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Review

Diabolical Pitch Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed:
  • X360

Diabolical Pitch is ridiculous, but in all the wrong ways.

Diabolical Pitch tries to be strange and funny, but if you play this Kinect-only baseball pitching game, the joke is really on you. It is two hours of the same minigame, stretched to its limit like a bad extended pun that stops being funny long before it's finally put to rest. Only instead of enduring some drunken jokester, you make throwing motions, over and over again, occasionally jumping or ducking when a buzz-saw blade gets flung your way. You perform other actions, but a few additional poses don't make for variety in Grasshopper Manufacture's clumsy fiasco.

Even the developer's signature weirdness isn't enough to make Diabolical Pitch worth calling from the bullpen. You throw baseballs at evil-eyed tigers that barrel toward you in roller coasters. You throw them at giant stuffed rabbits apparently spawned from the depths of hell. You throw them at winged freaks that appear en masse and defy description. And you do this all in places like a spooky cemetery where an ominous crooked mansion stands in sharp relief against the full moon, and a carnival with a carousel that casts long, sinister shadows across the cobblestones. The enemies you clobber fly backward with the screech of a crow having its talons ripped out, and a friendly bull guides you through the cutscenes, which tell the story of a baseballer who wants more than anything else to regain his pitching arm.

The gameplay seems innocuous enough, at least at first: you mimic a pitch to throw the ball at whatever crazies appear onscreen. Weirdos pop up, and you fling the ball in their general direction, hoping to hit your target. If that elephant hobbles too close, you can annihilate him with a good kick, and every so often you can activate the titular diabolical pitch. There are different diabolical pitches, like a lightning bolt that zaps every enemy onscreen, a limited-use cannon, and other such frivolities, and you activate them in different ways. With some, you raise your hands over your head; with another, you put one hand over your chest and hold the other arm outward.

Welcome to the evil castle, where evildoers do evil.

Not every motion is detected consistently. Activating your cannon can't always be done in the first attempt, for example, no matter how much you exaggerate (or don't exaggerate) the motion. Other times, flinging your arm forward after the windup doesn't finish your pitch properly--though yanking your arms upward should do the trick if your first motion doesn't work. And when Diabolical Pitch tries to add some variety to the mix, the controls become even more problematic. Ducking, jumping, and reaching out to catch incoming projectiles work well enough. It's when the game requires manual targeting that things get trickier.

Incoming missiles and metallic enemies must be targeted first, which requires you to hover a reticle over your victim using your non-throwing hand before letting loose. But because you don't need that reticle onscreen much of the time, you must calibrate your off-arm's position every time you need to target something. And considering you need to jump, duck, and reach in different ways with that arm from time to time, you can't simply keep the reticle on the screen. Furthermore, that reticle isn't precise; you might be trying to target that incoming missile, but if something less intimidating gets in the way, you hit that instead. Of course, you need to see the missile in the first place, but at several points, the large eyesore interface hides important objects from view. There's even a spot where an interface element covers up a cutscene's speech bubble. Such sloppy details, along with a few misspellings, make Diabolical Pitch feel thoughtlessly assembled.

The game's biggest problem, though, is that it's repetitive. Sure, you perform a few other motions here and there, but mostly, this is a game about throwing. Throwing over and over again, until your arm is sore and you don't want to throw anymore. It's as if Diabolical Pitch were meant to be a minigame collection, but the other minigames were left out. You ultimately unlock various new diabolical pitches, scoring enhancements, and other odds and ends, but none of these elements make the gameplay any deeper or more entertaining. For a game about a pitcher seeking a second chance by tossing baseballs at stuffed wildlife in a fun fair of the damned, Diabolical Pitch is curiously bereft of creativity.

Pro pitchers often suffer from injuries of the physical kind. Diabolical Pitch injures your very soul.

