After much anticipation and speculation, Flick Baseball Pro by Freeverse finally hit the App Store. An entry into their ever expanding Flick Sports library, Flick Baseball Pro is the perfect pick up and play baseball game for the iPod Touch and iPhone. Aimed at the more casual and mobile player, this game feels much more like an arcade game than an in-depth sports sim game. For those that enjoy sports games for the mere enjoyment of them, this is the baseball game to own.
The game takes a cue from Com2Us’ Homerun Battle 3D for its control scheme in both batting and pitching. Tilt the device to move your hot zone to line up with the pitch for success in batting. Line up the target into the strike zone for the perfect pitch.
But taking Homerun Battle 3D one step further, in Flick Baseball Pro you also run the bases and field the ball. If you are daring you can stretch a single into a double, or make a throw to get a runner. All of these actions are accomplished with a simple tap of the screen.
And if by chance you don’t enjoy one aspect of the game – fielding or batting – you have the option to skip that portion and it will be simulated for you. There seems to be an underlying player statistics that will control the outcome for you. In the few times I tested it, it seemed pretty accurate, meaning the AI didn’t kill my pitcher when I simulated a pitching half inning, nor did I just get three strike outs during my batting half inning.
Controls: The controls could not be more simple. Tilt to position your “bat” while tracking the pitch, tap to swing at the appropriate time. Tilt to position your choice of pitch, tap to throw. When a runner gets involved in the action, a small diamond appears with each base activated by touch. This is easy to control either stealing an extra base or throwing to a base after fielding. Otherwise everything is pretty automatic. But the most important aspects of the game are controlled by the player. It is nice that this is not cluttered by having to field ordinary ground balls and the like.
An interesting addition is what I call the “Fly Ball Mini Game.” If your opponent hits a fly ball four moving gloves appear on the screen, you must tap the screen when they overlap to successfully catch the fly ball.
Game length options: The ability to choose between a 3 or a 9 inning game is perfect for any situation. This allows the player to squeeze in a game of baseball for any amount of free time available.
Season option: Want to bring home the trophy? Compete in a full season that includes playoffs. Still want to bring home the trophy but don’t have the time and or patience to play through the choice of 11, 33, 66 or the full 165 game season, no worries. Flick Baseball Pro has the option to simulate from 1 to 20 games at a time using the same formula as skipping a half inning.
Teams: The game comes with 34 teams, not surprising many are from actual baseball cities, but some international teams are included as well. The ability to customize a team is possible and you can build a team from the ground up with your own special abilities, choice of a name and uniform. Play a few seasons with them and before you know it you will have your very own dynasty.
Realism: Its always the small touches that make or break a game, and this particular aspect I really like. It lends a strategy to being in the field. As the game progresses and your pitcher throws more pitches his stamina decreases. Just as in real life, his strike zone is harder to hit. The tilt to aim mechanism will become harder to control and soon, as a manager, you will need to decide when to make a pitching change. Of course that is as simple as a few taps of the screen, but nonetheless this brings a sense of realism and strategy to the game that is welcome in a casual arcade sports game.
Plus Social Network: With the addition of the Plus network, leaderboards and unlockable achievements are available.
Home vs Away Team: I seem to always be the away team in an exhibition single game. I am not sure if it is randomized and I happen to always be the away team or if it is set up that way. I don’t know why this really bothers me other than the home team has an advantage in having last at bat if they are behind in the score.
An additional title has also been released by Freeverse’s sister company Small Planet named Chevy Baseball. It is a free lite version that keeps intact the core elements of gameplay but lacks the season mode and team customization. There are also only two unique teams to choose from in this version, aptly named the Camaros and the Silverados.
Sports games can run from extremely in depth as you would find on a console, to bare bones as you would find on a handheld. Flick Baseball Pro finds a suitable middle ground. It is not too complicated for a portable device, yet is not too simple either. If you like in depth 3D sports simulation games, this might not be the baseball title you are looking for. Flick Baseball Pro by Freeverse is the perfect pick up and play sports game that focuses on the fun aspects of the game without being too technical.