It is no small statement to say that sports games contribute largely to a console’s success. In Apple’s bid to legitimize their iDevice platform to the same level as their portable competitors, this is one area that is, unfortunately, severely lacking. With less than a handful of fully fleshed out sports games, any addition to the app store is a welcome one and a huge step forward in cementing the iPhone and iTouch as the gaming system it has the potential to be.
This is where Baseball Superstars 2009 (BBS2009 from here on out) comes in. It is easy to see how people can be skeptical, being that this game is a port from the world of mobile phones. Yet, this is a well thought out game that follows the baseball framework but also adds in a bit of flare as well. Once you get past the cutesy anime influenced graphics, you’ll find that Baseball Superstars will satisfy your craving for this sport.
In what may be either a blessing or curse, the game has many modes of play. There are 5 options ranging from normal mode, to season mode, to even home-run mode. To unlock certain modes, you must create a batter and a pitcher in League mode. These players are used in these other modes. Interestingly enough, the more you play with them, the more money and skills you acquire. You can purchase items such as bats, gloves, hats, and more to help boost their stats. Also, in League mode, every few games you have the option of increasing morale or popularity an such through dates, photograph sessions, and so forth. This RPG-eque element enhances the gameplay.
In Season mode, you can also manage teams, trade players, switch positions, and participate in various events. It’s this level of detail that I’m beginning to really enjoy about this game, even though it may take somewhat longer to fully understand and appreciate the “extraneous” options. The ability to unlock super “hidden” players, the ability to see your player stats, the option of choosing a team that fits your playing style, all these considerations make BBS2009 a deep game.
On top of porting a full baseball experience, Gamevil Inc. also did a fantastic job on translating the cellphone’s controls into an onscreen virtual touchpad. The controls sit unobtrusively in the corners and are extremely responsive. The only other game that utilizes this control scheme a well is Hero of Sparta. To be honest though, and much to add to my own shame, there are times where I still press the menu option instead of using the virtual touchpad. Using the touchpad, you are able to use 5 pitches, hit, bunt, steal bases, and so forth. All these actions are performed intuitively. Unfortunately, your control of the game ends after the pitch/bat and before the throw/steal. Your in-fielders and out-fielders move to their own accord. The only control you exert over them is where you want them to throw and if you want them to steal.
If you’re ever lost, BBS009 also comes with a 30 page in-game help section. It covers almost all of the basics of the game. It is that comprehensive. However, it doesn’t mention anything on strategy.
As for the actual gameplay, it takes me back to the good old NES days. The action is fast and fun. The depth of gameplay options is as much as you would find in a console game. Also, the graphics, while not updated, are well translated from the mobile phone platform to the iDevices. Some people may be off put by the price ($4.99), but what they receive is a deep, well executed Baseball game that currently has no comparison to it from any other App. If you like baseball, simply put, get this game.
|Title:||Baseball Superstars||Developer:||Gamevil USA Inc|
|Price:||$4.99||App Size:||4.3 mb|