Screenshot by MLB

MLB Home Run Derby VR Review | Not Entirely a Grand Slam

Not quite major league, not quite minor league.

The thought of standing at bat inside a baseball stadium while the roar of the crowd behind me reaches a feverish high is intimidating, even in the world of VR. I’ve got a minute and a half to send as many baseballs flying into the crowd and I’m ready to aim for the highest score possible. This arcade sports title brings some heat, but could also use a bit of a curveball to spice things up.

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Stay At Home For The Ball Game

After a quick tutorial, I was placed inside the clubroom, where I had access to a variety of customization tools before heading out onto the field. MLB Home Run Derby VR has a plethora of customization options, all unlockable through regular gameplay—I didn’t need to worry about being nickeled and dimed to unlock my favorite accessories; I could earn them all by leveling up.

From there, I could select the field of my choice and head out onto the field, ready for the action to start. Playing on Meta Quest 3, I was disappointed by the visual quality overall — fans in the stands the look like cardboard cutouts are one thing. Still, a complete lack of anti-aliasing and generally poor visual quality makes the game look dated, even by VR standards. After playing through games like Asgards Wrath II and Racket Club VR, MLB Home Run Derby VR looks amateur by comparison, and it immediately took me out of the experience.

The gameplay, on the other hand, can be rather fun. If you’ve played Wii Sports at any time in your life and Baseball was your favorite thing to experience, you can stop reading this review now and go purchase a copy of this game. MLB Home Run Derby takes the experience of baseball and boils it down to the basics — knocking as many balls out of the park as possible. I didn’t need to worry about rounding bases, or even pitching for that matter — I was placed solely into the shoes of the batter, and that was the only role I was allowed to fulfill.

A Cracking Good Time

No matter the field that you pick, the general gameplay loop is the same — swing, aim, and hope for a solid hit out of the park. Each field has a variety of multiplayer targets that I could aim for, making the general gameplay loop more enjoyable overall and adding some additional spice to each field. The more points I could score, the faster I would level up and the more accessories I could unlock for my player.

I found it to be rather exhilarating trying to aim my hits perfectly to get the best score possible, especially since chasing a high score in any game is always a blast to me. Each field has a different layout of where these multipliers are, so you’ll need to make sure that you’re always aiming true before taking a big swing and a miss.

It’s also a great light exercise game if you need to get up and move. After playing for a few hours, my arm was actually a bit sore, and I was getting a lot more into it than originally anticipated. Trying to put true power behind every swing may not be necessary, but I would lose myself to the ballfield whenever I played.

Alongside the single-player portion, which gave me one minute and 30 seconds to hit as many home runs as possible, I could create a custom lobby with an extended time limit or play multiplayer both online or against some bots. The game’s online portion sounds fun — imagine challenging a friend to see who the greatest of all time is in this virtual ballpark and finally settling the score. Bots are also fun to challenge, but the luster runs out quickly.

For those interested in stats, MLB Home Run Derby VR is full of them. Much like Call of Duty and its K/D ratio, you can keep track of all of your scores so you can brag to your buddies or challenge other players to an online leaderboard. It helps keep the competitive spirit alive, even if we aren’t all in the same space.

There’s No Peanuts Or Cracker Jacks Here

There are some general faults with the game that I’d like to bring up, mainly a lack of things to do. I wish that multiplayer would let me challenge my friends and toss out a few pitches their way, rather than us just both batting at the same time for the highest score. It feels like a missed opportunity, and it’s something that I hope comes in a future update.

I hope that the visual quality is also addressed in a future update, as the Meta Quest 2 and 3 can both put out much better visuals than what is on display here. MLB Home Run Derby looks presentable on other platforms — even if it’s not the most impressive VR title. It’s a little jarring coming from other games on the headset into this one, but if you can look past the dated visuals, the gameplay loop is engaging and entertaining.

I do applaud the lack of microtransactions, as many sports games on other platforms tend to sell as many little items to players as possible. There are no purchaseable boosts here — you’ll need to depend on your power and your aim to get the most out of this one.

If the thought of hitting dingers out of the park sounds like a dream come true to you, then MLB Home Run Derby may be the perfect VR game. It does what it’s asked and provides baseball fans with the opportunity of a lifetime — but the compromised visual quality and lack of things to do make this a game that only the most dedicated baseball fans should look into.

If MLB sticks behind this game and adds additional features and modes in the future, it could be a Hall of Famer. As it stands currently, it’s a solid base hitter with room to grow.

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MLB Home Run Derby VR
If the thought of hitting dingers out of the park sounds like a dream come true to you, then MLB Home Run Derby may be the perfect VR game. It does what it's asked and provides baseball fans with the opportunity of a lifetime — but the compromised visual quality and lack of things to do make this a game that only the most dedicated baseball fans should look into.
Pros
  • Engaging Gameplay Loop
  • It's always fun hitting a solid dinger out of the park
  • No microtransactions in a sports game is always a win
Cons
  • Dated visuals
  • Lack of modes and things to do
  • Multiplayer modes lacking
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review. Reviewed on Meta Quest 3.

Prima Games is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission.?Learn more
Author
Shaun Cichacki
As a fan of RPGs, Action & Retro titles, Shaun has been gaming since he was a young boy. With an overwhelming obsession involving Metal Gear Solid and Pizza Tower, you know you're in for a wild ride when it comes to things he's writing about.
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