Just like Freeverse's recently released Warpgate [$4.99 / $6.99 (HD)], Flick Baseball [$2.99] has had a development cycle that borders on legendary for an iPhone game. We first heard of the game in a guest article by Freeverse developer Mark Andersson, and didn't actually see it in motion until a few months later when we played a very basic (and different looking) build of the game at WWDC. Later, we posted a preview trailer that had such an impact on Baseball fans around here that it seemed to slightly overshadow the release of Gameloft's Derek Jeter Real Baseball that popped up on the App Store in the following weeks.
After our preview from last week, I've spent a considerable amount of time with the game. Essentially, if you're looking for an in-depth 3D baseball simulation game, you're going to need to keep waiting-- But if you're like me and prefer sports games that have an arcade feel to them, then you'll enjoy Flick Baseball.
Each of the different actions that make up the baseball game has a mini-game feel to it. Batting works just like Com2Us's Homerun Battle 3D [$4.99 / Free / $4.99 (HD)] where you tilt your device to move around a transparent crosshair of sorts to line up your bat. Tapping the screen swings, and you can advance bases by tapping on them in the corner of the screen.
Pitching is a guessing game of sorts that you play with the AI controlled batter. You select a pitch, then tilt the device to aim where you're going to throw and tap the screen to let it fly. If you choose the same pitch as the AI batter, they get a power bonus if they hit the ball. When your pitching luck runs out and the batter lands a hit, Flick Baseball automatically has your team field the ball. While most fielding is automatic, for fly balls, you contribute by playing a timing-based mini-game where four baseball gloves come flying out of each corner of the screen. In this instance, catching the ball requires you to tap the gloves as they intersect.
Once one of your fielders have the ball, using the same interface as running bases you can tap to throw the ball. While none of these areas of the game feel particularly technical, they are still fun. Also, if you don't like batting (or fielding), you can skip entire innings to only play the portions of the game you enjoy.
Skipped innings are calculated based on the statistics of your players, which serves as a fairly in-depth subsystem that controls the entire game. As you go through a game your pitcher's stamina decreases and it becomes harder to aim your pitches. Each batter's accuracy controls the size of their tilt-controlled hit zone. Many other player stats run the rest of the game.
If you're serious enough about baseball to want to play through entire seasons, you can do that as well, and skip as many games as you'd like just like skipping innings. And if you really get in to the game, you can build entire customized teams where you can tweak, modify, and fiddle around with nearly everything imaginable to create your own team filled with players that have silly names and ugly uniforms.
As I mentioned before, if you're the kind of person who wants a highly detailed in-depth baseball game, Flick Baseball isn't the game for you. Everything in Flick Baseball seems to be optimized for quick pick up and play sessions that focuses more on being fun than overly technical or difficult.
Eventually, Flick Baseball will be available in two flavors: The "Pro" version that is available today, and a free version sponsored by Chevy that is being put together by Small Planet which is still waiting to be approved by Apple. It will retain all the core gameplay elements, but you'll be missing out on things like season mode and team customization.
App Store Link: Flick Baseball Pro, $2.99