It's the all-star break: The approximate midway point of the Major League Baseball season when regular games stop for a few days and most people (players included) pay little attention to Tuesday's All-Star Game. If you want to see your favorite team in action right now, you'll have to make it happen yourself--by firing up one of the official MLB games in the App Store.
There are all sorts of options, including card-based games and in-depth management simulators--but if you want to swing the bat and toss the ball using real-life rosters, you have a few key options this season. They're all pretty different in style and execution, and if you're looking to pick one licensed baseball game to invest your time and money into, there's a clear winner. Here's a look at the season's baseball options, along with our top pick.
MLB Perfect Inning 15
Gamevil's free-to-play simulation series debuted last year, and the publisher followed it up with this 2015 edition this spring. MLB Perfect Inning 15 (free) has the full array of licensed content: Teams, players, and stadiums, offering a pretty complete take on the pro sport. The batting and pitching mechanics are solid, and the former offers options for different levels of skill (or interest): You can aim your bat when swinging, or have the game automate the process for easier contact.
At a glance, Perfect Inning has the visual gloss of a console game, but the players are sometimes oddly built, and the animations are often janky. But that's not the crucial issue here--it's that the game is filled to the brim with freemium elements that not only disrupt the competitive balance, but also prove confusing. Individual players have stamina and condition meters, plus you have to pay tickets to simulate games. More pressingly, you can pay money to draft better players, as well as buy stars to spend on items and perks. Knowing that your team is at a disadvantage from the start zaps a fair bit of the fun, but it's still a decent sim for occasional at-bats.
R.B.I. Baseball 15
Last year also saw the re-launch of R.B.I. Baseball 15 ($5), the old-school series that hadn't produced a new entry in nearly two decades--only the revival wasn't so great. The controls were inconsistent, the gameplay turned monotonous pretty quickly, and the inability to save a game and return to it later made for a rough mobile experience. Luckily, the second go-round is much improved, delivering a game that's fun, easy to understand and enjoy, and solidly polished.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.