by Erik Johnsen
Baseball Slugger is a simple homerun derby-esque game brought to your iPod Touch or iPhone by COM2US Corp.
Offering two styles of play, Arcade and Classic, along with online play against players from around the world, Baseball Slugger provides some quality entertainment. Featuring achievements and upgrades for your batter, you can improve your player to be a super homerun hitter.
Using a simple “tilt and touch” interface, you control your world-class batter in a homerun derby to accumulate points and golden baseballs. The pitcher will give a small variety of pitches for you to hit against: fast, curve, split, sinker, slider, and a few others. You have a small cone shaped “batter eye” that you move by tilting the device and you swing by tapping anywhere on the screen. The controls are simple and easy to pick up.
Obviously the object is to hit as many homeruns as you can in a single outing. You’re given 10 “outs” and those accumulate through foul balls and strikes (either swinging or passed balls) in Arcade mode. In Classic mode, any pitch that doesn’t result in a homerun is an out. This is a little different than the MLB derby as they allow passed balls to not count as outs.
There is also a practice mode to get you used to the different pitch types. You choose if the pitcher is left or right handed, the delivery type they use (overhand, sidearm, or under), the speed and finally which type. This is good to get used to the movement of the ball to better predict where that “sweet spot” will be for more majestic homeruns.
During play, you’ll get an assortment of power-ups that allow you to double or triple your score, remove an out, or even win a golden baseball. You can use the golden baseballs to upgrade your batter’s uniform and equipment which have power and contact bonuses depending on how much you spend. One major annoyance for me was the fact that I couldn’t be a left-handed batter in this game. Only righties here. Being left-handed myself I found this to be a glaring omission.
The field is divided up into three sections, left, center, and right, and as you play and hit homeruns to those sections, you’ll fill a meter displayed on the scoreboard. When the meter is filled you “call your shot” and try to hit a homerun to the section called for bonus points. If you succeed you keep going until you fail to hit a homerun, or miss the called section. Dividing these sections are two extra foul poles, giving you four total that you can hit for more points. Hitting the scoreboard in center field or the ad signs in left and right (proudly advertising Com2us’s other games) will gain you additional points.
Earning achievements such as 20 homeruns in one game will earn you bonus gold baseballs.
The graphics for this game are smooth and give you a lot of detail. Packed into a small screen, the visual quality is excellent. Some of the oddities that arise during the game is the sense that the ball “sweet spot” that is shown if you miss a pitch or let one by doesn’t really match up with the flight path of the ball, and when you blast a shot right at one of the foul/divider poles it “clangs” well before the ball gets near it.
The sounds are great, the crowd reacts to great hits and quiets down noticeably if you fail to clear the wall and go crazy when you do. The music doesn’t drown out what is happening in the game, and you even have the option to turn on your MP3 music instead.
Online play is quick and easy, but I wouldn’t say painless. There are some good players out there that have spent lots of time building their batter to greatness. The first game I played online was against someone from Japan that sported a spiked bat. You will need a good solid connection to play, and the game will warn you if the connection strength isn’t up to game play standards, so I felt that was good.
Overall, I found this game to be addictive and enjoyable. I find myself going back to this game over and over again when I have some free time.
Retailing at just 99 cents, Baseball Slugger Homerun Race 3D is well worth the purchase price.
The Married Gamers Report Card: A-
Full Disclosure: The Married Gamers was provided a copy of this video game for review & evaluation.