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iPhone: [In-Depth Review] Baseball Superstars vs. 9 Innings: Pro Baseball 2009

05-12-2009, 05:54 PM
#1
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 1,446
[In-Depth Review] Baseball Superstars vs. 9 Innings: Pro Baseball 2009

The way I see it, there are two high-quality, full-fledged baseball games in the app store, Baseball Superstars and 9 Innings: Pro Baseball 2009. I'm kind of sports nut so I thought I'd compare the two in case anybody else was interested.

The First Game: Baseball Superstars (2.99)
Direct Link: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=299965567&mt=8



Youtube link | Pop Up



Youtube link | Pop Up


The thing I love about this game so much is how much depth and replayability it actually contains. There are five different game modes: Normal Mode, My League, Season Mode, Homerun Mode and Mission Mode. All these modes, besides Normal Mode, have extensive gameplay involved. There are ten different teams and several different stadiums as well. With the new graphics update, this game is definitely polished and deep.

Normal mode is simply a pickup game that you can play whenever, so there's not a whole lot to say there.

My League is a unique mode that has nothing similar found in 9 Innings, which is interesting because the gameplay of the two games is very similar. In My League, you create a character, either a pitcher or batter, and can choose his name, position and type (ex: Power or Contact hitter). Once you've created your character, you play as him as either a batter or a pitcher throughout the games your team plays. Your character develops an earned run average or a batting average over the games. After each game, your manager tells you how you did and you either gain popularity and morale, or lose it. Occasionally, I believe every five games or so, you get the chance to upgrade your character's equipment, which costs money and may have a popularity requirement. You can gain money through events, such as a fan meeting, TV show appearance, etc. You can also have training for your charaacter, to improve his skills. Your character develops over time by gaining popularity, morale, buying equipment, appearing in events, and training. This makes for an open-ended game that allows you to employ your own strategy to make your character the best he can be. This mode is probably my favorite of all of the modes since the games are quick, and the idea is unique.

Season Mode is, not surprisingly, the mode where your team plays out a baseball season. You play against the other nine teams in your league, with standings and statistics of the teams and players. You can trade players, or hold events like in My League. I like Season Mode on Baseball Superstars, but I think 9 Innings' similar mode seems better put together to me.

Homerun mode is basically a home run derby, where you get pitches thrown to your character hits them, to gain Gpoints, which can be used to buy equipment. I like this Homerun Mode more then 9 Innings' Homerun Mode, because in this mode the batting is more realistic. It's just as hard to hit a homerun in Homerun Mode as it is to hit one in a game. With 9 Innings, if you hit in fair in Homerun Mode, it'll more then likely be a homerun. In addition to that, I like how Homerun Mode is tied into My League, since you can gain Gpoints for your character, which isn't so in 9 Innings' Homerun Mode, because there is nothing similar to My League in the game.

Mission Mode is where you complete various missions of different difficulties in order to gain Gpoints for your character. It's challenging and somewhat addicting, and pays off for your character, which is always a plus.

The options in this game are great because there's a lot of customization to fit your liking. Difficulty, sound, vibration and speed can all be set, as well as the option to reset data, so that the game fits to you. I always look at options menus, just to see what kind of things I can change. I think Baseball Superstars' options menu is definitely a winner, since there's not a whole lot of additions that could be made.

The graphics in the game are not what I would expect from a baseball game. They're a just a little too cartoony for me. The players are small and sprint quickly across the field to catch balls, which doesn't seem realistic at all and just doesn't suit my liking. I do give Gamevil credit for revamping the graphics drastically, but the cartoony theme to begin with just doesn't seem right.

The sounds in this game are mediocre. The music that plays when in the menus is annoying and repetitive. I can't stand listening to that for more then a minute. The fans cheering aren't spectacular, but they do the trick. I hate the way the ump calls "Strike" and "Ball" and "Strikeout" since it sounds Japanese and I know Gamevil is a Japanese company, but Japanese umps just isn't America's pastime. However, I do enjoy the sounds that transition batters and innings. They seem appropriate and natural sounds to add that make the user feel like there is a transition taking place.

