Pro Baseball Catcher is a prime example of the double-edged sword that is app gaming. On one hand, tiny games that would have never been “grand” enough for consoles have a chance to reach an audience. On the other hand, simple games that most likely originated as Flash games for the web are put in the same store as other, more detailed games. Pro Baseball Catch is a little of both.
The title really says it all. You won’t be playing a full nine innings and stealing home. You’re simply the catcher, trying to catch as many baseballs as possible to achieve the high score. Your enemy, the computerized and anonymous pitcher, throws at varying speeds and difficulties based on which game mode you’ve chosen. There are four aptly-named modes: Three Strikes, Multiball, Curveball, and Sudden Death. Certain modes, like Curveball, are more difficult than others, but each follows the same set of rules.
As the catcher, you must move your finger across the screen, which in turn moves a floating, disembodied catcher’s mitt, towards the ball. With each successful catch, you receive a score multiplier, but if you miss a catch, your score multiplier returns to 1x. You also receive accolades and points based on how well you catch, like Mega Catch or Super Catch, yet there is no explanation of why one catch is better than the other.
Who needs arms?
Pro Baseball Catch does feature some polish you don’t normally see in such simple games. The graphics are not breathtaking, but they are good enough. The crowd cheers you on as you catch more and more, but will surely boo if you miss. When you do miss, the ball not only passes beyond your glove but also smashes into your screen, causing a shattered-glass look to linger for several seconds.
Unfortunately, though Pro Baseball Catch is a paid app, it still has ads, and the main menu is actually made smaller so that the ads have prime real estate on your screen. Also, several of the buttons on the menu lead you to other Neon Play games or to their websites and social networking profiles.
Of course, this game does have Game Center integration with online leaderboards. There is a Share option in the game’s main menu, where you can log in with either social network, but it prompts you only to tweet or send a status update to your friends inviting them to buy the game. A more useful share option does appear after each round of play, allowing you to tweet your high score.
At times, the game’s simplicity feels right. Catching pitch after pitch and having the crowd cheer you on can be exciting, but the game’s in-your-face self-promotion made us rethink if this game is worth it’s already low price, especially when compared to other apps at the same price exploding with content that don’t force ads into our gameplay.