Developer: GAMEVIL USA, Inc.
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store
I am not the world’s biggest sports game fan. I have my favorites, like Mario Super Sluggers, but I don’t visit them very often. One of the reasons I don’t care to play them is the complex button pushing, but it wouldn’t really be fair to compare an iPhone app to a console game.
Baseball Superstars Pro has a few different game modes, but for the purpose of reviewing it, I played it all the way mid-through a second season as a batter in “My League” mode. The game auto advanced me through every 3 games of each 36-game season, which truthfully, I appreciated because I would have become bored with it long before the second season otherwise. Each game is super fast. You are only up to bat every three innings or so, though you can change the auto advancing by customizing options in other modes of play if you really want to play all 36 games in each season.
Aside from the onscreen controls, which are pretty easy to figure out and display similarly to a handheld controller, Baseball Superstars keeps track of stats, gives you the option to upgrade and buy items with money you earn as well as “G points.” Besides “My League” where you create custom players and build up their abilities and stamina over several seasons, there is also a “Season Mode” where you have options of trading players, viewing team and player stats, and earning additional rewards. A feat not easily accomplished when some rewards and mission accomplishments are based on popularity points and team morale. My shameful .209 batting average yielded me a popularity level of only 11 at its best, with 150 being the goal in some missions.
As far as game play, I don’t care how much training my little cartoon kid did, and even after buying a power bat that cost my entire year’s salary, I couldn’t hit a home run to save my life. Every hit into left, right, or center field resulted in the ball bouncing off the back wall. Since I haven’t made it to the third season, I can’t say whether or not that would improve. I did notice hitting got a bit easier mid way through the second season, but I couldn’t tell you why. Perhaps it was me, or perhaps it was the game. Everything you acquire, player stats, and all other data carry over from one season to another.
For what would seem to be a pretty memory intensive game, Baseball Superstars performed solidly and reliably. It does offer up a significant replay value because it encompasses things like earning rewards and challenges, learning special pitches, gaining popularity points, and playing pennant games as you advance through the seasons. The touch screen controls are relatively simple to understand — even pitching, which is more control intensive than batting.
One of my biggest gripes is the tips that scroll across the screen as a game loads. It happens so fast, I have no idea if it’s useful information or not. There is an extremely detailed help section to read through before ever starting the game, so I could assume the scrolling text is just random summaries of the thirty-some-odd page instructions, but I would have appreciated being able to read those tips. I also didn’t like that you had to choose pitcher or batter only. It would be more entertaining to alternate between the two in the same game.
Since Baseball Superstars Pro is the only option for a full baseball game for iPhone and iPod Touch, fans of sports games might appreciate it. As for me, I found it frustrating at times and at others, easy and entertaining enough. I would recommend giving the free version, Baseball Superstars Lite a try before you buy. Though not as comprehensive, it could whet your whistle for a baseball game app and it will definitely give you a good first impression.