Tag Archives: Sports

Homerun Battle 2 Review: A Pathetic Excuse for a Sequel

Com2us has been one of my favorite developers in the App Store, especially with how they’re very interactive in the community along with coming out with great games.  Chronicles of Inotia 2 was one of my favorite games, and others such as Homerun Battle 3D, the first of the series, was a lot of fun to play.

So when they released Homerun Battle 2, I was quite excited, given my previous enjoyment with Homerun Battle 3D.  But when I opened up the “sequel,” I felt almost cheated, ripped off in a way.  And do you want to know why?  It’s the EXACT SAME GAME.  There’s nothing in here, from what I remember, that’s different.  It’s still the same online play and the same offline play; the user interface is a little different, and there’s a new mode on the offline play, but other than that, the elements are the same.

What’s even worse is that now they’re starting to make you buy outfits and such through in-app purchase.  There are so many bats, gloves, hats, etc. that are accessible only through in-app purchase that it almost makes me feel like the game is won by anyone who has the most money.  From what I’ve seen, there’s no way to earn stars except through buying them, and the outfits that they do have for gold balls are outrageously priced.

All in all, this is one pathetic excuse for a sequel.

Likes

UI Improvements: I’ll have to hand it to Com2us: the user interface improvements do look nice.  While it is a bit slight, it looks a lot better.

Universal and GameCenter: This was something that was missing in the first one, and I’m a huge fan of any developer who is willing to make an app universal along with adding some GameCenter achievements.  No matter how much I hate this game (which I’ll get to soon), I have to put this in the like section.

Dislikes

Advertisements: It’s great that you’re having a fire sale and all, but you don’t have to have the news banners take up nearly a quarter of my screen.  While I was provided a promo code to review this game, if I was a user and paid five bucks for it, I’d be furious.  There are a lot of games that have that little news banner, but it only shows up when you press on it, and it doesn’t take up a large portion of the screen.  It’s just an annoyance that shouldn’t be in a $4.99 game.

SAME EXACT THING: This is the part that makes me nearly furious.  You can’t call a game a sequel when there’s literally nothing that has changed.  There’s one new game mode in the offline play, but other than that, the online play is nearly exactly the same, the outfits and such are the same, and even some of the UI elements are exactly the same.  You’re basically paying $4.99 for GameCenter achievements and new main menu buttons, which is inexcusable given the fact that other sequels, such as Zombieville 2, provide complete UI overhauls, gameplay changes, and stylistic changes.  To see that Com2us named this “Homerun Battle 2” and have it be nothing close to even being a sequel makes me quite mad, and they’re basically ripping off people by selling the same game but marketing it as a sequel so that more people buy it.

I’m sorry Com2us, but this is the type of thing that is the difference between good developers and bad developers.  When you’re cheating buyers by saying that it’s a sequel when it’s actually just the same game, I take offense to that.

In-app purchases: In-app purchases… in a $4.99 game?  Now I understand when those in-app purchases don’t really matter to the game, such as Modern Combat 3, which has in-app purchases but doesn’t force you to purchase them in anyway.  But Com2us has implemented a sort of freemium model to an already premium-priced game by putting in “stars,” which can only be earned through buying them with real-world money.  I shouldn’t have to pay in order to completely unlock all of the accesses to the game.  Along with that, online play should be fair in that all players have the same chance to win: it shouldn’t be predicated on who has the most money to spend on in-app purchases.  Basically, whoever is willing to spend a lot of money on this game is going to be the best, and whoever doesn’t have money to spend is left out and will always be milling around the lower level players.

Homerun Battle 2, as you can see, makes me quite furious.  And disappointed.  And shocked.  I’ve beta-tested a lot of Com2us’s games before, and they used to be all about the consumer and how they can make their games more appealing to the consumer.  But when they put in absurd in-app purchases, sell a game that’s nearly the same thing as the one before it, and even have banners of their own news take up a large portion of the screen, I can’t help but be disappointed.  Com2us, I have lost all respect for you, as this “sequel” is, as the title suggests, pathetic.

The game itself is fun though, so go on and pick up the first one.  It’s on sale for $0.99 and doesn’t have such an absurd in-app purchase system in it.

Homerun Battle 2 was developed by Com2us, and I played through version 1.0.1 on my iPhone 4s and iPad 2.  The price is $4.99.