Misery loves company, as they say, so you could ease the misery by asking a friend to join you, but two-person play is even more trivial than playing on your own. You can revive a downed teammate by reaching out to him or her, or perform dual diabolical pitches, but from moment to moment, you just stand next to each other making throwing motions, which isn't particularly cooperative. Nor does Diabolical Pitch succeed as a competitive game: the automatic targeting is too random for you to feel like you outscore your buddy because you're better at the game, and the manual targeting is too awkward to ever feel right. Multiplayer Diabolical Pitch is the equivalent of taking a bite of some icky morsel--and then saying to your friend, "Hey, taste this!"

There's a reason the average minigame collection limits the amount of time you spend with any given activity: because such simple tasks lose their charms very quickly. Diabolical Pitch is a single, shallow minigame that quickly reaches its breaking point and yet still invites you to return with a bevy of useless unlockables. A surreal attitude is all well and good, but in this case, it amounts to a whole lot of hubbub over a whole lot of nothing.

The Good
Wacky vibe
The Bad
Shallow, repetitive gameplay
Inconsistent controls
Clumsy details
3
Bad
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

GameSpot senior editor Kevin VanOrd has a cat named Ollie who refuses to play Rock Band because he always gets stuck pla

Discussion

30 comments
digi-demon
digi-demon

@VintAge68 Not lamenting Kevins professionalism in journalism - the comment was regards his suitability in reviewing to this title. I have not heard many baseball fans [or videogamers in general] who play Violin - nothing wrong with Violin players mind - hence if you read my comment carefully regards "key demographic" you should have understood my comments origin :D.

VintAge68
VintAge68

@digi-demon it might be a regrettable score but I don't think you can deduce the reviewer's lack of professionality from his musical talent

durbanbrown
durbanbrown

i really enjoyed this game. almost didnt even get the demo cause of lame reviews. really fun for a 'quick' kinect play. bought it and enjoyed it

digi-demon
digi-demon

Not defending this game but.... reviewed by a self confessed RPG Lover and violin player? - not exactly the publishers key demographic :lol:

VintAge68
VintAge68

@deathstream "GameSpot has been overly negative lately" I agree though Diabolical Pitch certainly isn't a game that would have my favors, either

kdokey
kdokey

Some people act like a bad review just killed their child sometimes. Reviews will always be the opinion of one person. Agree or disagree, but don't beat up the reviewer because you don't agree.

mhaed
mhaed

It's not unnatural to get upset if a game you like gets a low score. If you like it, who cares what GameSpot or anyone else rates it? Just enjoy the games you like. There's no need to call out GameSpot on reviews you disagree with.

skilfulgary
skilfulgary

kinect is a joke.\\\\ dancing games, wii sports and other crap for gamers partners and kids to get bored of in 5 minutes.

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@deathstream -- Well, our hope is always to use the entirety of our review scale. And as you know, certain flaws may not mean much in one game, and mean a lot more in another. For example, a frame rate dip in an RPG isn't likely to be a problem, while in an online FPS, it could be the kiss of death. Everything is contextual. As for your examples, I don't know if anything says anything. Are you suggesting that Duke Nukem Forever was better than Kingdoms of Amalur? If so, I don't know how I could possibly respond. With the games you mentioned, we were hardly far outside the critical mass. Duke Nukem Forever averages a 49 on Metacritic; Kingdoms of Amalur averages an 80; and Modern Warfare 3 averages an 88. When you say "that says it all," it really says nothing: we more or less agreed on the relative quality of each of those games with critics at large. Why single out GameSpot?

