Baseball Manager 2010 Review (Wireless)
I have played a number of sports games on the iPhone, and to some extent, they all feel "shoehorned" onto the platform. Since the iPhone does not have dedicated controls, most rely on either spotty "virtual" D-pads or creative touch controls. Regardless, sports game have not quite found themselves on the iPhone yet.
One kind of sports game, though, would seem to be a better fit: text sims. They are perfect for short-term gaming sessions. They do not rely on non-existent controls. Even graphics are not an issue.
Surprisingly, despite the match, text sims are severely underrepresented in the App Store. Baseball Manager 2010 is trying to break that trend.
Baseball Manager is a new traditional baseball simulation with most of the features you have come to expect in these types of games. You can set lineups, trade players and manage contracts. Games are simulated in quick periods of time and there are stats and league leaders. There are minor-league squads and disabled lists, fatigue and job offers, short lists and scouting.
I say most of the features, because some standard things surprisingly are missing. For one, there is no way to set a pitching rotation. I also have not seen a player steal. And the computer cannot seem to deal with pinch runners (your sub just comes in at the end of the inning).
Even the simulation engine is purely sim. There is no strategy selection, such as bunts or intentional walks. The AI is running the show, and not always doing a great job at that. For example, if you quick sim, starting pitchers seem to invariably stay in for eight innings, even if they give up a ton of runs.
Probably the biggest missing element is the ability to "batch sim" a bunch of games in a row. Of course, this would not be wise anyway since the same pitcher would pitch eight innings every game (until he got hurt).
The UI isn't half bad looking.
Looks Good, and Imported
On the controls side of things, the interface is pretty solid. A lot of information is just a few touches away, and menus are easy to find and navigate. I wish the lineup screen had a drag-and-drop interface, but that is one of the few gripes with this aspect of the game.
The rosters are out of date, featuring no offseason moves. This game does not feature any licenses, but thankfully does allow you to edit player and team names. To help make this easier, each player's name is only slightly "misspelled."
Another oddity is the rather "un-baseball" terminology in this game. For instance, you do not trade players, you "buy" them. I am also not sure the last time I have seen a "reserves" roster in a baseball game. The game's developer, Fizz Software, is certainly showing their European roots.
This game, despite missing some rather key features, does fill the niche for a baseball text simulation on the iPhone. If you can overlook the problems, you may find that this rather simple baseball game is a nice way to get your GM fix while on the road.
In the Dugout: Missing some baseball necessities, yet occasionally surprising with its depth and statistics. AI is spotty, but games sim pretty quickly and stats seem on par. No quick play or exhibition modes.
Graphics: Clean and simple interface.
Sound: Some nice sound effects but nothing too special.
Entertainment Value: At $5, this game is slightly expensive for what it is. Still, you can easily spend $5 in much worse ways.
Learning Curve: The game offers some helpful hints and explanations on just about every screen.
Online Play: None.
Score: 5.5 (Slightly Above Average)