iOOTP 2012 Review (iPhone)
The handheld iOOTP 2012 is the creation of a sick-minded individual who takes pleasure in a loss of productivity for mankind.
At least, that's the story I'm going to stick with as I review yet another magnificent release from Out of the Park Developments.
This year's iOOTP 2012 is a baseball text-simulation which was released a couple of weeks ago in the App Store for your iDevices (iPad or iPhone). While you won't confuse this game with iOOTP's big brother, Out of the Park Baseball, it still represents a highly accessible and deep text-sim, especially given the $5 price tag.
Since iOOTP is a text-simulation, it is not a graphically driven game. Everything you do with the game is done via a set of menus. This means that as goes the menus, as goes the text-simulation so to speak.
The game's menu system was redesigned and streamlined, which is a good thing because while the old menu system wasn't bad by any stretch, there were inefficiencies which have been corrected. Now, almost everything is within a few finger taps of the top menu.
Your manager home page has everything you need within the main menu -- as from there it's just a couple of button taps to manage your lineup, figure out your rotation or check the standings.
The menu system isn't as good as it could be, though, as I still feel there are a few too many button taps to be had, but you would also possibly make the game feel more cluttered as well by doing so. Regardless, while the menu's aren't perfect, they're still good enough that they do not detract from your experience.
In-game, you will find the options are ample to manage your team, but there are still several in-game options missing which I would attest to the simple fact the game is a $5 app and not a $30 game. It's hard to say whether I fault iOOTP for this or if it's just a reality of the situation. Regardless, the in-game control over your team is rather basic, but you can do enough that you probably won't miss the more in-depth stuff unless you are a baseball junkie.
The simulation results are very well done. I simulated through a season and saw nothing that you'd think was completely unrealistic. Josh Hamilton led the league in homers with 44 overall, while Roy Halladay had a career season with a 20-5 record with a 2.44 ERA.
It's not like you are getting guys hit 80 home runs or pitchers going 27-0 with .88 ERAs -- so the stats are in a sense quite OK. There will be some things that'll make you raise your eyebrow if you look deep enough, but as Ron Washington says, "That's how baseball go [sic]."
The statistical depth within the game is pretty solid, although there were shortcuts taken in regards to some stats being omitted, but really, I'm not sure if you need saber metrics in a handheld mobile app.
Given the relationship between the cost of the game and the features you get, it's hard to argue with what iOOTP brings.
The actual managing-of-your-roster part of the game is perhaps my biggest gripe personally, as I feel the game was overly simplified in this area. While you can negotiate player contracts, and you are given decent amounts of control on how much you want to play players and when, it's really hard to synergize your monetary info to a point where it actually makes sense.
Also, there isn't much to managing your team outside of player contracts. I personally feel iOOTP suffers from the same problem EA Football games do, in the sense of what exactly are you? If you are the GM your tools have you completely hobbled, if you are the manager well you don't have all the management options in game you might need -- I think in the future iOOTP would benefit in making what you are more clear and focus on those aspects of a baseball team more-so.
Regardless, in terms of functionality you have enough flexibility with the in-game business options to manage a small minor league system (one level) plus your major league roster that you probably won't raise too much of a fuss.
There are some things I wish iOOTP could do, but those things would also put the game outside of it's current price range without a doubt.
For what you pay, you get a highly capable baseball text-sim that in some ways passes other sims on the market today not named Out of the Park Baseball for a ridiculously cheap $5. If you are a baseball fan who loves the numbers and who loves the strategy behind the game, iOOTP 2012 is your kind of game.
If you find yourself second guessing your manager's decisions each night, and you want to give that aspect of the game a try yourself don't hesitate to buy iOOTP today.
Menus: An improvement over iOOTP 2012's predecessor, but could still be better with a bit more thought.
Simulation Stats: For the most part highly realistic. No simulation engine is perfect and neither is iOOTP's, but you won't find much to gripe about.
Stability: I ran both the Beta and Retail version on my iPhone to no crashes with a few hours worth of gameplay. A well produced app.
Learning Curve: It will take you a bit if you are a newcomer to get acclimated to the Text-Sim lifestyle, but within an hour or so you'll be managing like a champ.
Value: For $5, this is one of the best values in a sports game you will find on the market.
Score: 8 (Great)