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@zintarr -- I have no idea what that means.

deathstream
deathstream

@Kevin-V I could go into the number of 8.0 or higher games (from GameSpot) that were worse than Duke Nukem Forever (a ludicrously low 3.0) last year, but I can sum up what I meant in two quick examples: Modern Warfare 3- 8.5 Kindoms of Amalur: Reckoning- 7.5 That really says it all. ps- Being overly negative and giving games what you think they deserve are not mutually exclusive. And I put more stock in the written reviews than the numerical scores and I think that they, too, fit the pattern of overly negative for anyting except fanboy fodder. The written reviews also tend to crucify some games for identical flaws that go ignored in others. I also compare your scores at Metacritic, and GameSpot has been consistently on the low end for most games. It wasn't anything personal. I wasn't crying because "my game" got a low score. I was disappointed to read how bad Diabolical Pitch seems to be given that it came from Grasshopper, but have no stake in what score it gets other than I know not to buy it now. This just happens to be the game review that brought out a comment that I have been feeling for about a year now. Of course, I just summed it up in under 15 words, then stuck them in the middle of an essay, so what do I know?

zintarr
zintarr

Art = Kevin VanOrd review is worth nothing.

vault-boy
vault-boy

The biggest problem with Kinect is the way we keep trying to make Kinect exclusive games. I think it would be cool to see games with Kinect integrated features. For example, it would be cool if say a fantasy RPG where you used magic you could hold your hand out to cast a spell (with a minor lockon system so that you don't have to use the controller to aim but can also cope with the problems with motion controls), or a racing game where you can use your hand to change gears. I mean right now I'm just spewing out simple ideas, but what I'm really saying is we don't need Kinect only games, but Kinect included, but always optional to compensate for people who don't have it. Kinect COULD do a lot of cool stuff, but trying to make Kinect exclusive games just doesn't work well. If you want gamers to like Kinect than we need Kinect more Kinect integrated, not Kinect exclusive.

vault-boy
vault-boy

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

KillerJuan77
KillerJuan77

Maybe it's just me but what the hell did anyone expect out of this? I wanted a game were you kill monsters with baseballs and it seems that this game delivers.

Voice_of_Wisdom
Voice_of_Wisdom

i'm playing this game right now and it's actually prettty funny!

staring_death
staring_death

I had eye toy for PS2. And I knew Kinect wouls go down eversince they announced it! I mean come on! how the hell can an adult gamer play a high velocity game in the limited space of his 4 walls?! serious gamers love to sit back, relax, and fell the blood pressure leveling up as they overkill again and again! If it was about 20 dollars, yeah! it was worth it to buy that for the same controls in Mass Effect, or some hand gestures in Tom Clancy series, and likes of that.... other than that... great wishes don't always come true Microsoft! the path of gimmick is a path of failure! stealing ideas is not cool! I don't know how can I say this more clear!

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@deathstream -- No, we haven't been overly negative. Each game gets the exact score we believe it deserves, and to find out more information about the game's quality, there is accompanying text. Also, a 4.5 or a 5 is not terrible; a 4.5 indicates poor, while a 5.0 is mediocre. Diabolical Pitch is a "bad" game, hence a 3.0. If it were "terrible," it would be a 2 range score, as our review guidelines state.

deathstream
deathstream

GameSpot has been overly negative lately (except to fanboy fodder sequels), so I guess the game is actually a (still terrible) 4.5 to 5.0?

ClaudiusCaesar
ClaudiusCaesar

That's average for a Arcade F*cKinect game, which ranges from 0 to 5.

redder1111
redder1111

this is why we don't need any kinnect/move for the next gen. we have seen enough -5.0 game already. no more plz!

redder1111
redder1111

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

elporton
elporton

estados unidos ... seguramente los boludos esos lo compran

Dima2000
Dima2000

just wasted 4 minutes of my life on looking at this game, pure garbage even if this was 1989...

fend_oblivion
fend_oblivion

@Witchsight : You sir, are full of win. That was hilarious! :lol:

Witchsight
Witchsight

Sounds like this game... Struck out. *sunglasses*

medevil_dead
medevil_dead

This reminds me of an old episode of the Real Ghostbusters, were Winston was playing with some evil spirits for Peter's soul.

Diabolical Pitch More Info

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  • First Released
    • Xbox 360
    3.4
    Average User RatingOut of 15 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Diabolical Pitch
    Developed by:
    Grasshopper Manufacture
    Published by:
    Microsoft Game Studios
    Genres:
    Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Blood, Violence