Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
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Being an avid baseball game fan since Bases Loaded on the NES (I'll never forget the first time Star attacked the pitcher), I was quite excited to see a new baseball game to arrive in the App Store. If you can look past all the fancy graphics and crazy control options that exist in many of the new baseball games out there, all you really need is a simple pitching and hitting mechanic along with simple fielding and base running. People don't want complicated in baseball, they just want the thrill of the pitcher vs. the batter.
Com2uS, of Homerun Battle 3D fame (and also the Inotia series), is a cartoony baseball sim that strips baseball to its necessities and throws in some extras to keep the game fun. The main focus of the game, the pitcher vs. batter dual, is fairly well thought out, but does have its flaws. The pitching, by far the best aspect of the game, is your standard console pitching affair. Pick your pitch type, tap where you want the pitch to go, and then tap again once the accuracy circle gets down to its smallest point. There seems to be a good balance of your pitchers skill to how well the computer hits you, and there really is a good visual representation of speed change. A changeup looks like a changeup and a fastball looks like a blur.
The hitting is where I think Com2uS could really improve this title. Instead of, lets say... using the amazing batting system in Homerun Battle 3D, they simplified the system to just hitting the button when the ball gets to the plate. The timing isn't easy, but there is no real skill needed, other than timing, to hit a good ball. For game speed sake, the hitting system work fine, but I would love to play through a game with a well thought out, but not too complicated, batting system. Merge Homerun Battle 3D and 9 Innings 2011 together and this is a 5 star app for sure.
In fact, if Com2uS would merge the graphics together too, 9 Innings 2011 would be a bit better. There's really nothing wrong with the graphics, they just aren't as sharp and vibrant as some of the other games in the Com2uS library. I just love the style and sharpness of Homerun Battle 3D, and being put out by the same company, find it hard to just accept the rough colors and the harsh fonts.
Past the game itself though is a surprisingly deep League Mode complete with full MLB rosters (unfortunately with fake team names though), a fairly fun Home Run Mode, and an interesting Card Box that keeps you playing. As you play games and do good things (like get double plays and hit home runs), you get a certain amount of points. You can use these points later on to upgrade your team via buying boosts to their player cards. There are also various upgrades that you can get at the "Shop" that upgrade things like your team cheerleader, "inning Jump cards", and level up success. In all reality, there may be too many upgrades, and too many terms to deal with for the average gamer. Dealing with upgrade success rates rather than just knowing that 500 points gives X player X power boost can be a bit cumbersome.
Overall, 9 Innings: Pro Baseball 2011 is a great, simple baseball game that is only hindered by my previous addiction to Homerun Battle 3D. I love the simplicity of the game itself and find myself playing the game at times when I'm definitely not supposed to (like in the bathroom), but with a better batting system, smoother graphics and fonts, and a simplified upgrade system, this one would be a true, must have game. In its current form, I would recommend it to just about any baseball sim fan, as it is easily one of the most absorbing baseball sims in the App Store.