PLAY BALL! MLB Bobblehead Pros is the latest XBLA release from Konami, and it’s a good one. So strap on some cleats and get your rally cap on, shake your head around a little, and get ready for some great arcade baseball action…with bobblehead dolls. If you can get past the head movement and unchanging facial expressions, then this baseball game is almost as good as it gets.
MLB Bobblehead Pros is everything you may expect from an arcade sports title, but better. Where other sports franchises fail on XBLA by making the games a little too simplified, MLB Bobblehead Pros lands right on the sweet spot. The game can be enjoyed by baseball game veterans, and newcomers alike. This is mostly due to the ability to turn batting/pitching assists on or off, giving you the chance to tune the game to play the way you want it to.
The offensive aspect of the game works extremely well. The batting is simple enough that your wife or girlfriend could come and pick it up and play, if you could talk them into it. You are defaulted to a contact swing, or with the press of the right trigger you can swing for the fences. After that it’s just a press of the A button and some good timing to get things started. Once you’re on the bases the game handles just a well with very responsive baserunners.
The defensive side of the game works great as well. The pitching is great. It’s not overly complicated like many retail baseball games have become while trying to chase the realistic experience. You just have to select your pitch, aim, and fire. From there it gets a little tricky. It’s hard to just where exactly the ball is rolling sometimes, so when you move your fielder to run up to the ball it shoots right past you. This could be user error, but it happened quite a few times.
MLB Bobblehead Pros features a Season Mode. While I’m sure there are some gamers out there who will actually play through every game of the season, it’s not for everyone, but that’s okay! If you just want to set up your team and see how they do, or get achievements, there is an option to simulate every game of the season. This is a great addition for the people who want achievements, but don’t want to play hundreds of games to obtain them.
MLB Bobblehead Pros also has the basic Exhibition and Quickplay options for those of us who just want to pick up the game and play a few innings. It also has Homerun Derby and My Bobble options from the main menu, but when you scroll down to them it pops up as “Downloadable Content.”
This is disheartening, since it can’t be downloaded yet, and we are going to have to pay for DLC that’s probably already in the game, since it’s included in the menu. UPDATE: The DLC for these two modes is now available for an extra $5. The DLC also includes three new achievements for an extra fifty gamerscore. The DLC is a little disheartening since the items were already included in the main menu, meaning they’re probably already in the game, and you’re being charged to unlock them.
MLB Bobblehead Pros features a variety of multiplayer modes for gamers who wish to test their skills locally or online. A notable inclusion is that of Co-op Play. In this mode there are two different ways to play. The relationship testing tandem play, where both players control the same on screen player together, or the play in turn way where players take turns controlling the batter. Where both are equally original and rage inducing, the tandem play will make you question whether or not you want to remain friends with your co-op partner.
All in all Konami pretty much hit a homerun with MLB Bobblehead Pros. Yes I said it. If you’re looking for a quick and easy, pick up and play game, then this is the one for you. Granted that sports games aren’t for everyone, but you should not let that stop you from giving this game a chance, plus the $10 price tag is a nice break from the $15 that most games are charging. This is a quality game starring bobblehead dolls, that just doesn’t happen that often.
*Konami provided SlimGamer.com with a promo code for a review copy.