Major League Baseball pros join the Backyard Kids for a one-of-a-kind sports experience! Young baseball fans can pick today's hottest stars - Alex Rodriguez, Alfonso Soriano and 14 other pros, all playing as kids. Do it all: choose lineups and team logos, select ball fields, and control all of the exciting 3D action! With wacky power-ups and fun surprises, kids are just a home run away from becoming hardball heroes!
--From the GBA Backyard Baseball 2006 instruction manual.
"Backyard Baseball 2006" is an arcade-like baseball game seemingly geared towards a younger audience. "Backyard Baseball" is known for using a player roster featuring kid versions of MLB players, as well as 55 neighborhood kid characters. While its sandlot feel seems geared for children, "Backyard Baseball 2006" features incredible depth of play, much like its predecessor. "Backyard Baseball 2006" stays true to the series winning formula, while adding a couple of new bells and whistles.
"Backyard Baseball 2006" features better graphics than the earlier games, it's still cutesy cartoon graphics, but the fields are more colorful, and well defined, incredibly helpful when it comes to working the field on defense. The fielding system has been tweaked, and fly balls' landing locations are clearly displayed with a red target. The improvements to the field and fielding system coalesce to greatly enhance the enjoyment of playing defense, which I thought was the only weak part of the "Backyard Baseball" title.
As expected "Backyard Baseball 2006" features a huge stable of players, and MLB teams to choose from. The depth of player options was staggering. Players get to play on a number of different fields, from stadiums to fenced-in back yards, all of which look great. Player's can create and customize their own athlete, or take control of MLB players from all 30 professional teams. Player's can coach an MLB team through a 16 or 32 game season, player's can even customize the team uniforms. The waters of "Backyard Baseball 2006" run incredibly deep, enough to spend the 15 hours it takes to get through a season seem like 15 minutes. Unfortunately, there was one improvement that was begging to be made that was looked over in the sequel, the music and sound. The sound and music aren't horrible, but they don't do a great job of supporting the gameplay and immersing the gamer in the experience, but "Backyard Baseball 2006" is such an over achiever in every other way you will hardly notice.
"Backyard Baseball 2006" gameplay is sweet and simple. Both intuitive and responsive. Power-ups can be earned by full filling certain gameplay requirements, like hitting a homerun off of a crazy pitch. There are several different modes to play, and when conquered will unlock additional fields, MLB players, and upgrade abilities. "Backyard Baseball 2006" improves on the stellar series, transcends the sports game genre, and cemented its position as one of my top 5 favorite games on the Console Classix site.
"Backyard Baseball 2006" allows gamers to choose how deeply they delve into the game's content through the unique modes of play. Players can play pickup games, or participate in home run derbies and fielder challenges, or they may elect to participate in a full season, taking on the responsibilities of a couch and manager as well as the task of playing 32 full games.
All of the modes unlock content, ability upgrades, and power-ups, both by completing the modes, and by achieving gameplay goals such as making a double or triple play, or tagging out a runner trying to steal a base. Achievements are communicated to the gamer in the form of messages that appear before the start of the ball game. Some of the power-ups include metal bats (which automatically hit a homerun), and the fire-ball (automatic strike).
Gamers can customize every aspect of "Backyard Baseball 2006". The length of games, innings, and season are adjustable. The gamer can also customize player uniforms, and abilities. There are three different difficulties that the modes can be played in: ROOKIE, PRO, and ALLSTAR. The gamer can also elect to turn the stamina and pitch locators off according to the gamer's preference.
The player gets the option to select what kind of pitch, or hit they wish to execute prior to the start of the play.
Progress is recorded through a save feature.
|Up||Select pitch type / Select bat|
|Down||Select pitch type / Select bat|
|Left||Move pitch locator / Select Batting Stance / Change runner direction|
|Right||Move pitch locator / Select Batting Stance / Change runner direction|
|A Button||Select pitch / Swing bat / Throw ball to fielder / Advance runner|
|B Button||Cancel pitch / Retreat Runner|
|R Button||Hold to steal base|