Baseball Slugger: Home Run Race 3D is one of the most fun games I have played for the iPhone. Developed by Com2uS out of Korea, this is one of the first games MustTap is reviewing out of a big name studio!
- Four modes, one awesome dude.
Baseball Slugger can be boiled down to one simple concept: home run derby. The great thing is that you can play it in four different modes, keeping the game nice and fresh! In case you aren’t aware of what home run derby is, it is essentially one of my favourite parts of all-star weekend for baseball: there is a pitcher and a batter, the aim of the game is to rack up as many home runs as possible before you get 10 outs. An out will either be a strike or a foul, and a home run is when the ball goes over the fence.
Alright, all explaining out of the way, we can discuss the four different modes. First and foremost, there is training mode, which lets you test out different pitcher styles (Over, under, side), hand (Left or right), speed of pitches, and pitch type. This is to get you accustomed to all the various curveballs (Hyuk hyuk) that a pitcher can throw at you during the course of 10 outs. Personally, it has been really helpful in figuring out where knuckles, sliders, sinkers, and splits will land in the box as well as recognizing them as soon as they are thrown. All of these pitches always throw me off, and being able to practice against them has been phenomenally helpful.
Classic mode is just plain old vanilla home run derby, pitcher throws you a ball, you smash the hell out of it, and you rack up your home run count. The pitches are generally fast balls into the strike zone at various speeds, and outs are everything that isn’t a homerun: strikes, fouls, and hits. On the ninth out, you are offered a golden ball, which, when you hit a home run with, will give you an extra gold ball, which acts as currency. More on that later. This is the one mode you want to play if you want to build up your number of home runs both in one game and overall, because the pitches are pretty easy to hit and it goes by real quick.
- Golden. Balls.
Arcade mode is a completely different beast. Pitchers are now throwing different types of pitches at wildly different speeds, in an attempt to get you to go down swinging. There are poles all over the field to differentiate between the different sections of the stands you can hit home runs to, and hitting a home run to each of the different sections will make you “Cycle” where you begin calling out where your home runs are going to go, and you get a bonus if you actually make the home runs get to where you called them. There are also different pitch power-ups, such as the score doubler and tripler, golden ball, reduction of 1 out, and a whole other gaggle of different power-ups that can be applied to a ball should you hit a home run with it. The aim of Arcade mode is to get as many points as possible, within 10 outs. Unlike Classic mode, hits count for a small amount of points instead of an out in Arcade mode, which gives you a bit of breathing room when it comes to facing nasty pitches.
- You got served.
Last but not least is Matchup mode. This is essentially the online portion of the game where you can face off with other people playing Baseball Slugger online, in a scary mix of Classic and Arcade mode: there are three different rooms with pitchers throwing different types of pitches (Straight fastballs in the rookie room), but you are trying to outscore your opponent through power-ups and called home runs, and all the different ways you have to get points. Matchup mode was my favourite mode in Baseball Slugger simply because you are facing off with someone online, and you’re basically trying to maximize the points given to you from every single home run. Once someone reaches the limit of points, the game ends, and you gain or lose some rating, and you gain a bit of gold balls.
One of my gripes with Baseball Slugger is the currency: gold balls. Initially, I was going to make fun of the name of the currency itself, I mean come on, balls! But after quite a while of playing, I noticed that unless you’re getting all of the achievements, gold balls are VERY hard to come by. Matchup mode gives you 1-10 gold balls per match, and there are the golden balls in Arcade and Classic mode which give you 1 gold ball each. Items are typically 50+ gold balls, and that is for the second level item stuff, whereas the highest level bat, the “Bat of Thunder” is 2950 gold balls, which is an INSANE amount especially considering everything at that level will be approximately the same price. Seriously, it will take a whole lot of grinding just to even get this bat, which may or may not be worth it. Sure, it keeps me coming back to build up enough gold balls to get it, but damn what a grind.
- You can customize your appearance.
The graphics of Baseball Slugger are quite superb, the character models and stadiums are all in 3D and they have quite a realistic range of motions. All of the models are pretty detailed and they all have a unique look about them, and the customization of the character is quite an awesome feature. Overall the game looks extremely polished and it is apparent that they spent quite a bit of time ensuring everything looked great.
Baseball Slugger has a generic rock soundtrack that doesn’t really do too much for me, but it definitely gives you that excited atmosphere that you really need for a home run derby game. The sound effects for the game on the other hand, are superb. They are very crisp and clear, and for some reason the crack of the bat and the cheers of the crowd make me really happy. Really, I sit there grinning like an idiot whenever I’m on a roll with my home runs.
I really wish there was some sort of chat function online, because I feel like I really need to talk trash sometimes. For example, one of the fellows whom I faced online was being outright demolished by me, and he kept asking to have a rematch. There were several instances where he was about to win and I would just come storming back and take the game. I wish I could have just said “Really? Again? Now I’m embarrassed for you.” but then I remembered, good sportsmanship is key to having fun in sports.
So I guess they should probably leave out chat… But I would like to add that the online play is extremely polished, and it is a very fast-paced game online that can end in seconds! I am mighty impressed at what they were capable of doing for online matchups, and I look forward to seeing more of these kinds of matchups in other iPhone/iPod Touch games.
Baseball Slugger is a terribly addictive game that will have you keep coming back to smash more balls out of the park. Baseball fans will have to buy this game, but non-baseball fans will have just as much fun playing as we do!
MustTap Score: Golden Tap
The best of the best; everything about this is perfect.
Sluggers is an extremely fun home run derby game with four fantastic modes, a must for any baseball fan but everyone will enjoy it, especially if you like embarrassing people online.