By Peter Magers on Sat, 02/26/2011
Big Hit Baseball, developed by Denki Games Limited, published by Square Enix Limited, and sold by Eidos Interactive sounds like a game that iPhone users needed. This simple tap n’ swipe baseball game is reminiscent of handheld stand alone video games or arcade games of the 80s. It seems like the perfect choice for a simple iPhone game app.
And simple is the key word. Simplified to a fault, Big Hit Baseball lacks Major League punch in more ways than one. Players have the option of several game modes—head to head matches against rival teams in showdown mode, playing for the Big Hit Cup in series play, and pitching, hitting, and fielding challenges. The teams are generic, dominated by US city and state teams, but with a few international options for other North American teams and Japan. While the teams have different star ratings, there’s little to differentiate them other than their level of difficulty. Players can set up the number of innings they wish to play in showdown mode; this is one useful consideration shown by the developers, as quitting a game equals a forfeit and can damage player standings on the leaderboard.
Controls for Big Hits Baseball are, well. Not very controlled. The effects of your tapping and swiping are apparently dependent on a set of physics rules. Sometimes. The entertainment value of these super-simple games often depends heavily on the challenge of learning to move according to the rules of the game’s environment and the rules of Big Hit Baseball seem inconsistent, at best. The direction and length of your swipe does seem to affect your pitching and hitting—but how each move affects each pitch and strike isn’t something that’s easy (or perhaps possible) to learn. It almost feels as if there are other factors the game doesn’t tell you. And, for many aspects, there is no control at all. For outfielding, for example, you’re more or less limited to directing your player’s attention to the ball. If he gets it or not seems to be entirely up to the game.
The leaderboard tie in is about the only thing about this game that engages me. The custom innings would be great, if the game itself were more entertaining. The potential best aspect of the game—its simplicity—has turned out to be its weakest point. Uber simplicity resulting in no stats for individual players inside the game, and very little control over events has crippled a great idea.
Graphics for Big Hits Baseball are typical for this type of game. Think about the first SNES games and you’ll get a good idea of what to expect. Sound is also reminiscent of this era, and will remind you of baseball arcade games from two decades past. Nothing to complain about, but certainly not a saving grace, either.
The most unfortunate thing about this game is the price point. At $1.99, a mediocre game turns into one that actually irritates.