also has its own set of challenges for the 16 levels within it, some of which are straight-forward while others are more challenging.
The only major difference between Baseball Riot and its predecessor is the addition of star rankings for each stage. These rankings aren't presented in the way that you'd expect, though, as the three stars are placed in difficult to reach locations, demanding extreme ball control to collect them all. The stars aren't only there for replay value either as some regions require a certain amount of stars in order to let you pass over its borders.
Baseball Riot is a bright, colourful, physics puzzle game that will appeal to a wide audience with its simplistic gameplay, pick-up-and-play controls, and low price tag. It's very obvious similarities to Tennis in the Face prevent it from hitting a home run, but it comfortably makes it to third base. [If only we all had the same luck, eh? – Ed]