Android Game Review Special: Nexus 7 Week! – 9 Innings: Pro Baseball 2013

9 Innings: Pro Baseball 2013 Com2uS

Free (in-app purchases… big time. Mild ads)

I was originally going to review this game on my Galaxy Nexus, since I played and sort of enjoyed the previous few 9 Innings games there… however, this happened.

No Stairway! Denied!

Since I wasn’t getting anywhere there, I downloaded it and tried it on the yet-unrooted Nexus 7, and despite the game’s many, many flaws, I was soon hooked.

9 Innings is a combination of a baseball game simulator and collectable card game with an immense amount of features.  You can play as your favorite team in season play, do a homerun derby, and challenge yourself against champions and all-star teams.  Hitting and pitching is the meat and potatoes of the game, but you can also turn on manual fielding, if you’re some kind of insane person.

In season play (what I spend all day doing, I don’t care about home run derby or being the American League All-Stars), you choose your favorite team and just play.  You earn ‘points’ as you go for doing various things (getting double plays, stringing together hits, etc) which can be used to purchase new cards or to enhance the cards you have, making them ‘level up’, as it were.  The cards themselves come in various rarities and have different stats and enhancements, making the whole experience incredibly addictive if you’re a stat-whore or recovering Magic: The Gathering junkie like myself.

This is where the in-app purchases are there, just waiting to pounce on you.  You can BUY the points needed to upgrade your cards.  You can BUY the other kind of points to upgrade your ability to store cards.  You can buy just about anything, including points to buy cards from other players!  They’re insidious.  It’s all I can do not to give in and just blow an entire paycheck buying boosters.  I will stay strong, however!

The graphics are just kind of so-so, but functional and the game is responsive and very stable.  This was the greatest upgrade from the previous 9 Innings games; I haven’t had it force-close or go to crap on me once.  The physics are rather horrible, but good for a game… hits that would be singles on any field get stretched to doubles regularly, hits that would be triples are often singles, players sometimes hit home runs off pitches that came in on their hands… but it doesn’t matter.  The game is still fun and engaging.

One of my favorite things about this game, I’m slightly ashamed to admit, is the Engrish translation.  There are a lot of little grammatical snafus throughout the game that will make you chuckle.  I’ve come to calling the game ‘base-a ball-uh’ when I’m asked what I’m playing.  The lousy translation becomes comic relief for what can be a very frustrating game.

Suck it, Pittsburgh.

I’m currently in the 4th season with my San Francisco team (chosen purely for their stats, I can name maybe 2 baseball players in the league these days), and I have a modestly good set of cards… but the computer has almost all ultra-rares that are max level, something you can’t do without spending a boatload of cash.  Eat it, computer… I still beat you even though you bought your team.  Every opponent is the Yankees, to me.

There are ads, but they’re almost exclusively for other Com2uS projects and partners, very infrequent, and easy to skip.

THE TL;DR:

  • The very definition of a ‘freemium’ game – huge game, great features, graphics and gameplay – with an almost tangible hand pushing you towards in-app purchases.
  • Fun as hell, but has somewhat screwy physics.
  • Incredibly stable on my Nexus 7 – not one crash.
  • Amusing translation and grammatical mistakes.
  • I once combined three cheerleader cards into Derek Jeter.
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