Earlier this year, Ngmoco made headlines with their acquisition of Freeverse, a company known for their high quality casual games like Parachute Ninja, Flick Fishing, and Skee-Ball. This move seems to have been a smart one, in that complements and expands Ngmoco’s progression into the freemium business model. Flick Baseball Pro, though not free, powers the latest brand extension of Freeverse’s ‘Flick’ universe. Even with some questionable design decisions, this game is a home run.
On the surface, Flick Baseball Pro appears to have all its bases covered. With 32 teams, exhibition and season modes, team customization, and player ratings, the game impresses with its offerings. Complemented with some slick presentation elements to add broadcast-style flare, Flick Baseball Pro leaves a great first impression.
It doesn’t last, though. Upon digging into the gameplay experience, it’s very easy to recognize the flaws and omissions. We’ll explain as we unpack the primary elements of the baseball experience in this game.
Sa-wing, batta batta batta.
Batting feels great in Flick Baseball Pro. Tilting the iDevice aims a transparent reticle that reflects where you’re going to swing. Once the pitch is sent and the aiming reticle is lined up, you tap the screen to swing. Depending on your player’s batting accuracy and power ratings, the size of your aiming reticle will change.
We found the mechanic simple to use and executed extremely well. Almost too well, though. After a couple of games, it became too easy to launch homers out of the ballpark, with increasing regularity.
On the flip side, the pitching here is erratic. Mechanically, things are solid. Tap one of four pitches to queue your selection, aim within the strike zone using tilt, then a tap of the screen throws the ball.
Our sore spot with the pitching is that there’s no sense of speed, ever. Sliders don’t look much different from fastballs, and the ball looks like it’s flying through molasses on the way to the plate. Oddly, changing difficulty levels doesn’t affect pitch speeds, either. We suspect the batting wouldn’t be so easy if the pitching felt more dynamic, but it’s disappointing to say the least.
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks.
The fielding aspect of the game virtually plays itself. You can’t physically control the movement of your fielders, and catching fly balls is done by using a glorified Quick Time Event. You can throw to various bases from icons in the bottom right corner, and it’s fairly responsive.
Exhibition play launches a one-off game that can be either a three- or nine-inning game, but the Season Mode is the primary substantial mode of the game. However, it’s really barebones. There’s no individual stat tracking, injuries, trades, or much of the great depth seen in game competition like Baseball Superstars or Power Pros Touch. This reality combined with no mulitplayer modes, though Flick Baseball Pro is Plus+ enabled, makes the feature set feel slim.
By most measures, Flick Baseball Pro is a quality game. It looks fantastic, plays great, and the baseball experience is true enough to the real sport. Like we said, the game is a home run. But with miscalculations on some mechanics and features, Flick Baseball Pro falls short of being an epic Grand Slam.