Baseball is finally back after a long winter. It's looking like another rough season for my Texas Rangers, with more season-ending injuries and prospects they traded playing for other teams. Thankfully, baseball simulator iOOTP is back for another season on iOS. Boasting a fresh MLB license and a new name, MLB Manager 2015 [$4.99], the time has come for me to try and change my favorite team's fate, and develop them into perennial contenders. Previous iOOTP games came with what amounted to incremental improvements from year-to-year. MLB Manager, despite the fresh new license, follows the same tack: a few new tweaks and features rule the day.

MLB Manager 2015 Review 5

For those unfamiliar with Out of the Park Development's modus operandi, MLB Manager is a baseball simulation where you serve as the general manager and/or manager of a baseball team, making personnel and financial decisions to build the best team possible as the general manager. As GM, you'll be promoting and demoting players, signing free agents, making trades, and trying to keep the owner happy and the team successful. You can also serve as the field manager, making on-field decisions like pulling pitchers and calling for steals, along with setting pitching rotations and making lineups. You can let the computer handle these functions and just simulate games in a flash, or you can play it pitch-by-pitch. The only thing you can't do is to swing the bat yourself.

MLB Manager appeals to the fan who likes the structure of professional baseball and its machinations as much as they do the game itself. If you want a good baseball game, go play Super Mega Baseball on PlayStation. Seriously, do that, the game's not a pure simulation but it's even better than The Show. If you're a fan of professional baseball in particular, MLB Manager is the game for you. It may be a scaled-down version of the desktop OOTP games, but it's still light-years ahead of the simulations in 'actual' baseball games.

MLB Manager 2015 Review 3

What you're going to get out of MLB Manager depends on how much you're willing to put into it. This is a game you can get limitless gameplay out of. You can take over from the start of 2015 and go on for decades, and then start over and try again. The game will accommodate you and how detailed you want to play. Want to just take a macro view of things and simulate seasons at a time, only getting interrupted for major events? That's possible. If you prefer controlling strategy on a pitch-by-pitch basis, you have that level of granular control. These details even extend out to the league itself. You can redraft teams, or even play with rosters comprised of just fictional rosters.

Once you get into the game, you can edit any player's attributes. This is welcome because any game is going to not get everything perfect when there are thousands of players to recreate. Information on things like pitch types are even imperfect at sites that track them such as FanGraphs. So, the dedicated fan who thinks a pitcher has a curveball instead of a slider can fix that. It is possible to cheat by inflating some players' stats with this system. Hey, I'm not above the idea of reducing every current and former member of the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals' stats to the bare minimum. I'm also too lazy to go and actually do it. Maybe I'll just change David Freese's stats. As a Rangers fan, I don't care much for him in particular. This level of specific control is necessary for fans of the sport who need it, though.

MLB Manager 2015 Review 2

This is where the problems with MLB Manager start, though. The interface is still complex, and not the most responsive, especially in menus with lots of buttons. Playing on the iPhone 6 Plus should make menu navigation easier than on previous iPhones, but it's still easy to tap the wrong thing. The layouts and placement of menu settings are still difficult to navigate. The player editor is in the "View" section and not "Action" for reasons that aren't quite clear. It doesn't get much clearer after hours of play. All these powerful tools are at your disposal, but the toolbox is still messy.

The interface has gotten a cleanup for iPhone 6 devices, but it's not going to win any design awards. It's functional, but with just a few flourishes. The background on the in-game section is still not a photo of the stadium your teams are playing in. Despite the MLB license, that detail has escaped notice here. That would be a cool flourish that should be easier to include now!

MLB Manager 2015 Review 4

I applaud MLB Manager 2015 for having a wider selection of minor league prospects than ever before. If you think Kris Bryant should be starting for the Cubs right now, you can do that. The game tracks service time, too: he may be a free agent a year sooner, but who know if Earth will still be around in 2021, much less Wrigleyville if the Cubs do win a World Series at some point? Still, there's some things like player demotion that aren't quite realistic. For example, in my first ill-fated attempt at leading the 2015 Texas Rangers to glory, I demoted Colby Lewis to the minors because his ERA was over 6. He was not happy, and he had a point – I'm pretty sure he doesn't have any minor league options. But MLB Manager 2015 doesn't track that. As someone who cares about that, I'm a bit disappointed. But considering that the minor league feature is more robust than before, I have hope that maybe 2016 is the year.

