Gamevil’s Baseball Superstars 2010 comes just in time for MLB playoff time. Although it includes none of the major league players, teams, or any aspect of that sort, it’s still was a highly anticipated title for the handheld devices. Does Gamevil’s newest addition to the app family hit a homerun with the gaming community? Or is it a swing and a miss? Is it going to follow in the footsteps of the summer blockbuster movies that failed to meet all the hype? Let’s put our helmet on, grab this app and see if it hits out of the ballpark or if it strikes out.
I played Baseball Superstars 09 quite a bit and I’m very familiar with the game mechanics and modes. If you’re not like me, and have never ventured in the Baseball Superstars world, let me walk you through.
There’s 6 different modes. Exhibition, My League, Season, Homerun Race, Mission, and Match Play. Exhibition is your common mode where you can just jump right into the action and pick any team at any stadium and just play.
My League is where you develop your characters starting from the bottom. You can choose either a batter or a pitcher, and you can have up to 4 batters and up to 2 pitchers customized on a team. In this mode you are trying to raise points in certain categories to climb the charts and become the top player on your team. Categories include popularity, morale, GPoints, and money. Popularity is awarded when you do certain events like a “Picture Signing” or if you do well in a game you are usually awarded popularity points from 1-6 depending on how well you hit or pitched. If you fail to perform, then you are docked points and your manager gets all mad at you. To develop your character, you can do training once every so often, but be careful as you participate in training, your morale will go down. The only way to recover your morale is winning or certain events like going on a “date”. Yes, that’s right, going on a date. The game has everything, huh? Don’t worry, you don’t actually control anything on the date, it’s all simulated.
Season Mode is the meat game and where most hardcore gamers will find their money’s worth. You get to choose your team and take them to numerous seasons and if your lucky, take them to the postseason for a shot at winning the championship. Like most season modes, you can trade players and get your team participated in events to bolster their teamwork and morale. A nice addition to this year’s BS is that the computer now proposes trades occasionally during the season, just like in sports game today. Another nice feature that was present in last year’s BS is the “Auto-Play” feature. Before you start your season, you can choose either to have the game simulate 3 innings, 6 innings, or none at all. This way it prevents the user from having to play all 9 innings for all 54 games of the season. The only downfall is that once you’ve chosen your setting, you can’t go back and change it.
In Homerun Race, it’s pretty self-explanatory as it’s basically a homerun derby. You simply take your custom made batter of your choice made from My League mode and participate them in a homerun race. You have 10 chances to compete with the pitcher using your custom batter. Depending on your success you are awarded G-Points, which are used to purchase different items in the store.
There are a total of 28 missions split between the pitcher and batter in Mission Mode. Your own custom player and team will be used for this mode. You are thrown in different situations and conditions and whether you’re the last batter up with the bases loaded down by 3, or you’re on the mound with one out away from getting the save. It’s like a bunch of mini games for you to sort of mix up the gameplay so the game has some variety.
Match Play is the mode where you can have matches between teams that other user’s have customized or compete with your friends. Internet connection is needed for this as Match Play is a place where users can battle it out and exchange information.
As you can see that this game has enormous depth and because of it, some casual gamers might be turned off. That’s what the game had to sacrifice. By making the game more advanced and adding new features, it’s a little less casual gamer friendly than it’s predecessor.
bSome people will gripe about the controls, about the frame rate butchering the batting system and pitching being a lot choppier. However, most people will find that it’s just different than what they’re used to. Most are used to Baseball Superstars 09 and because the graphics are bogged down, the game runs smoother and a tad faster. But in BS 2010, the graphics and all the additions slightly bog down the game a little bit, however it’s something that the user gets used to after a few innings. In no way, shape, or form is it a dealbreaker and I was an avid fan of BS 09 and I made a smooth transition to 2010.
Everything in the game is done with the D-pad on the left and the 3 buttons on the right. The D-pad is used to control the runners, move your batter around the box, and the buttons are obviously used to swing and bunt. For defense, the D-pad is used to pick off runners on the bases, adjust the location of your pitch, and to throw to a certain base. The controls are responsive for the most part, however, at times I was unable to get the double play because it didn’t read my first “Up” direction to 2nd base. But as a whole, the controls were solid and worked great.
In the menus, they’ve made things a whole lot easier making icons and selections much bigger for your fingers to press. It no longer requires the very tip of your finger to go back to the main menu during the middle of a game. The only adjustment I would make is trying to change your batter or pitcher. I liked in BS 09 how you can control your selection with the D-pad and the action button instead of touch. But they’ve abandoned this method in this version and now it’s pretty easy to make the mistake of putting the wrong batter/pitcher in.
What We Liked:
+ Tremendous depth
+ Beautifully upgraded graphics
+ 6 game modes
+ Up to 6 customizable players
+ Multilplayer (head-to-head)
+ A.I proposed trades in Season mode
+ Larger outfield
+ Downloadable content
+ Appeals to both casual and hardcore gamer
+ Deeper Season mode
+ Global leaderboards
+ 2 different “Pitching” type
+ 12 hidden characters
+ Instant replay after innings
+ In-game challenges in “My League”
What We Disliked:
– Can’t undo once you’ve chosen your pitch
– A tad buggy
– Hard to see pitching zone in a couple stadiums
– Frame rate issues
– A little less casual gamer-friendly than BS 09
– Spelling errors
As an avid player of Baseball Superstars 09, I had extremely high expectations for Gamevil’s newest addition to the series and I’m here to say that I wasn’t the least bit disappointed and I’m betting you won’t be either. The $5.99 price tag is a little steep, but you aren’t just getting a regular swing and hit baseball game. You are getting one of the deepest and most intriguing baseball games to ever hit the App Store. It has a multitude of modes, players, teams, and unlockables to keep casual fans and hardcor
e baseball addicts alike coming back for more. If it weren’t for the frame rate issues and some minor Internet connectivity bugs this game would be an absolute grand slam. Highly recommended.