Konami’s long-running Power Pros franchise – perhaps better known by its Japanese names PawaParu or Jikkyou Powerful Pro Yakyuu – has received Western releases in the past, but has generally remained exclusive to Asian territories over the years. The release of WBSC eBaseball: Power Pros is noteworthy because it’s available worldwide, then – and it also costs just £0.79/$0.99.
That’s not a typing error by the way: the game costs less than a dollar, and has no microtransactions either. Presumably this is because the publisher is trying to test the waters to see if the international market may be interested in a full release; whatever the reason behind the business decision, it’s a great arcade sports title that we’d recommend for the price.
Now there are very obvious compromises given the low price point: the series’ staple Success mode, which sees you take a rookie to the big leagues in an RPG-style life simulation setting, is missing – and in fact, there aren’t any real single player modes at all. You can play offline against the CPU and there’s a practice option, but outside of that, there’s not really much to do solo.
Where the title shines is in online competition, with rotating tournaments testing your team building skills and pitting you against the rest of the world. We’ve only played against Japanese players thus far, but the net code is surprisingly sturdy, and there’s some decent depth to the arcade action – despite its underlying accessibility.
As we alluded to above, you’ll need to assemble a roster from a pool of pre-made players, all of which have unique attributes and skills. Some cost more to add to your team than others, so you’ll need to make tough decisions about whether you opt for a fierce starting pitcher or a more rounded bullpen. Customisation is deep, too, allowing you to create uniforms, logos, and much more.
While it does feel quite scrappy, and you will have to spend a bit of time setting the title up to your tastes, we reckon this is a fair trade given the ridiculously low price point. There is local multiplayer if you want to play with family and friends, which extends to a nifty little tournament mode, too. So, if you’re in the mood for some multiplayer baseball, you really can’t go wrong here.