Developer: Out of the Park Developments
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.01
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5, iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

iOOTP2013-1It’s apropos that iOOTP Baseball 2013 is in fact a baseball simulator, because it’s a lot like a baseball prospect. Some young players just never pan out and reach their ceilings despite having promise in the past. iOOTP was incredibly fun back in 2011, and still was enjoyable in 2012, but with noticeable flaws that needed to be addressed. In 2013, they really haven’t been addressed in a significant way, and I start to wonder if this series has reached its ceiling of what the developers are realistically going to do.

iOOTP 2013 is still a perfectly fine game for those looking to dive in to baseball simulators in a way that’s not totally overwhelming. I think that’s what got me hooked initially. The fun of the game is that’s possible to get in to a trance managing one’s team, not knowing quite what’s going to happen because the players are going to do their own thing. All the player can do is put their team in the best position. It can be maddening yet exciting. That aspect is still great.

iOOTP2013-3It’s just that this game has really not changed much in its third season. The interface claims to be redesigned, but it’s still mechanically convoluted, and nothing of significance has really changed with it. There’s still just a lot of weird aspects to the simulations that don’t quite jibe with what happens in MLB. Players in changed roles, like outfielders moving from center field to right field, or pitchers moving from the starting rotation to the bullpen, doesn’t seem to cause the game to react in sensible ways.

As well, the minor league system remains the same, not-quite-realistic system that it has been before. Even a post-release update couldn’t get the early-season rosters and pitching rotations correct. A retired player is the Rangers’ 5th starter despite having been probably their 4th choice in reality. Sure, I’m enough of a fan to know that, but this is a baseball simulator! This is the audience I would expect to track these sorts of things! That the game also retains its low-resolution non-Retina graphics and even lacks widescreen support is extremely disappointing, especially since widescreen could display more stats!

Like the once-promising prospect that winds up as just a solid role player, it’s easy to look at iOOTP Baseball 2013 and be angry. My first draft of this review was much more angry. But I remembered that the things that make this title so much fun for baseball enthusiasts are still there. But its issues still exist one and two years after the fact, and my hope is that iOOTP Baseball 2014 can address them in a significant way. Given the developers’ experience in the PC simulation market, the fact that this genre is empty on mobile, and that I’m a nerd for this sort of thing, I have high expectations that just aren’t being met.

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