App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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Hothead Games’ Big Win Sports series might cause some arguments among interactive sports fans and card enthusiasts, but I think everyone can agree that it’s a unique brand of iOS game. Collecting cards that represent new players for the team, special one-time-use bonuses, skill upgrades, new uniform designs, and more is a consistent theme throughout each and every title. At this point a good number of popular sports are covered, but up until now baseball has been sitting on the sidelines. Well, it’s time to dust off that glove and get ready to play ball.
As with other Big Win Sports titles, Big Win Baseball is driven primarily by time and money. Time is needed to recharge energy which is used to play games, and money (obviously, but I’m going to mention it anyway) buys cards. Multiple tiers of card packs with various chances of rares are available at different price ranges, allowing players to fill out their collection with cheap stuff or save up for the chance to acquire some real heavy hitters. I’m sorry, there’s really no way for me to avoid all the puns. Best to just roll with it. Games can be watched – yes, “watched,” there’s no direct interaction here – or skipped, either choice resulting in some cash and extra fans (i.e. RPG-style experience) for a loss or a lot of cash and extra fans for a win.
While anyone can jump right in and start randomly taking on other teams for cash and glory, the real draw is the Daily Pennant in which groups of ten players fight for the top spot to earn coins and Big Bucks (i.e. freemium cash). The team with the highest overall score wins, but simply partaking in all of the allotted 20 games per pennant will earn a prize. To call earning coins to buy more card packs so that I can potentially get some awesome players or upgrades to use “addictive” would be a major understatement. Big Win Baseball is downright habit-forming.
And yet, as fantastic as Big Win Baseball is, it’s bound to have a fair share of detractors. This is because one doesn’t play it so much as watch it. All of the on-field action is handled automatically with various plays, hits, throws, outs, and runs left out of the player’s hands. Someone such as myself who’s more interested in the cards and upgrading probably won’t take issue with it, but anyone looking for a “real” baseball game is going to be sorely disappointed.
I’d like to think that Big Win Baseball can please people from both extremes, though. It’s flashy and offers some great visual and audio feedback for just about every single action taken, and being able to manage a professional (fictitious) baseball team is just neat. Even for someone who’s not really into America’s Favorite Pastime.