Tribal Baseball
| Tribal Baseball

Baseball is one of those sports that just seems a bit, well, dull. Americans might be turned off from our brand of football by the potential of bore draws, but that doesn't even compare to a sport where most swings of the bat don't even connect with the ball.

Tribal Baseball dispenses with all that potential tedium, and simply offers up masses of pure unadulterated fun. There are no tactical bunts or long dull pitching battles to worry yourself over here. It's simply a case of slogging every single ball as far as possible, and seeing the scoreboard tick over at a ridiculous rate.

Based in the fictional Tribe City, your simple task is to beat all the other rival tribes during a simple game of baseball so as to take over the city. Not quite running for mayor, but a hell of a lot more fun.

If you've experienced Player One's excellent Flintoff's Powerplay Cricket, Tribal Baseball works much in the same manner. Forget almost everything you know about baseball – there's absolutely zero sense of realism worked into the game.

You've no long line of batters to use, each with their own strike rate and unique skill points. Nope, here you have a single character to use, and up to 30 separate pitches to smack away, as long as you don't succumb to the old 'three strikes and you're out' deal.

Getting a nice meaty swing out of your avatar is pleasingly simple. You manoeuvre the little chap into position, using your 'sneaky peek' to learn where the next pitch is going to be aimed, then simply hold a button to charge up your swing, and let go once the ball's on its way. Easy.

It's not all about hitting the ball out of the stadium and bagging yourself a home run, though – mostly because the levels are based on the mean streets of Tribe City, so there's no pitch to run around. Instead, you simply hit the ball as hard as you can, and the game will hand you a set number of runs for each shot. The twist comes in the bonus items that are dotted all around the play area, each worth a number of runs if your struck ball happens to smack right into them.

But there's considerably more depth to the batting portion of the game than that. Tweaking your aim in relation to the direction and swing of each pitch is the key to bagging the highest number of runs. Working your way into a position so you can hit two or three bonus items at once is hugely satisfying.

Appropriately, pitching is also a simple affair. All you need to do is aim your pitch, prod a button to set the amount of curve on the ball, and let the pitcher do the rest of the work. Don't take your eye off the ball too quickly, however – a ball struck close enough to the pitcher can be caught by a swift button poke for an easy out for the home team.

If all this sounds familiar, it's essentially the exact same game mechanic as the aforementioned Flintoff's Powerplay Cricket. But the addition of caught balls is a handy little feature, as is the extra number of bonus items spread all over each play area.

Visually, each of these hastily knocked up pitches are glorious to look at, and some even feature unusually gorgeous weather effects. The game offers graphical variety, vibrant colour, and sprites onscreen that are remarkably detailed.

So is Tribal Baseball worth a swing? Definitely. It might be simple, and not half as complicated as a spot of rounders, but it's one of those sports titles you'll keep dipping into time and time again to pass a half hour before your lunch break's over.

Tribal Baseball

Baseball has never been so fun – or interesting – as this simplistic yet hugely playable street representation of the much-loved American sport