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iPhone  header logo

9 innings: Pro Baseball 2011

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

Caught out

Product: 9 innings: Pro Baseball 2011 | Publisher: Com2uS | Format: iPhone | Genre: Sports | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: US | App version: 1.0.0
9 innings: Pro Baseball 2011 iPhone, thumbnail 1
In baseball you've got powerhouse teams like the Yankees that dominate the game.

Then there are the good, but inconsistent franchises like San Diego that vary from year to year. 2008 wasn't so hot for the Padres, but 2010 is shaping up much better.

The same can be said of the baseball line up on iPhone and iPod touch. There are the powerhouses like Baseball Superstars 2010 and the less impressive efforts such as Flick Baseball Pro.

9 Innings: Pro Baseball 2011 sits closer to the latter than the former. It has some neat ideas spoiled by unforgivable flubs.

Great American pastime

Developer Com2uS makes a concerted effort to replicate the spirit of the game and 9 Innings: Pro Baseball 2011 at least delivers on the core pitching and batting elements.

Batting is purely based on timing, instead of tilt accuracy as with most other games. While this neglects the oft-employed accelerometer for a less interactive tap control scheme, it has the impact of making batting more precise.

Similarly, pitching involves selecting a throw, setting the pitch zone, and then tapping to stop an accuracy circle that determines the precision of your throw.

Where the game gets iffy is in its new RPG-esque card collection mechanic. Points earned from games can spent on new players - all 780-odd player profiles licensed from the MLBPA - via randomised card packs or to level up your current roster.

Unfortunately, it's not clear how this system works upon your arrival to the scene. The whole thing is confusing. Only after hours of experimentation did I figure out how it all worked. The only tutorial to be found is an external video viewed via a web browser.

Comeback kid

Of greater concern is opponent behaviour. Whenever you're handily beating the computer, it miraculously makes a come back.

It's as though 9 Innings has been programmed so as to keep games dramatically close. It seems harder to get hits when you're ahead but when you're down home runs flow like water. At times it can feel a bit like nothing you do actually matters.

Also, at times, the computer team appears destined to win. There were games where outfielders didn't complete basic plays. Whereas my players couldn't track down a single fly ball, the computer's players were making diving grabs. Given the automated fielding, there's no excuse for such lackadaisical performances.

Switch hitter

You can always ignore these flaws by skipping the League and Exhibition modes in favour of just hitting homers. While not as fully featured as Com2uS's excellent Homerun Battle 3D, there's some pleasure to be had in knocking a few out of the park.

The official license granted by the Major League Baseball Players Association also lends 9 Innings an authenticity that's been lacking from other games. Of course, this obviously doesn't automatically make it a superior title but it does give it an edge.

Ultimately though, the gameplay has to stand on its own and there's not enough quality baseball to be had here to warrant a recommendation. You can squeeze some pleasure from the batting and pitching mechanics, yet it's hard escape the feeling that these games have been rigged.
9 Innings: Pro Baseball 2011
Reviewer photo
Andrew Groen | 16 July 2010
An honest, though underwhelming effort, 9 Innings: Pro Baseball 2011 toys too much with game balancing in an effort to deliver high drama
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