A big extra that I enjoy in this game is the hidden characters. In Season Mode, you can employ characters with special powers to either hit or bat, kind of like how the characters in Mario Superstar Baseball each have their own unique power-up. You start out with two batters and two pitchers unlocked, but you can unlock up to six of each through Gpoints.

The controls of this game are my biggest complaint. The controls take advantage of none of the iPhone's features, and make the game feel like a sloppy port then a game created for the iPhone. My biggest reccomondation to Gamevil would be to allow the option of a d-pad or touch screen menu to their game. 9 Innings has that option, which really attracted me to it.

Overall this game is for the more casual baseball fans. The cartoony graphics and unrealistic power-ups add a huge feel to that. However, you cannot deny the fact that this game is loaded with depth. Four out of the five modes will keep you playing for hours to take your team to the championship or build your character into a pro.

Gameplay- 5/5

Graphics- 4/5

Sounds 3/5

Controls- 3/5

Overall- 4/5

I think 2.99 is a perfect asking price for this game, it will definitely deliever fun to any sports fan's iPhone.

/sarcasm
05-12-2009, 05:54 PM
#2
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 1,446
The Next Game: 9 Innings: Pro Baseball 2009 (4.99)
Direct Link: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=311137188&mt=8


Youtube link | Pop Up



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This game is very similar to Baseball Superstars, very similar, but let's cut to the chase; I like this game more. It has just as much depth, minus My League. Since Season Mode is longer, a whopping 126 games, it makes up for it. I'm more into realistic sim games then cartoony arcade games, which is probably why I like this one more. The statistics, graphics, players, just the whole overall game is more realistic, and I think that was definitely what they were going for here.

Like Baseball Superstars, there's three difficulty modes, but with less modes (4) and less teams (8). I like how the teams in this game have city names as well as their mascot, such as the Boston Sunrise. This too adds more of a sim game feeling then an arcade game. Season Mode is the meat of this game, with Tournament, Homerun and Exhibition Mode as well.

Season Mode is the 126 game season, plus playoffs. It keeps in-depth statistics of your players as well as your opponent's, which show up right before you bat or pitch. There are multiple pitches which are unique to each batter, nearly identical Baseball Superstars. There are no power-ups or other arcadey features of the game, making it seem more realistic. In each game of Season Mode, there are different missions to complete which earn you points, which allows you to upgrade your manager. In essence, Season Mode of 9 Innings combines the Season Mode and Mission Mode of Baseball Superstars into one package, making the individual games more interesting and easier to get engaged in, since you have a goal to reach besides win.

Tournament Mode is for those who are "intrigued with tournaments like the world baseball classics" according to the game's app description. You play in various tournaments instead of a season, with each game getting progressively harder, as you make your way into the championship. This mode is for those who may enjoy seeing a tournament bracket over seasonal standings, though the gameplay is similar to Season Mode.

Homerun Mode is basically a homerun derby. You get ten chances to hit as many homeruns as possible. However many homeruns you hit in those ten chances is how many chances you'll get the next round and so on until you've run out of chances. This is is for a score as well as points, which is nice but not nearly as extensive as Baseball Superstars' method of weaving modes together. Also what I don't like about this Homerun Mode as opposed to Baseball Superstar's is how if you hit the ball fair, it's a homerun almost everytime. I think it should be the same difficulty of hitting a homerun in Homerun Mode as it is in a regular game.

Exhibition Mode is like Baseball Superstars' Normal Mode, it's just a regular pick-up game.

The most similar thing to Baseball Superstars' hidden characters is the chance to upgrade your manager. New managers can be unlocked by winning exhibition or playoff games, and can be upgraded by earning points through in-game missions. I really like this mission-point system, since it adds a touch of arcade feeling to a sim game, which takes a little of reality away from the game to add more entertainment.

I searched through this game and could not find an option to reset data, which was nice in Baseball Superstars, and unfortunately missing in this game. The options available in this game are not nearly as extensive as in Baseball Superstars. Vibration, sound volume and game speed cannot be set. All that is available to change is a sound toggle and a skin toggle. Difficulties are set before you begin a mode, so they are not available in the options menu. On the main menu, there is a Mission category that you can select, which will show you all the missions you've completed. This is the most logical way of keeping your missions organized and showing you how many and what missions you still have to complete. This may not seem like much, but once you start getting down to your last couple of missions, you'll want to know what still has to be completed.

