It’s been five years since the App Store launched, and every year since then, we’ve been graced with a new edition of Gamevil’s Baseball Superstars series. Just like their Zenonia series, Gamevil produces slight updates to a winning formula with each year’s iteration. If you’re new to this over-the-top sports/RPG series, let us be your coach.
Baseball Superstars 2009
Just a few months after Slide To Play launched, we received a hands-on preview of Baseball Superstars 2009. As an introduction to the series for many sports game fans, Baseball Superstars was quirky and unique. Not only could you play a proper mobile game of baseball, but you could also manage your players’ off-field activities, like training in the gym, signing autographs, and going on dates. In addition, you could hire wild superstars, like a schoolgirl or dominatrix, each with their own special pitching or batting skills.
Key Quote: “Gamevil’s Baseball Superstars mobile games are relatively unknown on this side of the Pacific, but they’ve sold 7 million copies worldwide since 2005, so this is a franchise that’s already enjoyed considerable success.”
Baseball Superstars 2010
We published our first full review of a Baseball Superstars game in 2010, and found it to be an absolute grand slam. In addition to cleaning up the onscreen controls and adding even more special characters like Joe Box and his Golden Kick, Baseball Superstars 2010 also included some great new modes. You could play Season Mode to manage every aspect of your team’s activities, like trading players and attending social events, or jump into the Homerun Race and start swinging for the bleachers.
Key Quote: “Baseball Superstars 2010 isn’t an earth-shattering makeover from the original game. It’s a more refined and polished version of an excellent title that many regarded as the best baseball game on the iPhone.”
Baseball Superstars 2011
The next year’s edition of Baseball Superstars took all six of the previous game’s modes– Exhibition, Homerun Race, My League, Season, Mission, and Match Play– and refined them even further. It also added a new camera perspective, giving you a larger view of the field, and new pitching controls, which let you steer the ball more precisely. One particularly interesting addition was Chance Setting, which would randomize your team’s performance on the field, leaving you in control just when the match was on the verge of being won or lost.
Key Quote: “Last year’s Baseball Superstars 2010 proved that Gamevil is to baseball what peas are to carrots… 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.”
Baseball Superstars 2012
Another year, another Baseball Superstars installment. In 2012, the big additions were new batting controls, called “tilt-target hitting”, which move your batter closer to or further from the plate by tilting your iOS device. Baseball Superstars 2012 also added network play, so you could finally challenge other players online. This version was even free-to-download, so while you could slowly win matches to build up your team’s abilities, you also had the option of jump-starting your team with in-app purchases.
Key Quote: “Over several Wi-Fi games, we found the action to be flawless, with zero lag and the games typically running about 20 minutes for a 9 inning game. Proper stat tracking with Game Center achievements and Facebook integration shows Gamevil took the time to do things the right way.”
Baseball Superstars 2013
That brings us to this year’s Baseball Superstars, which we felt was a slight drop down in quality from previous years. The number of modes was scaled back considerably, and live network play was removed entirely. Instead of focusing on pitching and batting, Baseball Superstars 2013 made you pick one discipline and stick with it. And while we liked the new batting mechanics, we didn’t feel the same way about pitching. Instead of swiping, you now had to control the ball with a D-pad, which we found to be too imprecise. Plus, you had to have an online connection to play, making this version less portable than Baseball Superstars 2012.
Key Quote: “Baseball Superstars 2013 is a competent and fun baseball title that is still heads and shoulders above what other developers are putting out. But for the first time ever in a Baseball Superstars game, we feel more compelled to fire up last year’s version instead.”
Tomorrow, we’ll get into the swing of things with Rocketcat’s unbelievably entertaining Hook Champ series.
This article is part of a series about the best games on iOS, 2008-2013. You can read the rest here.