iOOTP Baseball 2013 Review (iPhone)
Last week we posted our review of Out of the Park Baseball 14, which garnered extremely high marks from us once again this season. The Out of the Park Baseball series is a simulation which focuses heavily on the business aspects of baseball, where you manage your franchise from the minor leagues on up to make the most money and win the most games. In a sense, OOTP is as much a business simulation as it is a baseball one.
This week, we are taking a look at iOOTP Baseball 2013, which is the newest installment of a mobile version of the aforementioned game. This year, you get real 2013 MLB rosters along with the top 20 minor league prospects for each team, with each player rated based on PECOTA by Baseball Prospectus.
The first thing you will notice this year is that the interface has been redesigned to make navigation easier throughout the game. Navigation between menus even feels smoother than it has in the past in transition from screen to screen. It's incredibly important for games like iOOTP to do exceptionally well with the interface as the game's entire success is really built into how well you can move between menus.
However, the menus do still feel somewhat clunky in parts, as I found myself wanting to zoom in to have more precise control on which player I was picking on my iPhone as an example. However, the navigation of the menus is much better thought out this time around, which makes the entire experience more enjoyable.
The news stories and play-by-play engines both received major revisions as well, with new lines and stories being introduced into the game for more variety. In game simulations are still well done in iOOTP, with a simple approaching being taken with decisions being put within a strategies window in the in-game interface. You can quick play to skip ahead in the game, or you can make decisions each and every pitch -- it all depends on how you set up your in game experience.
I have always preferred to be more of a general manager and just let the games go how they will and simulate through. Personally, I find the roster building process more fun than the actual winning of games from game to game.
iOOTP 2013 borrows a couple of features from its big brother, including new player creation and new trading AI. I'm happy to report both work quite well and as intended -- with trades being much better handled and new players coming into the game being much more realistic.
Also, if you want to take to rewriting history, old seasons are available for purchase for $.99 per season via in-app purchases.
iOOTP Baseball 2013 is what you want to make of it. It is the best way to pick up and play a well constructed baseball sim with real players and a good simulation engine backbone on mobile platforms. While iOOTP is still a clear step behind it's big brother, that's ok and expected. For the price ($4), the value you get is quite large.
This year's game feels more stable and polished than last year's game, with a smoother interface and better performance overall. While the core gameplay is incredibly familiar, it still performs better in most every area over last year's edition. If you are a baseball fan looking for a fun way to pass your time, or if you are an avid OOTP fan, this is the mobile version of your new addiction, surely to cost you precious hours of what was formerly your social life.
Score: 8.5 (Great)