Gameloft Releases ‘NFL Pro 2012’ for Free, Freemium takes New Meaning

Gameloft has released NFL Pro 2012 on the App Store for absolutely zero dollars, a move that I find quite exciting, yet peculiar at the same time. It looks as if the game is similar in style to games such as Smurfs’ Village in that you level up and unlock more objects, plays, and players as you progress.

This is quite an intriguing concept as there haven’t been any sports games in the App Store to use the freemium model yet. What it essentially does is it allows many people to play the game, and it keeps people playing by giving them incentives such as unlocking a new part of the playbook.

Before, Gameloft had tried delving into the freemium model through games such as Starfront, but it didn’t find much success, as many people weren’t too comfortable with the idea (including me). But since then, Gameloft has released freemium titles such as The Oregon Trail: American Settler and Green Farm in order to fit the model more closely.

I’m personally very excited to see how this model works in NFL Pro 2012, and we’ll have some sort of review up soon.

For now, you can check it out yourself in the App Store for free.

UPDATE: NFL Pro 2012 involves buying parts of the playbook through the money you earn.  The game itself is extremely slow because of all the play-choosing and buying you have to do, and it’s not really worth it.  It basically forces you to use real-world money to actually be good in the game, and it’s overall a quite tedious experience.  So if you were thinking about downloading it, don’t go through the trouble.  It’s not that great.

NFL Flick Quarterback HD Review: It’s Just a Rookie

When I saw this game pop up in the App Store, my feelings were only of excitement, as always happens when something from the NFL appears let alone a game.  And while I was a bit disappointed when I saw that it was just an arcade game, I was still somewhat intrigued with the game because hey, licensed NFL games just don’t appear too often.

NFL Flick Quarterback yields a total of three gameplay modes: Playmaker, Trick Shot, and Trick Shot XL.  In Playmaker, you flick the ball towards a running receiver covered by defenders in order to score points, while in the Trick Shot modes, you try to flick the football into the trashcan.

And while I’m a huge fan of these flick sports type of games, NFL Flick Quarterback has failed to capture my attention for more than 10 minutes at a time.  Quite bluntly, there just aren’t enough game modes.  The Playmaker one is a lot of fun to play, but the Trick Shot ones are difficult, and the flick is inaccurate at times.  And just because it’s named Trick Shot XL instead of Trick Shot, it doesn’t mean that it’s an entirely new game mode.  I feel like Full Fat could have been a lot more creative than just adding a few more buckets to explode and make that as a new game mode.

While NFL Flick Quarterback is promising, it doesn’t have enough to keep me satisfied.

Likes

Graphics and Animations: The 3D player models aren’t all that detailed, but the graphics aren’t too bad.  The animations are probably some of the best I’ve seen in an arcade game, so kudos to them for some solid animations.  Overall, the game is designed well, with a clean layout along with very NFL-esque artwork.

GameCenter: I love the fact that the game includes GameCenter alongside 33 different achievements.  Absolutely love it.

Touchdown celebrations: There are a lot of different touchdown celebrations in this game, and it’s just fun to see what the player decides to do once he reaches the end zone.

Dislikes

Inaccuracy of the flick: The flick in the game is somewhat inaccurate.  For example, in the Playmaker mode, there are times when a flick will get to the receiver, but there are other times when the ball mysteriously falls short and goes to the other player.  In the Trick Shot modes, the ball does tend to go in weird places if you’re not exact with your flick, which is a reason why I’m not a huge fan of those modes.  It requires a little bit too much precision.

Lack of game modes: I really wish the developers would have added something other than just a Trick Shot and Trick Shot XL mode.  I mean seriously, there are some other modes they could have added such as a field goal kicking mode, hitting targets that pop up, and maybe even a mode in which the user has to throw to multiple receivers on the field.  Right now, the only mode that’s really fun for me is the Playmaker one, and I can only play that one for so long before I get bored.

NFL License?: That’s great that I can customize my own player, but who am I throwing to?  They’re advertising this as an NFL game, but beware, you won’t be throwing to the players you’re familiar with.  I mean seriously, who’s Davies?

