iOOTP Baseball 12
Developer: Out of the Park Productions
Publisher: Out of the Park Productions
Release Date: 04/09/2012
Mobile phone gaming has gone from games like Snake and Tetris to more complex fare that rivals dedicated handheld console gaming. With that in mind, I was still skeptical about the ability to take the PC experience of Out of the Park Baseball and fit it on iOS devices. iOOTP Baseball 12 is OOTP’s second in the series of attempts to bring OOTP to a new audience.
The modes in iOOTP 12 are the same as you will find in the PC version – Historical, Fictional and Modern Day League. The biggest difference is that historical league packs cost money. However, considering the nature of iOS, this does not surprise me as OOTP historical leagues on personal computers are supplied by different sources. Though I understand where OOTP productions is coming from, let me just say that this is kind of disappointing. However, the fact that those are available at all does alleviate much discomfort… as well as some of the free provided seasons (including the one and done Pilots).
Fictional leagues have drafts, historical leagues can have drafts and so do contemporary leagues. In fact, the modes are almost exactly as they are in OOTP 12 for personal computers. Veterans will have no trouble diving in but new players, hit with so much to do with so little real estate to wander around it, could get lost in the depth of each mode.
The visuals for iOOTP are fine, but very much the product of simulation game aesthetics. The announcer visual from OOTP 13 is a nice touch and having all those names being interactive is quite a feat. There isn’t too much offered in terms of eye candy – iOOTP 12 shows off what it can but is definitely more brains that looks.
The audio is absent. I turned up the volume and did not hear anything. That is not a bad thing, though. Considering the mobile nature of this game and its simulation lineage I would rather listen to my own music than the ambient noises OOTP is known for.
Having skipped over iOOTP 11, I was not sure what to expect. What I found was, to my surprise, was a honest to goodness mobile version of OOTP 12 with iOOTP 12. The game has all the stat crunching game simulation as its big brother as well as player management.
The roster depth (ie minors) and league creation are astonishingly fleshed out compared to what I have encountered in mobile gaming. While the minor league is limited, there are roster moves, trades and drafts to keep things intense. Simulating games is smooth and the game itself is easy to navigate – although space is at a premium.
Substituting players is easy but, and perhaps this is because I am using an iPod, sometimes making those changes can be made more difficult by the size of the touch area. This seems to only be an issue when replacing a pitcher. The design of the iPod, with its curved edges, also can cause the game to rotate its screen – but that seems to be on the design of the device itself.
iOOTP Baseball 12 has just as much action and depth as OOTP baseball. The ability to simulate seasons, create entire new worlds of fictional baseball leagues or see what twists and turns of a different 2012 season make sitting in waiting rooms, lunch breaks and short breaks more entertaining. The pick up and play nature of the game, where you can simulate a game or two in a short period of time helps – with the streamlined game menus really proving their worth by assisting with the speed of setting things up.
In the games themselves teams that are historically strong, or are currently strong, play out as they normally should. However as this is baseball and all, there are twists and turns that are feasible. In my game as the expansion Seattle Pilots, well, they play out as an expansion team’s season would – with tons of losses. The teams change players and fortunes wax and wane – which is what baseball balance is all about.
A baseball game is not something new but the twists and turns that are created through each simulated game and season always seem fresh and unique. Playing fictional, 2012 and historical leagues with iOOTP have been so different from one another. No season plays out the same and that ability to have different outcomes makes each time you play the game a fresh spin on a familiar game.
The ability to fill down time with new games of OOTP is a gateway to playing three of four games and seeing your break or lunch disappear. Friendly for newcomers and with enough depth for vets, iOOTP 12 will keep you coming back for game after game, season after season.
iOOTP 12 is a definite buy for OOTP veterans. Though not the as fully realized as the main series, it provides a a fix on the go. For new players, it is a more condensed version of a game that can be quite a lot to take in – but streamlined to the essential moving parts. This version makes a great introduction to the series for new players to the series.
I do like the ability to buy new seasons – it adds a bit more. Some folks may not like in app purchases, but it is great to be able to import new historical seasons since the online databases aren’t available and it supports the developers.
Balance: VERY GOOD
Originality: VERY GOOD
Miscellaneous: VERY GOOD
Total Score: GOOD GAME
Short Attention Span Summary:
Overall, iOOTP is a fantastic, on the go version of a game that can suck hours away. The fact that OOTP 12 has been shrunk down to a mobile platform astonishes me and is a fantastic purchase for any baseball fan that owns an iOS device.