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Which MLB game is this season's iOS all-star?

Andrew Hayward | July 15, 2015
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.

Granted, R.B.I. Baseball 15 does still commit errors on occasion with its streamlined simulation, but by and large, the game works well on mobile. And now there's a bit more personality than last year, as park features are fleshed out and players look more like their real-life counterparts. Crucially, too, you can save and exit a game at any point and then pick back up the next time you play. It's a one-time $5 purchase, too, with no in-app prompts to spend further money. That's hugely important with a sports game. The lack of multiplayer in a premium game is a disappointing, though.

Tap Sports Baseball 15 

Glu's Tap Sports Baseball 15  (free) varies from the above games in a couple of key ways. First off, it doesn't have the full MLB license, just the one from the Players Association--so it has the pro athletes, but not their teams (weird, but not the first time this has happened). More importantly, it doesn't let you pitch or play defense, so you're simply swinging the bat and occasionally tapping buttons to make strategic decisions.

As such, it's not a full simulation, but Tap Sports is decent for what it is. The asynchronous multiplayer approach lets you swap innings with an online foe, but you're still just hitting against an A.I. team based on your opponent's roster. The free-to-play design is much like that of Perfect Inning: You'll have to grind or spend money to unlock better draft picks, which net you improved players for your squad. Simplistic design makes Tap Sports Baseball 2015 an ideal game for casual players, but it's not a very rich or in-depth experience.

9 Innings: 2015 Pro Baseball Plus

Like Tap Sports, 9 Innings: 2015 Pro Baseball Plus  ($3) has licensed players, but not their teams. However, since it's a complete simulation that lets you bat, pitch, and play the field, not having real-life teams, stadiums, or uniforms ends up being a very odd experience--especially since the fictional team logos don't even try to mimic the real-life ones. Even more jarring are the terrible graphics and generic presentation, which make 9 Innings seem very old, and there's a real disconnect between the MLB player faces and the look and feel of the rest of the game.

You'll tap to swing and position a cursor to pitch--super basic stuff--and the game gets into a solid flow once underway, despite the ancient aesthetic. But everything around it is kind of a mess. The fuzzy, low-res menus constantly bombard you with ads and opportunities to spend money on in-app purchases, even in this paid app (there's a free version too). And the freemium design pushes you to spend big to improve your team, which isn't very fun. It's just not worth it for a game this limp.

 

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