by Erik Johnsen
Exploring the world of MLB Stickball is a short tour, indeed. With simple controls and a playful design, this interesting take on pro baseball mixed with “streetball meets backyard baseball” lets you jump into a game quickly.
In single player, you start by choosing your favorite ball club, which comes with one superstar by default and a selection of amateurs with other pros to be unlocked later. You then set out on the Tour playing other teams in the majors. The locations vary from team to team, such as in the streets of Brooklyn, the beaches of Los Angeles, or under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. As you move from one location to another, the game reminds you of what areas are foul, how to get extra bases, and what is required for a home run.
You always start out as the pitching team, regardless of who is ‘home.’ You have four pitches to choose from: Fastball, Curveball, Bounce pitch, and Lob. Depending on your pitcher’s skill and power, your ball can pretty much go anywhere within a dotted circle that surrounds your target point. I found that striking out batters was very easy to do, and racked up several “K’s” during the six innings of play in any given game.
Batting has simple controls too, but is a little harder to get attuned to the timing. You press one button for a contact hit, and another button for a power hit. Hitting various objects in the field of play, such as vehicles or structures give you extra bases.
You don’t, however, have any control over the fielders or baserunners. You cannot make any double plays, or throw a runner out at home plate from the outfield. The game was evidently designed to play quick and easy.
The game does offer a set of collectible baseball cards. You buy a pack of three cards for 50 points. You earn points during games for various tasks such as strikeouts, home runs, extra base hits, etc.
For 800 Microsoft points, this game is something I would recommend skipping if you’re a hardcore baseball fan. For little kids, this game could be fun for a while as you collect the baseball cards with the points you earn during games, but the pricetag is very steep for that. The overall playability is pretty short unless you have some friends to play against over Xbox Live.
Easy pick up & play controls
Simple pitching interface
Good for little kids (if they can hold a controller)
Whitewashed cutout “placeholders” for players on base just feels lazy
Poor sense of depth makes hitting difficult
Boring for anyone older than 8
Married Gamers Report Card: C-