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3 A B C D H S T

Homerun Battle 3D Review

TiG Rapid Review




Another Heavy Hitter by Com2uS

There is always a demand for full-featured sports games like Madden NFL 10 or Real Soccer 2010. But the influence of the mobile and casual games market has fueled consumer interests in more streamlined action. The result is a game like Homerun Battle 3D, a casual arcade homrun derby contest developed by Com2uS. Although casual in nature, Homerun Battle 3D has scored big with fans in the App Store suggesting that less really is more.

As a homerun derby contest, Homerun Battle 3D is not a full-featured baseball game. There are, however, 4 game modes and clever in-game elements that more than make up for this seemingly limited focus.

Single Player Game Mode: "Arcade" mode is a single-player mission where you attempt to hit as many homeruns before reaching 10 outs and collect special item balls that boost score or reduce total number of outs. There are also special "gold balls" that can be redeemed for player item upgrades. "Classic" mode is similar to Arcade mode except any hit that is not a homerun is considered an out. Since practice-makes-perfect, Homerun Battle 3D features a useful "Training" mode to get more experience against the numerous pitching styles available.

Online PvP Perhaps the bread-and-butter of the entire game is the online network experience (Matchup mode) where you can battle against anyone in the world. The PvP network is a a feature that Com2uS seems to excel at and has created a respectable online community. The performance of online PvP is actually pretty good aside from minor latency issues. For example, in a close online matchup, you may get the impression that you've just scored the winning home run but end up losing the game! Such latency issues are somewhat expected in the early going of online PvP in the mobile games space, particularly for iPhone games. The infrastructure has not reached its full potential. Casual gamers shouldn't be bothered too much by this but hard-core fans will find losing beyond their own control inexcusable.

Scoring is well implemented in this game with different ways to achieve scoring bonuses. Distance, crashing into the electronic signs, and special item balls peppered randomly into various pitches adds real depth to an otherwise one-dimensional game. Cycling points are given for hitting to each direction (left, right, and center). Called shots earn extra points for hitting a home in the direction your batter points.

Homerun Battle 3D Review
Homerun Battle 3D Review
Homerun Battle 3D Review
Homerun Battle 3D Review
Homerun Battle 3D Review
Homerun Battle 3D Review

The mechanics of playing is easy to learn but takes some experience to get proficient. Using the accelerometer, you can control the swing plane of the bat (tilt up or down) and swinging inside or outside of the batter's box by tilting left or right. A single tap will execute the swing. The controls are quite natural and perhaps the best of any baseball game I have played for the device. While skill accounts for a good portion of success, your player's equipment capabilities (power and contact ratings) also affects the outcome of each hit.

Part of the fun of the game is grinding through single or online matchups to earn gold balls for item upgrades to improve your slugger's overall abilities. There are numerous achievements available that provide a fast way to collect gold balls that can then be exchanged for item upgrades. The intention here is obviously to increase replay value, which works well if you like the game format. Item upgrades to helmet, bat, uniform, and other avatar upgrades can increase your power (how far you hit the ball) and/or contact, which simply improves your chances for making a solid hit on the ball.

In mid-October, Com2uS added an In-App purchase feature where you can actually "pay" for item upgrades through different "uniform packages". Be warned, prices can range from $0.99 to $19.99! Charging for item upgrades at prices well above the game itself is an interesting and peculiar new feature to say the least. For serious fans chasing the leaderboard, however, the price may be well worth it.

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In a Nutshell:

Com2uS delivers a great arcade homerun derby experience with Homerun Battle 3D. It is the perfect execution of a baseball mini-game that is unlikely to be topped in the App Store. That said, its $4.99 price may seem a little out in left field for some folks given it is not a full featured baseball game. With nearly perfect controls and a very good online PvP experience, Homerun Battle 3D does have a lot to offer for the price. It may not occupy your time for weeks-on-end but it's plenty satisfying for an occasional pick-up game.

The Hits:

  • Great 3D graphics and audio make for a great arcade experience
  • Online PvP lets you battle anyone in the world and even manage your "friends" list.
  • Controls are excellent and easy-to-learn.
  • Numerous fun achievements/awards to obtain.
  • Ability to upgrade your slugger's equipment through earned gold balls or In-App purchases adds to the replay value.

The Misses:

  • Minor latency issues with online PvP games may irritate hard-core gamers.
  • $4.99 price point may be considered to high for a game that does not feature a full-length baseball game. For a great full-featured baseball game, check out 9 Innings by Com2uS.

[Reviewed Version 1.3.0 on 2nd Generation iPod Touch running OS3.1]