Sports games with cartoonish graphics usually have unrealistic gameplay that takes many liberties with
the rules of the sport.
However, BASEBALL 9 is an exception as it incorporates a cutesy art style while trying its best to provide a proper baseball experience.
Featuring fast-paced gameplay, different ways to play, and plenty of customization – the game has the potential to be a great addition to the genre.
But the million-dollar question always arises – did the developers do a good job at putting all that potential to good use? Let's find out.
The gameplay and controls of BASEBALL 9 are simple to understand.
There are two on-screen buttons on the left and right sides that are present in both the batting and pitching segments.
When pitching, you have to try to make your opponent miss their shots by carefully aiming the ball towards your team's catcher. The left button controls the angle, and the right button is for throwing the ball.
When batting, the buttons still act similarly as the left side helps you set up your angle and type of shots – while the right side is for readying your player for the swing and eventually hitting the ball when it comes at you.
Aside from playing the game manually - there are also other options available.
Firstly, you can choose to skip the entire match and let the AI play on your behalf, which quickly gives you the outcome and any rewards that would have been won when playing manually.
Secondly, you have the option to skip entire segments of pitching and batting in the middle of a match whenever you want, and the game uses the statistics to determine if you would have performed positively or not.
All of these options are great to have because of one thing – the game’s coaching system.
If you just want to play the baseball part of the game, then you’ll have a great time because the gameplay is very entertaining, fairly realistic, and extremely fluid. Whether you’re pitching or batting, it’s always fun to see how the AI will react to you in different ways, and scoring home runs or outing the opponent team is always a satisfying experience.
However, the game’s coaching system is very detailed too and allows players to create and customize their dream teams in any way that they want. So, even if you don’t want to play the matches on your own and instead want to focus on unlocking the best players, upgrading them, and customizing them – the game has you covered with the aforementioned options and you can watch your players perform on their own or just skip for the results straight away.
The customization of your teams includes a lot of cosmetic options that change almost everything that you see, such as faces, gloves, uniforms, and more. The upgrading system is also fleshed out and having the right gear can change things significantly when facing difficult opponents. Of course, this adds a bit of a pay-to-win aspect to the game because you will start losing if you don’t keep your characters sharp.
As usual, this means that you can either grind for long hours in order to unlock better gear, or you can spend real-world money to get the advantages immediately.
This aspect is unavoidable in most free-to-play video games so BASEBALL 9 cannot be blamed too much for it. And for what it’s worth, it does not have any annoying ads unless you wish to see them yourself.
The graphics of BASEBALL 9 are excellent and easily one of the best things about the game.
It has a very attractive art style that has a lot of detail in the character models, which includes both their clothes and facial expressions. The fields are very detailed too and populated with everything that you’d expect to see in real life, which gives the game more visual appeal.
And the one thing that this game does surprisingly well over its peers is how it handles the crowd. In most games, the crowd is usually just low-res images with little to no animation so as to not slow the game down, and it saves time and effort to do that during development.
But here, there are actual (although minimally detailed) character models in the crowd that have proper animations and reactions to how the game is playing out.
It’s a very good-looking mobile game with tons of customizable options, and that bundled with good gameplay is nothing short of a treat.
The UI of the game is amazingly well-made and feels very professional. The game already feels like something you’d play on a console and having such a smooth and competent interface just contributes beautifully to that feel.
The polish is great too as the game feels very fluid to play and is immaculately optimized. It looks great, plays great, and there’s no technical issue that I personally found.
There are multiple announcer voices that you can choose from and all the sound effects are high-quality too. Whether you hit a normal shot or a home run, all of it sounds great and adds to the overall enjoyment.
BASEBALL 9 is a very entertaining and competent baseball game that has attractive visuals and remarkable polish.
It can be a bit too difficult at times and its pay-to-win elements are always lurking around the corner – but this isn’t a competitive mobile game that would be ruined by that aspect and grinding will still get you the items that you want.