The Baseball Superstars series has come quite a long way on the iPhone. The original Baseball Superstars [$2.99 / Lite] was released in late 2008-- It was a fairly obvious port from Gamevil's cell phone version of the game, complete with stretched graphics, mediocre virtual controls, and not much else. When we caught up with Gamevil at the following GDC, they previewed an update that fixed pretty much everything that initially made us take a pass on reviewing the game when it was first released. With improved graphics, and a more sensible difficulty level, Baseball Superstars quickly became one of my favorite iPhone games.

It wasn't much of a surprise to me when Baseball Superstars 2010 [$2.99 / Lite / HD] was released that we liked it just as much, if not more. Our review reflected the various refinements that Gamevil made to the series which only made the experience even better and the game even more difficult to put down. Baseball Superstars 2011 [$4.99] was just released, and as you may have guessed by now, it's even better than the last.

If you've never heard of this game series, here's the gist: Gamevil has made the perfect baseball game for those of us who normally don't care at all about baseball games. Sports games typically don't do too much for me, and the closer they get to the "simulation" side of the spectrum, the less I'm interested in them. Gamevil takes things to the complete opposite end of that scale with Baseball Superstars via the integration of equally ridiculous super batters and pitchers, RPG elements, and tons of items to boost the aspects of your player's performance.

All this fun stuff takes place in "My League" mode where you choose whether you want to play as a batter or pitcher, then you just grind away batting and pitching in baseball game after baseball game. Between these games you're given the opportunity to train your player by sending him off to participate in various training drills, and you can buy things like bats, helmets, and other items which all provide some form of benefit. These are bought either with the money your character earns playing (Their salary increases as they get better as well.) or via G Points which are slowly earned by playing but can be bought in large quantities via an IAP. Also, interestingly enough, these G Points can be sent to other players through an in-game mail system of sorts... So if you've got an excess of G Points and want to help out a friend who just got the game, you can send them up to 30,000 a day.

While "My League" mode only has you in charge of a single player, season mode has you looking after an entire team in addition to the overall appeal of your stadium. When graduating to season mode, there's even more training options, and you're able to trade players, hire coaches, and upgrade the various components of your home stadium. It's all really fun, and all the silly player training and stadium tweaking really keeps you playing, providing great goals along the way such as just needing to play a few more games to buy an awesome new scoreboard for your team. In fact, the RPG elements of Baseball Superstars make it really hard to put down, because there's a seemingly never-ending supply of upgrades that are just a few games away.

Once you're happy with your team, you can take them online and battle other teams in versus mode. This is all asynchronous, and it's basically the same as playing an exhibition game except you're playing against the stats of another player's team. This was introduced in last year's Baseball Superstars, and it's just as cool in this year's iteration. The game modes don't stop there though, there's also a home run derby mode and a mission mode. 28 missions are included initially, and there's a "download missions" option to get even more. These missions include things like just simply landing a successful bunt to hitting a grand slam. The previously mentioned G Points are awarded for any completed missions.

Much like the Madden games, and other yearly sports series, Gamevil's Baseball Superstars 2011 is the same basic game with a number of tweaks, additions, and other changes. If you want to get your feet wet, the best place to start is the lite version of Baseball Superstars 2010. It will give you a great idea of what to expect of 2011, as the core arcade style baseball gameplay hasn't really changed at all aside from a new camera angle for batting. Once Baseball Superstars 2009 got updated, I couldn't put it down. Baseball Superstars 2010 was even better, and Baseball Superstars 2011 is better yet.

RPG elements provide a great goal to keep players who aren't normally in to playing sports games interested, and the core gameplay is likely competent enough to make hardcore baseball fans happy. (As long as you're OK with players wearing tiger heads for helmets batting with sledgehammers.) If you're the kind of person who can get way too involved in any game that offers bars to fill and other types of RPG style progression, you'll likely really enjoy Baseball Superstars 2011. Just be warned, once you get sucked in the game is almost impossible to put down. You'll find yourself playing "just one more game" for hours.

TouchArcade Rating

  • swarmster

    No mention of retina or universal support means I'm guessing there isn't any?

    The question I've always had with doing an RPG-like sports game on a yearly basis is, do you feel like they change enough every year that you're compelled to progress through everything again? The review implies yes, but I still have trouble picturing it being the case.

    • Eli Hodapp

      Well it's a sprite-based game with pixel art. So it does render at Retina Display resolutions, and the interface elements are crisp... But the art style of the game doesn't change. If you click any of the screens in the review you can see the full Retina Display resolution.

  • just a friend

    thanks for the review! unfortunately the lack of any sort of realism in this game (i have played through the 2010 version) makes it not as enjoyable for me compared to 9 innings. the ridiculous silly/crazy pitches are confounding! also the rpg elements could use a little work (though i did enjoy it).

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  • themyst

    In-app purchases on a full-priced iPhone game? BIG no-no. Either you drop the price of the download, or you make it easier to get G-points. You can't have both. Complete and utter bs. F Gamevil. I was extremely excited for this game too, but not with that business model.

    • Eli Hodapp

      It is easy to get G Points. There's absolutely no reason to buy them unless you really feel the need to buy the ultimate bat or something and don't want to do any of the missions or actually play the game to get it.