The graphics of the game are 2d but way less cartoony then Baseball Superstars. The players actually represent real players that you might see in a baseball game. I like the overall style of the game, including the menu look, but I don't like batting as well as Baseball Superstars. The batting of Baseball Superstars is smooth and clean, it flows well right up to the crack of the bat on ball. 9 Innings batting is awkward and hard to make contact with for some reason. It feels like when I hit the swing button my player is just hacking the air and hoping he comes up with something. When he does hit something, I like the fielding of the game more then in Baseball Superstars. In BS, fielders are almost impossible to hit past, since they sprint across the field ridiculously fast to catch just about anything. The 9 Innings' fielders field natually since they move at more realistic rates and are easier to get past. Plus, they don't throw the ball 1000 mph like in Baseball Superstars. I like 9 Innings pitching more as well, since the area the pitch might end up has to be chosen as well as where you desire the pitch to be thrown. Pitchers don't have complete control over their pitches in real baseball, and that is echoed in 9 Innings. The graphics of the gameplay as well as the charts for statistics look like realistic, reasonable graphics for a baseball game, which is what com2us was going for. What I wish for the most grahics-wise is the ability to see the outfielders, like what Baseball Superstars added in their previous update.

As well as the graphics, I enjoy the sounds of 9 Innings more. The background menu music is easier to tolerate and seems more like the menu music a console game might have. The sound of the bat on the ball sounds like a real baseball game although Baseball Superstars' sound isn't too far off a real sound either. My biggest sound complaint is every time you touch a button when you pitch, whether to choose your type of pitch, choose where it will be located, or choose how large an area the ball might end up in, it makes an obnoxious ring sound. The fans, though they make noise constantly when the outfield is shown, are more like the cheering sounds you might hear when you're at a baseball diamond.

I enjoy the controls more over Superstars Baseball, since 9 Innings incorporates a touch screen menu as well as a d-pad. Other then that, batting and pitching are pretty much the same as in Superstars Baseball. You push a button to swing, you push a button to pitch, though, mentioned earlier, you actually have to push two buttons to pitch in 9 Innings: where you want the ball to go, and where the ball might actually go.

In a nutshell, this game is for those who may be more hardcore sports fans, and who appreciate realism over unrealistic features added to make the game more entertaining. That would describe me, though I know many of you would enjoy Baseball Superstars more since it is a little less realistic. I think true baseball is more in depth in 9 Innings, because of the long Season Mode, but My League is really deep and adds a lot of inticement to Baseball Superstars.

Gameplay- 4/5

Graphics- 5/5

Sounds- 3/5

Controls- 4/5

Overall- 4/5

I would have liked to see auto-save in both games, though both of them offer a category where you can start where you left off, but you have to go through the menus to begin. I would have also liked to see more involvement in fielding from both games, rather then just the batting and pitching aspects of baseball.

I think the better games really depends on how much you are willing to pay, since 9 Innings is two dollars more, as well as if you like realistic or cartoony games more. Both are no doubt very high-quality baseball games.

/sarcasm
05-13-2009, 01:40 PM
#3
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: LA
Posts: 153
I liked your review a lot, it was very in depth. Both sound like very good baseball games, but neither great. also since they're so similar I would probable go with the $2 cheaper one.

Again great review!

AppleNApps
Twitter @mactds
Game Center: mactds
05-13-2009, 01:42 PM
#4
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Texas
Posts: 567
I second that 9 Innings is better by a good amount. If you only get one, don't let $2 make the decision. Get the better game and enjoy it!

I am the managing editor of nodpad.com.

Sporting an iPod Touch 2 Gen
05-13-2009, 02:18 PM
#5
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 2,513
well the subject does not interest me - but just wanted to say well done !

it said in depth review and it really is

nice one

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05-13-2009, 04:50 PM
#6
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 123
Thanks for the review-I played the heck out of Baseball Superstars but I stopped playing as soon as I finished a career in My League. I got a ton of play time out of it though. I will probably get 9 innings eventually.