for my last game of the year, i decided to wrap up my experience with rusty’s real deal baseball for 3DS, one of the few games released this past year that i actually played through, and one of nintendo’s first forays into free-to-play gaming. the game has a unique hook: although the 10 individual minigames supposedly have a base price of $4, the game features in-game haggling whereby you can reduce the price of the set from $40 down to a much more reasonable $16. the frame story involves a middle-aged dog trying to revitalize his business as well as repair his family life, and although it serves as a cute device the “story” such as it was didn’t really increase my compulsion to buy more minigames.
the minigames themselves have a very warioware type of aesthetic (apparently totilo at kotaku thought so too), which i enjoyed, and each one (approximately $2 each) distills some aspect of baseball (hitting, catching, even umpiring) and presents a set of 50 basic and 50 advanced mini-challenges plus two endless modes. i played through the majority of three of the minigames (bat & switch, quick catch, and feel the glove), and there’s a good amount of variety within each set, there’s a uniformly high level of polish, and the controls in general feel pretty good (although some take getting used to). because of the arcade nature of the challenges, there’s a distinct feeling of pointlessness of achieving them since given enough time you’ll get it eventually (a classic case of “i could be learning to be a pro basketball player in the time it would take to complete this challenge”). with games like wii sports of wii fit i’m more willing to waste time on pointless challenges since i’m also at least burning a few calories, but in this case without a compelling story or goal my need to be a completionist just wasn’t enough for me to want to finish all the advanced challenges (some of which will have your blood boiling and rage quitting in anger, and apparently i’m not the only one who felt that way). i found the challenges were also not really suited for short “pick up and play” type bursts, due to the amount of concentration required.
i didn’t feel the need to pay for the rest of the minigames (especially since some of the ones i was more interested in were the ones that didn’t unlock more of the story), so i’ve set this one aside for now. if i were more interested in baseball i could imagine this would’ve been an easier sell to me, and although i didn’t end up seeing the game through to the “end” i enjoyed the time i did spend with it overall. nintendo would’ve gotten more dollars out of me if they had just released this as a single package, but i love that they tried a different and completely unique approach to micro-transacations, and i can definitely see myself picking up a couple more at some point in the future.
haggle your way to victory with these rusty’s real deal baseball links:
– this post at gamefaqs has the exact combination of discounts to use to get the lowest possible prices for the four non-story minigames, although i haven’t verified it
– miiverse page
– official site with videos of each minigame
– complimentary fan review at kotaku
– review at nintendolife.com
– list of unlockables at gamefaqs including info on streetpass bonuses
– a look at some localization changes at tinycartridge.com
– entry at wikipedia