I think this week I’m going to try to talk about some more popular/well-known games, since I’ve been focusing on new and indie games the past few weeks.
Baseball Superstars 2012 GAMEVIL Inc.
Free (lots of in-app purchases, ads)
This… damn… game. This game is to me what people told me being married would be like. It is infuriating, frustrating, and makes me think unpleasantly violent thoughts… but I just can’t quit it. Thankfully, my marriage is a hell of a lot better than this game (and I’m not just saying that, dear wife).
I don’t follow MLB, and haven’t since I played little league as a kid. Back then I idolized pitchers and 1st basemen, the positions I played – greats like Nolan Ryan, Frank Thomas, Roger Clemens, Eddie Murray, and Don Mattingly. An injury to my pitching arm ended my baseball aspirations in my early teens, and the new interests I picked up (ahem… video games and Magic: The Gathering) shoved baseball to the back of my mind. While I don’t really have the attention span anymore to sit through an entire baseball game, I still love the sport, and have been playing baseball video games for years. For Android, the search for a truly good baseball game has been a tough one, but right now despite its massive flaws Baseball Superstars 2012 is the one to go with.
Let’s start with the positive. Baseball Superstars 2012 is free to download and play, which is nice. You don’t have to sign up for anything to play it, just install and go. It has fantastic graphics, decent sounds and music, and is a LOT of game to get for nothin’. I haven’t come close to fully exploring the gameplay options yet – you can play as a whole team, solely play the career of a batter or pitcher, or manage a team from behind the scenes. You can even play online against other players! The controls are easy to use, the game is generally fair and fluid, and it is satisfying to win. So far, I’ve only played the ‘batter’ mode, developing one player’s career over the course of a decade. Overall, the game sort of reminds me of Baseball Simulator 1,000 for the NES.
Batter mode is kind of cool, because the super player system works almost like a dating simulator. Between games, you have the option to go shopping or train, or you can meet up with some of these ‘super players’ most of whom are over-the-top anime girls with ridiculous drawings and personalities to match. Meeting up with them will get you bonuses along the way in your career, but the odd dating sim storylines they have are pretty strange and amusing, and along with generating stats are the motivation to keep playing.
“Wow, I sucked. I guess I can buy a lot of G Points, and use it to… get a haircut… which makes me incredibly better at baseball.“
Let me talk about what bothers me about this game, now. It really works hard to make those in-app purchases appealing, to the point of nearly being too hard to proceed in your game without them. If you play online vs. other players, the guy who tossed Gamevil some real cash is going to have a massive advantage over you in terms of stats for their players. In the batter career mode, after the first year you lose your rookie bonuses, turning your guy into a bag of suck until you can train him up to be as good as he was year 1 (around the middle of year 3 or 4, and seasons are 45 games! Thankfully you only play through your own at-bats in batter mode). The game offers ‘G Points’ for sale, which while they’re slowly earn-able over time, aren’t generated fast enough to really help… but Gamevil has happily given you the means to go god-mode on their game if you toss them enough real money. I hate that.
The ‘super players’ i mentioned earlier? They’ll randomly show up on the mound for your opposing teams and force you to bat against them. This tends to happen when you least want it to, like when your team is down a run and you have a runner on 3rd, or if you really need one more home run to achieve a season goal. They have ‘super pitches’ which are ridiculously hard to hit. I haven’t played as a pitcher yet, but there are super-hitters as well who come in as pinch-hitters. Its silly but a more or less forgivable twist, considering.
The game is also buggy for a lot of phones, including mine. There are pages and pages of complaints in their reviews on the AM. Quite often (usually at the very end of a game) it will freeze up, crash, stop responding, or otherwise quit on you (well, on me). It is a good thing my phone’s ROM has a ‘kill’ button, or else I would need to battery pull a LOT. Strangely the game goes through long periods of working before failing like this, and nobody has come up with an explanation why – least of all Gamevil, who gives the impression that they’re too busy cranking out games to support their releases.
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve barely scratched the surface for what you can do in this game. Despite its many obvious flaws, I’m still playing the hell out of it. Take it for what it’s worth!
- A good free baseball game with a ton of playmodes and features.
- The game really bullies you if you don’t make in-app purchases – forget about trying to compete in PvP online without them.
- Annoyingly requires a network connection to play at all.
- CPU AI is an utter bastard.
- Lots of little bugs, and frequent big bugs like crashes and freezes; generally saves your progress despite these.
- It is really hard to hit the chick in in the cosplay cat-suit’s ridiculous curve ball.
- I have no idea why I’m still playing this, but I am. Must mean it doesn’t totally suck. Either that or its laced with e-heroin.