After a 10+ year hiatus, the Little League World Series Baseball franchise is back with a new 2022 edition. A strong comeback, or something that should have been left in the past? We checked out the PlayStation 5 version of the game, which is available for all major consoles as well as the PC. IguanaBee was the developer, while GameMill Entertainment is publishing.
When it comes to baseball and videogames, it’s hard to get around the MLB The Show franchise, especially now that it’s no longer exclusive to the PlayStation platform. But where that game is a fully featured simulation of sport, complete with all the licenses and stats you can possible want, there’s still room for a more approachable and arcade-like alternative. From that perspective alone, we were looking forward to going hands on with Little League World Series Baseball 2022, after having played the original games in the PS3/X360 days. After all, it’s been over two years since Super Mega Baseball 3 was released, and family-friendly baseball games are a bit of a rarity.
Little League World Series Baseball 2022 obviously features the Little League license, and this lets you play the bracket to see if you and your team can be crowned as champions. And while all the normal baseball rules apply, you can also make use of “super abilities” to pull off impressive moves that get you to base just in time by dashing for it or allowing you to briefly slow down time to make things a bit easier. Unlike MLB The Show, this one’s not going for realism.
The game does go for customization though, which lets you change the look of your players and your equipment. This lets you personalize the cartoon-like visuals a bit, which kids in particular will enjoy doing. You can also change the rules to your liking, making it more or less realistic as you please.
From the super moves, you’re probably gathered that Little League World Series Baseball 2022 veers more towards the arcade end of the spectrum. But while we realize that this approach often means you get a simplified version of the real deal, this game might be pushing that a bit too far. When you hit the ball to the outfield, it’s very rare to get a double out of it – let alone a triple, while normally that’d be an exciting part of the match. The game is also very thin on gameplay modes, and doesn’t support online multiplayer modes either.
Unfortunately that means that Little League World Series Baseball 2022 isn’t as good as Super Mega Baseball 3 when looking at more casual alternatives to games like MLB The Show, and while the visuals are generally attractive with well-animated characters and a cartoon-like aesthetic, the game is lacking when it comes to other animations. Little cutscenes that show players celebrating repeat too often, and don’t always seem to fit the player who was just at bat. So while Little League World Series Baseball 2022 plays an okay game of casual/arcade baseball, it’s in need of a little more polish to justify its asking price.