Last year’s Baseball Superstars 2010 proved that Gamevil is to baseball what peas are to carrots. We were thrilled about everything it brought the market, and it provided hours upon hours of satisfying gameplay that both core and casual players could appreciate and enjoy. Fresh off the conclusion of the World Series, Baseball Superstars 2011 comes just in time to tide baseball fans over until the real deal starts up again.
While the franchise just arrived on the iOS devices over the past couple of years, it’s been around on cellphones since 2002. Gamevil has traditionally done a fantastic job of layering features onto the foundation of its baseball series, and we’re happy to report that Baseball Superstar 2011 continues that trend.
All the modes and features from last year’s game have returned. The same six core modes (Exhibition, Homerun Race, My League, Season, Mission and Match Play) are back, and they’ve only been even further refined.
A la mode.
Some welcome changes have been made to the core gameplay that we didn’t even know we wanted. The most obvious change is the new pitching system, which has a sweet interface that looks like a dashboard. Upon selecting your pitch, you aim by using a virtual control stick. It works great, feels good, and seasoned players will adapt quickly.
Another big change is the new camera perspective. Instead of the perfectly placed traditional camera, the view is off-center, giving a much better view of the infield runners on base. Batting is improved as well. Last year’s game was solid, but there were times that we had some suspect strikeouts. This year, we haven’t felt robbed yet.
Baseball Superstars 2011 also introduces new settings aimed at streamlining games, allowing you to get in and get out faster. Chance Setting simulates the ball game while putting you in various scenarios, offensively and defensively. We found that we usually ended up in critical moments with the game on the line. Inning Setting allows you to select how many innings you’d like to play manually, and Detail Setting lets you pick specific players to control throughout the games. These new options let you tailor your experience to your preferred play style.
The visual and audio package in Baseball Superstars 2011 is still best in class. Everything still looks very crisp and colorful, with an engine that runs incredibly smoothly on our iPhone 4. The super players get interesting cutscenes when they have special pitches or at-bats, just like last year. The music is still catchy and those sound effects are clear and complementary.
Baseball Superstars has enough content and depth to rival baseball games on traditional consoles. My League is the same addictive exercise of building up a player from scratch, Season Mode puts you in the role of a baseball manager, and these two modes are where most of your time will be spent. Other peripheral modes like the Homerun Race, Mission Mode and Match Play (going up against ghost teams from other human players) pack on hours of entertainment.
If there are any complaints you could aim at Baseball Superstars 2011, they’d be based on nice-to-have omissions. While online leaderboards and tracking are incorporated through Gamevil Live, getting some live multiplayer and Game Center integration would be epic. All told, however, Baseball Superstars 2011 might be the best sports game yet on the iOS platform.