NFL Flick Quarterback is a fun arcade game, but I wish there was more.  Right now, it’s just an overpriced arcade game that doesn’t exactly live up to its potential.  The GameCenter achievements are welcoming and all, but the gameplay is just lacking a real hook that I find in a lot of casual arcade games such as Flight Control or Fruit Ninja.  It’s fun for a couple of hours, but just note that it doesn’t last very long.

NFL Flick Quarterback HD was developed by Full Fat, and I played through version 1.0 on my iPad 2.  The price is $4.99.

All of the Real Racing Games on Sale, Drive as Crazily as You Want for Less Money

The sheer sound of the name Real Racing gets me creating all types of images and words in my mind: awesome, realistic, graphically ground-breaking… the list can go on and on and on.

And if you haven’t been a part of this ground-breaking experience yet, Firemint has made it a little less of a pop to your wallet by putting its Real Racing games on a sale of up to 80%.

The original Real Racing is $0.99, the HD version is $1.99; Real Racing 2 is put at $4.99, and Real Racing 2 HD at $5.99.  In my personal opinion, if you have an iPad, I suggest just picking up Real Racing 2 HD, as it’s one of the most technologically-advanced game out so far, along with the fact that it will support the mirror display feature once iOS 5 is released.

And if you own an iPhone, you really cannot go wrong with Real Racing 2, although the original Real Racing is still quite a steal at $0.99.

And if you’re still not convinced, be sure to check out our reviews on the Real Racing titles.

 

Icebreaker Hockey Review: Different Sport, Same Gameplay, Same Fun

NaturalMotion.

A company that entered the App Store with so much fanfare with their highly-touted, new animation system that was supposed to be the best of the best.  And more than a year later, that animation system has proved to be the backbone for both their follow up Backbreaker Football 2 and Icebreaker Hockey.

The animations are still some of the best I’ve seen on the iPhone thus far, which does help its case, and entering hockey into the mix of its series really adds a whole new dimension.  For one, along with dodging all the defenders with spin, juke, and stop, you must get as close to the goal as possible without having the goalie take it away from you.

I do have to admit that the campaign mode is a little short—10 levels, 30 minutes—but it’s 30 minutes of thrill and just plain awesome.  You can also go back and try to earn all three stars on each level, plus there are over 40 achievements to unlock.  Not too much to complain about if you ask me.

Likes

Animations: It’s been over a year since Backbreaker Football was released, and still, the animations that are used are by far the best in the App Store.  Sure, it’s much harder to tell if the animations are the best or not, but NaturalMotion has done a great job with sticking to their roots and to the whole reason why they’re so successful in the App Store.

Replay value: Even though there are only 10 levels and two game modes, there is a lot of replay value enough to play over the game at least three times.  There are three difficulty levels for you to get through in each of the modes as well, so there’s actually much more than the 30 minutes of gameplay I mentioned above.  Casual games usually contain a lot of replay value, and Icebreaker Hockey is far from exempt from that.

GameCenter: The GameCenter implemented does contain some flaws that I’ll mention later in this review, but you really can’t complain about 42 or so achievements.

Dislikes

Graphics/UI: There’s no option to return back to the start menu; you have to go through that whole customizing player screen before getting to the start menu.  Along with that, it seems like a lot of the graphics aren’t Retina-friendly such as the opening logo for NaturalMotion and some of the UI elements.  I’m not going to say that it’s horrible, but it is unacceptable considering that Retina-friendly is pretty much given nowadays.

GameCenter achievements: Now I know I mentioned that there were a lot of achievements, but it would be nice if they actually synced with GameCenter.  For some reason, the achievements I’ve collected within the game don’t transfer over to GameCenter itself, meaning that the achievements in-game screen shows over 20 achievements achieved, but when going inside the GameCenter app, it shows that I have complete zero achievements.  It’s quite frustrating when you’re as competitive as I am, and a fix for this would be nice.

Icebreaker Hockey follows the footsteps of both Backbreaker Football and Backbreaker Football II with a fun and addictive gameplay, great animations, and great character models.  The UI and other graphical elements do need some work, and the GameCenter needs a bit of fixing up to do, but overall, Icebreaker Hockey is definitely worth the low asking price of $0.99.

Icebreaker Hockey was developed by NaturalMotion, and I played through version 1.0 on my iPhone 4.  The price is $0.99.