      • AlanFalcon

        The problem is that to enter the Hall of Fame costs 20,000 G-points! I have no idea how to remain competitive by keeping up with training and semi-required things like Mushrooms and Hypnosis while also saving up so many points. On top of that, there was no indication that entering the Hall of Fame upon retiring would require so many points, so now my batting career mode slot is essentially frozen until I either give Gamevil more money through in-game purchasing or somehow manage to save up 20,000 points. Unless I decide to forego the Hall of Fame, but that doesn't seem right either.

        I love this game, I spent most of 24 hours straight playing missions and going through 10 seasons to build up my first career mode player and decided to retire him as suggested by the game at that point so that I could start a new batter knowing what I've learned about the game, but I simply can't without paying more real money.

        So I'm going to disagree and say that "there's absolutely no reason to buy them" doesn't work once you attempt to retire your player.

      • Hunter Johnson

        play homerun race alot if you hit the gamevil sign you get an extra 2000 points

    • Greg Feingold

      Why do people overreact so much on the Internet? Did you really change your opinion of the whole game based on this minutiae? Are you really this concerned?

      • themyst

        I normally don't react so negatively to iPhone games in general, but Gamevil committed the cardinal sin of charging a full-feature release price for the download AND neutering it with in-app purchases.

        Of course it isn't as bad as what EA Sports is doing lately with Madden, but it's a disturbing trend. We are all entitled to our opinion, and this is mine. Double the accrual rate of G-Points and my criticism is retracted. Yes, I've played 20 games in season mode and also touched the homerun derby mode, and you get 1200 GP total for that. Still needs more.

      • Kevin

        you can easily get thousands and thousands of GP by doing missions over and over. acquiring GP is not a problem in this game.

      • Dafalcon

        There are diminishing returns with the missions, and some (like hit an inside-the-park-homerun) feel just about impossible to complete even once to advance further.

  • Gobeatty

    Hmm...not sure I want an icon on my phone that's says BS in big letters. I will have to think about this one.

  • Brandon Gribin

    I'm really enjoying this one - thanks for reviewing it, Eli. I hadn't tried either of the previous Baseball Superstar titles but after reading your review, I decided to give 2011 a go. It's great.

    I'm having trouble finding the forum post for it though, maybe I'm missing it?

  • Chickdigger802

    Yo eli, what ever happened to the obligatory statement related to 'sponsors and reviews' and stuff?

    I remember they used to be in all the reviews before.

  • Chickdigger802

    Yo eli, what ever happened to the obligatory statement related to 'sponsors and reviews' and stuff?

    I remember they used to be in all the reviews before.

  • Chevy639

    Hard to read the review with the glaring BS 2011 ads running along the sides of the screen...

  • DocMcgillicuddy
  • Christoph Lederer

    Worst baseball ever... Its for sure not worth 4 euro, but not more then 1...

  • Briandunkle

    I was loving this game until I got hit with an arbitrary "curse" (negative power) one too many times...Oh, I've been slumping lately, so I need to get the "miss swing" power? -10% hitting, no way to cure it except 2000 G-points. First off, my player leads the league in hitting by 40 points, including hitting about .500 in his last 20 games, and his slump consisted of ONE 0-4 game. But in any case, this feels 100% like they're holding the game hostage for money. Added (unnecessary) stuff, cool equipment, different uniforms? Sure. Removing an artificial negative effect that was put on my player JUST to get my money? No. This has left a very bad taste in my mouth. Different if it was a free game, but I paid for this, then they broke it until I pay more.
    (yes, I have enough points, that's not the....point)

    • Ayebaj

      I had this too with my hitting, power, and defense all down. I tried to train each one consecutively to boost my skills to no avail. But really though it's taken away from my experience of the game. At least I know now what to do to remove it...but still just slapping a negative effect on my player without reason? That's not really RPG-like..

  • Guest

    Bs 09 and 10 were great I was hooked since day one. Bs 11 is just that, a big BS (bull s$&t). I agree with some of you guys. It is ridiculous that they are charging for g points. That is so lame. This is called extortion in my world. Is gamevil turning for organized crime??? Maybe. The change in the graphics are great but they screwed it all up with the g point issue. It's so hard to get them and everything is so expensive within the game to force people to buy g points. Gamevil youdeserve a big boo.

  • Baseballfreak2570

    Please gift me! (Qman614)

  • Lawrence Jewell

    The game has a lot of good points. The G-Points "micro credit" thing bothers me. I also am put off by the goofy items and weird messages. It feels like a bad translation of a Japanese game.

    I would quit playing it if there were other fun baseball apps out there...

  • Crazyk7227

    G points are easy to come by. Play the home run race, everytime your homerun hits one of the 2 gamevil signs you get 2000 g points. I can rack up around 30000 - 40000 g points in half an hour.

  • Psmv9903

    The game is too hard and once your team goes into a death spiral you can't get out - because you have no moral and your revenue drops way down too.  It would be nice if the game adjusted a little or gave you some help when you get in a jam.  20-3 scores stop being fun after a while.

  • Anonymous

    I retired my player in myleague and now can't start another career as a result. Can you reset the game to start again??

  • Hunter Johnson

    how can you send g points to players?