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Big in Japan: Japan's Biggest Sporting Series Returns With Live Powerful Pro Baseball

Hit A Home Run!
Product: Live Powerful Pro Baseball | Publisher: Konami | Format: Android, iPhone, iPad
Live Powerful Pro Baseball Android, thumbnail 1
In Big in Japan, we take a look at a game that is currently topping the charts in Tokyo, to see what mobile gaming looks like across the pond (and then a few more ponds).

If you ever want to know what's big in Japan, you'll never have to look much further than Baseball. Followed by millions, Baseball is easily the country's national sport.

Not only does the entire country tune in in to the national league, but for the annual high school tournament too.

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So, with the new Baseball season just around the corner, it'll come as no surprise to learn that one game currently floating around the top of the highest grossing mobile charts, is the latest entry in Konami's long running Live Powerful Pro Baseball series.

Long running really doesn't do this series justice. In fact it's actually one of the longest running series in Japan's gaming history.

Beginning with the initial Super Famicom release back in 1994, the series now boast over 80 releases across 19 different platforms. Although the grand majority of these have never been released outside of Japan.

Live Powerful Pro Baseball isn't the only Baseball series available, not even on iOS and Android.

So, what exactly is it about this particular series that's not only made this latest release a hit, but also made the series so long-lasting?

Well, there's its unique character design, something that's retained in its entirety through this latest mobile release.

Unlike sporting sims here in the West, which focus on realism over everything, Live Powerful Pro Baseball actually takes the opposite route.

Characters are short, with wide heads and very distinct eyes and eyebrows. Additionally, much like Rayman, their limbs are not connected to their bodies.

Right from the start this gives the series, and this latest mobile release, the feeling that it has come straight out of the pages of a manga. And it taps into that sense of escapism that prevails in Japanese gaming.

Rather than mirror images of their real life counterparts, the characters you'll be using aren't actually based on real life professionals - they're made up characters with their own abilities and characteristics.

And that's symptomatic about another aspect of the game that delineates it from traditional sports sims - its genre.

Live Powerful Pro Baseball isn't just a sports game, it's an RPG crossed with a sports simulator, with some life simulation mechanics thrown in for good measure.

This primarily comes through the Success mode.

Much like a traditional season mode, the aim here is to take your custom character from an average high school player all the way up to the big leagues.

Given the focus on story and RPG, it's here you'll find the meat of the narrative, as well as plenty of training and levelling up. That's all on top of the actual Baseball of course.

Aside from Success mode, this latest mobile release also retains the Stadium, the standard match play mode for those who just want to hit some balls rather than delve into their character's story.

Alongside that there's Challenge mode, which in typical mobile fashion rewards you with premium items for your achievements on and off the field.

Ultimately, Live Powerful Pro Baseball may seem like a game that doesn't really know who or what it wants to be.

But it knows exactly what it is, and why it's popular. What's more, Konami and has been constantly refining this unique brand of sports gameplay for over two decades.

Unfortunately though, whilst the series knows how to sell itself in the domestic market, you shouldn't get your hopes up of seeing it released over here in the West.

This is especially true when it comes to those of us outside of North America, where Baseball isn't even on the sporting radar of.

Nevertheless, whilst a big budget release of what could be niche game has always been hard, this latest mobile release could be just the ticket for those of us wanting something a little different to FIFA and Madden.

Reviewer photo
Simon Drake 15 February 2016
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