Game: “Big Hit Baseball”
Baseball, it’s really not a huge thing in the UK. If anything, it’s something that’s so small that people only ever hear about it on American sitcoms and when people make jest at that Japanese. We’ve got our own sports, cricket, rounder’s, tennis and whatever other sports require hitting a ball with a wooden or string bat. Either way, it’s just not big in the UK. Yet, it’s growing and it seems that it’s growing more in the videogame market than in the actual sports market.
In an effort to support this growth, SquareEnix have released Big Hit Baseball on the iOS and it’s now available on the Android Marketplace. Bit Hit Baseball was designed to specifically cater towards the mobile market and developed to make the most out of the touch screen nature of modern smart phones. However, with the nature of touch screen there’s only so far that a developer can go and this is particularly noticeable in sports titles.
From the off it’s clear that Big Hit Baseball is not a mobile baseball simulator. If anything, it’s the equivalent of a baseball arcade game. As this is not an officially sponsored title by the baseball leagues, therefore the team names are very generic and are based on random cities around primarily the USA. Yet, these can all be renamed to suit your individual need so the best team in the world can suddenly appear on Big Hit Baseball – just don’t let the lawyers know.
The lack of official sponsorship aside, the game is somewhat basic. The lack of a long and intricate CGI opening will be a little confusing for a console gamer, but tapping the screen will get the player right into the Main Menu. The Menu Screen is easy to use, with six options available, with the three modes of player – Showdown, Practise and Big Hit Series as the first three options.
Showdown mode allows you to get straight into the action and play against a team of your choice through a full game. Practise, is as it suggests and Big Hit Series is the “career” mode and allows the team to get better and stronger stats. Once in any of the modes, the majority of the controls are handled for the player, there’s no need to have fingers all over the screen trying to control multiple fielders at the same time. There are some buttons to tap on screen if a ball is likely to be caught, but otherwise the fielders will simply run after the ball and throw it back to base. The same simplicity is echoed for the batting element of the game, just move your finger forwards in time with the ball, this method of control is reversed for the pitcher, when you want to throw a ball, you just thrust your finger forward.
For the experienced baseball player the lack of advanced options will be a point of contention; however, for everyone else the simplified controls and basic layout of the pitch is an advantage. Additionally, with the game being on the Android and being somewhat simple, it keeps the file size down and ensures that there is maximum playability. Unfortunately, the graphic are very poor. Every character looks exactly the same and whilst the expectation is far from high, it does echo back to the old NES/SNES era where NPC were all identical.
There are two version of the game, a paid version and a free, ad-supported version. The only difference is that on the ad-supported game, there’s an advert at the top of the screen. This wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t for the horrendous animation that occurs between ads that actually slows the game down to a snail’s pace.
Overall, Big Hit Baseball is a decent baseball title, it plays well with few problems and is very responsive. Yet, the lack of any real baseball coverage in the UK limits it’s appeal and with the terrible adverts slowing the game down and lacklustre graphics it’s certainly got a limited shelf life.
Reviewed On: HTC Desire
Price: £1.99 / Free (Ad Supported)