Some of these features have evaded the mobile games of these simulators in the past because iOS devices lack the processing power that the full systems feature. Plus, as a $4.99 game versus a $39.99 one, there's definitely a matter of scale to consider as well. If you want a portable version of OOTP Baseball, there's plenty of competent Windows tablets that could run the game. If you want it on your iPhone or iPad, this is the only game in town. MLB Manger is admittedly getting better year-by-year. Small tweaks and changes keep coming that only the diehards will notice or care about, but this is a game for those people.

MLB Manager 2015 Review 1

If you've never played a baseball simulator before, MLB Manager 2015 is as good a jumping-in spot as any, with the latest features and real teams adding to the authenticity. Baseball is a complex sport to manage, and this game isn't the most user-friendly with its menus. There is a learning curve to figure out how it all works. But once you do, and if you have that management itch, you'll lose hours, weeks, and months to this game, as I have in previous versions. It's too much fun if you're willing to give in to its evil charms. It's still not a perfect game, though. Short of a bottom-up overhaul of what the 2011 edition introduced to the series, expect 2016 to just have more slight changes.

Regardless, MLB Manager 2015 is a solid game that can provide killer value, and you can't expect a baseball game to dramatically change on a year-to-year basis. I just would love to see more iteration to make this the five-star baseball simulator that it could be. But still, what other choice do you have?

TouchArcade Rating

StarStarStarStarNone
  • spsummer

    Great review Carter, plus on opening day it's the perfect time for this game.

    • Dailon Huskey

      Should be a national holiday!

      • http://about.me/wondroushippo Carter Dotson

        Coincidentally, it's a holiday in the UK right now!

      • Dailon Huskey

        I can't wait to visit the UK one day as my fav sport is real football anyway πŸ™‚ opening day of EPL would be awesome to attend. I want to see that and an opening day MLB game. I have been to a lot of MLB games but never opening day.

  • Dailon Huskey

    I have enjoyed past two years of this game but for some reason dont want to buy it again. I'm gonna wait and see what RBI has to offer this year and mlb perfect inning did the same last year and ended up with this one Cuz it was best. I'm also liking the fact I can bring bryant up now since I will be playing as Cubs by the way 9 innings 2015 didn't see him anywhere on the roster deleted instantly

  • Chq

    A donkey digestion simulator would be more interesting than this piece of software.

    • Jake7905

      I guess we know who doesn't like baseball. Good job not exaggerating the issue.

    • https://www.linkedin.com/in/cookbrad Brad Cook

      Please don't steal our idea for our next simulation game! Thanks!

  • curtisrshideler

    I love picking up OOTP Devs mobile offering by Opening Day every year. It's always a blast to play. My Tigers (by birth) and Rangers (by current location) are all there and ready to be managed. Glad I can play multiple seasons at a time. Only wish I could be enjoying it at Globe Life Park today instead of while watching games on TV or MLBtv!

    • curtisrshideler

      If only they weren't opening in Oakland today. Guess I'll be up late tonight.

    • Jake7905

      Hey, between the apps and the broadcast, we've got it much better then all those suckers who paid for tickets. Or at least that's what I tell myself.

  • JP Falcon

    I have enjoyed the pc version since OOTP 2 but I find the mobile version rather weak, especially if you think of how Football Manager managed to keep its depth in mobile form. Why they could not have included the ability to be fired at this point is beyond me. In fact, I purposefully sabotaged the Giants to a 60-102 record and was simply told I would make a good shoe salesman, yet I continued to manage the team. So without the risk-reward, there is not much incentive to play season mode. I do however play individual historical seasons, and create fantasy drafts which make owning the game worthwhile in the end.

    • https://www.linkedin.com/in/cookbrad Brad Cook

      Since we aim this game for a crowd that wants a simpler experience, I'm not sure that adding the ability to get fired would do much for the game.

  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/cookbrad Brad Cook

    Thanks for the review!

  • Papa Deuce

    4 stars is exactly what I would have given. I spend too much time figuring out where to find what I am looking for. Sadly, I am playing my hometown Phillies, and they are terrible.

MLB Manager 2015 Reviewed by Carter Dotson on . Rating: 4