Back at E3 I met up with Don Lim from Com2uS, who showed me a few of his upcoming games, one of which being Baseball Sluggers. At first glance, the game looked pretty fun, but certainly nothing groundbreaking. It looked like MLB Slugfest for the iPhone, except without an MLB license and limited only to the home run derby. Being the skeptical gamer that I am, I picked up the game with low expectations, thinking that the game would probably be average at best. But boy, was I wrong.
Instead of showing me all the different menu options and gameplay modes, Don had me just straight into the matchup mode, which is unlike anything else I had ever played on the iPhone. Within a minute of booting up the game, I was engaged in a matchup with one of the beta testers of the game in Korea. The game was easy enough to pick up instantly, but with a variety of pitches and speeds, had enough depth to satisfy my inner gamer. Surprisingly I ended up beating the beta tester, shocking Don... and myself. What can I say guys, I'm just good at sports games.
So a few nights ago, after seeing Will's review of Baseball Sluggers, I decided to pick up the game. I played the arcade mode a few times just to get some practice before I jumped into the matchup mode. Just as I remembered, with three clicks, I was engaged in a game with some guy in Japan. It turns out that I'm not the prodigy that I though I was after my opponent destroyed me quite impressively. As bad as I got beat though, I kept wanting to play again. The gameplay is just so deceptively simple that I kept playing well into the night... getting beat time and time again.
Never in my life had I been beaten so soundly and wanted more. I thought about it for a bit and decided that Baseball Sluggers may be the ultimate casual game on the iPhone... at the very least, it should be in the discussion. Each game lasts under 5 minutes, there RPG (accessories increase stats) element, and there is always a real person to play against... no matter what time of day you are on.
I've been playing for a few days now, and am now on a 4 game winning streak! It's quite exciting. If you end up getting Baseball Sluggers, look for chris148 in the matchup list. I'll play anyone, but be warned... I may beat you so bad that you will cry.
So... being an iPhone addict and gamer, I will be continuing my search for the best casual game. It'll be tough to beat Baseball Sluggers, but I hear that Flight Control just came out with a multiplayer mode. I'll have to check that one out tomorrow, after I beat some more suckers in the home run derby.