App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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Ah, baseball. One of the sports I don’t play. Actually, they’re all sports that I don’t play. Nonetheless I’m not above trying my hand at their virtual counterparts. Especially when they’re light on the realism and heavy on the ridiculous. I'm still waiting on another Mutant League Football, by the way. Anyhow, Wannabat is one such game I don’t mind dabbling in. In fact, I’ve become downright fond of it.
Wannabat is an avatar-based one-on-one game of “kinda baseball.” The rules are similar to regular baseball, only adapted for two players. One acts as pitcher and functions just as a regular pitcher would: try to strike out the batter. The other is, naturally, the batter, and tries to not get struck out. Hitting the ball within a set limit counts as a foul, past said limit is a single base run, past that is a two base run, and out of the park is, well, out of the park. Fake-completing a run via lots of successful hits will earn points with the sides automatically changing after three outs or five points are scored. Win or lose, experience and gold are earned after each match to be used for skill upgrades and new gear respectively.
Granted I haven’t played a great many sports games of any kind on iOS, but that doesn’t mean I can’t rave about Wannabat’s controls. Tapping and dragging on the right side of the screen moves the bat/aims the ball, while releasing it hits/throws. Timing is essential when pitching (moving indicators effect accuracy to a great degree), but it’s also important to actually watch the ball as a batter. The crazy over-the-top specials are adequately wacky, the clothing options are vibrant and highly stylized, and communicating with an opponent via over-expressive baseball emoticons can be oddly charming. It’s difficult to stop playing even without taking the unlockables, leveling, and upgrades into account. And hallelujah, setting up and playing a multiplayer match is super fast and easy. Even a random one.
I noticed more than a little texture pop-in when loading up matches and levels for the rift time, but the real issue I have with Wannabat is the IAP money purchasable special items. I’m not too miffed about the power-boosting tattoos, although it sucks that they’re not a permanent visual change, but the item that lets batters see where pitchers are aiming is way too unfair. It’s like buying wins with real money. Not cool.
Even with the occasional cheap tactic, Wannabat is still a very, very fun game. Even more so in multiplayer, which is definitely saying something coming from me. I’m hoping they add a few more outfits over time, and axe that stupid cheat, but it’s a game I plan to keep on my phone for a long time.