As someone who’s played baseball his entire life, the idea of virtual reality (VR) is always intriguing. The ability to be placed in a video game, where you can play your favorite sport without having to leave the comfort of your own home, is something that I’ve dreamed about for years. It didn’t matter if it was baseball or another sport; adding another way to enjoy sports on my TV was appealing no matter what. When Oculus announced their latest headset at GDC 2019, the Quest, not only did I pay attention but one game, in particular, caught my eye: Totally Baseball.
The premise behind this game is simple: basic gameplay with an arcade-style feel. However, after spending some time with it myself and seeing other reactions, the game has a bit more than that. As described by Oculus: “Totally Baseball is a full-featured baseball experience, featuring highly realistic gameplay and fast-paced action designed to appeal to casual gamers as well as hard-core sports fans.”
According to the developer, there are various ways you can play this game too. You can face off against an AI opponent or another player in competitive or co-op modes; both of which feature multiple difficulty settings. Also included is a batting practice mode where you’ll get unlimited pitches thrown at you. Quite honestly, this alone was pretty impressive for me because I’ve never had access to something similar before. It’s also worth noting that the control scheme allows for every single pitch to be thrown at different speeds, too.
There are two main gameplay modes in Totally Baseball which are Play Now and Season. The former allows you to quickly jump into a game with predetermined teams or players while the latter matches you up against others for an entire season if you so choose. More importantly, though is that this game is modelled after real-life MLB players but instead of their names being used, they have numbers — 1 through 30 in most cases. While I’d normally say this aspect isn’t great because it makes it hard to relate to something specific, when combined with arcade-style scoring, it actually works well here.
Also included are various customization options such as team logos, jerseys and even mascots. You can also change rules like adding weather and time which is a feature I really like because it adds another level of realism and strategy. You can also customize the ballpark you play in, too!
One of my favorite aspects of this game is actually its announcer, Jim Hughson. The Canadian broadcaster has been calling games for over 30 years and he brings that experience to Totally Baseball with his calls throughout each at-bat or pitch. Those who aren’t familiar with him may not think much about it but considering the fact that these moments are where your eyes should be focused on nothing else, having someone who knows what they’re talking about providing quality commentary makes a world of difference.
I could go on all day about other small details such as how the friendly scoreboards will display information like how many strikeouts or walks a player has within a game, but I think it’s more important to experience this for yourself.
After spending some time with it and seeing reactions from others who played it as well, the Oculus Quest port of Totally Baseball is everything you want in this type of game. It may not be as complete as its console counterparts but that doesn’t stop it from being something special. If you’re looking for something fun to play on your new favorite VR headset, definitely keep an eye out for this one!
Totally Baseball is available now exclusively on the Oculus Quest (and will also be available later this year when Oculus Go) for $29.99. You can read additional details about this title here.