Baseball simulators are sorely lacking in the App Store, and we’ve seen more of the arcade type including Baseball Superstars 2010 and Baseball Sluggers. The only real competitor to Derek Jeter would be MLB 2009, from no other than the MLB. I found a lot of issues with MLB 2009, which ultimately lead to its deletion, but Derek Jeter seems to take this genre a step further and improves upon many of its predecessor’s flaws.
Graphics: I really liked the graphics in this one, and I must say that this has to be one of Gameloft’s more appealing games. Yes, they’ve created visual wonders like Modern Combat and Gangstar, and Derek Jeter Real Baseball seems to be very close in graphical quality. The player models were very detailed for a mobile phone, and I thought the animations were very well executed. While the crowd was not very overwhelming, the actual players on the field were very well modeled.
Controls: Controls are a bit simple when it comes to batting and pitching, but they are definitely very responsive. To swing the bat, either tap the screen or slide your finger up using the silver bar. Pitching is accomplished by selecting a type of pitch, timing the power and accuracy, tilting the device to position the ball, then finally throwing it. Both pitching and batting were well executed, and while the batting was a little bit too simple, the pitching controls were very well done.
Realism: The realism in Derek Jeter’s baseball game is very well done, and while there are some flaws here and there, the overall feel is very real. When I’m batting, it feels like I’m actually batting and when I’m fielding the ball, it actually feels like I’m fielding the ball. Pitching the ball also felt very realistic, and the overall game just felt like a baseball simulation game. Baseball Superstars does what it does well, and Derek Jeter, in its own respects, does what it does well.
No Multiplayer: Almost all of Gameloft’s recent games include multiplayer modes, and Derek Jeter shouldn’t be an exception. Just because it’s a baseball game does not mean multiplayer cannot be accomplished, and it would have been nice to play against my brother in a local Wi-Fi matchup. Bluetooth multiplayer would have been fine also, and any option for just some type of multiplayer would have been fine. Whether the time ran out or Gameloft wanted to release the game quickly, it still isn’t an excuse to not have multiplayer.
Players: It’s a shame that the players and teams names aren’t licensed, therefore, no real players or teams. Currently, I’m playing with the Anaheim Diablos with many unfamiliar players. While this wasn’t a huge deal-breaker for me, it may be for some baseball junkies looking forward to playing their team in this game. The team licenses should have been made as it is a “real” baseball game, but I guess it is understandable.
Derek Jeter Real Baseball is a very good baseball simulator that I enjoyed thoroughly. If you’re a fan of baseball at all, you’ll love this game to the death even without multiplayer and real player names. It was fun, well executed, well designed, and consists of some very high production values we’ve seen Gameloft produce time after time. I found this game to be a lot better than MLB 2009, and I’m sure you will too.
Derek Jeter Real Baseball was developed by Gameloft, and I played through version 1.0.6 on my iPhone 3GS. The price is $4.99.