R.B.I. Baseball 14 – Swinging For The Fences

2.5 Overall Score
Gameplay: 3/5
Design: 2.5/5
Duration: 2.5/5

Boils down baseball into its base elements | Fast paced action | Accesible

Doesn't save mid-game | No way to simulate games | Pitching rotation is odd




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For some unknown reason, sports games really haven’t gotten a footing on iOS with so many poor efforts from well known franchises. Baseball games are especially sparse, but R.B.I. Baseball 14 is looking to change that as it revitalizes the classic game for iOS devices. The heart of the game is simplifying baseball into its core mechanics to make the game as accessible as possible. R.B.I. Baseball 14 boils down hitting to simply aligning your batter with the pitcher, and tap the swing button at the right moment. Pitching is as simple as selecting one of three types of pitches, and then placing it with a virtual joystick. It really couldn’t be easier to control, and the system lets the pure baseball gameplay flow through.
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R.B.I. Baseball 14 does a good job of offering a real baseball simulation in terms of batting, pitching, and fielding, and infuses it with an arcade style flow, so that there’s no delay between pitches. The game offers constant action for a lively game of baseball, and most nine inning games take just about 20 minutes. The games are a little more high scoring than a real baseball outing, but there’s not over the top arcade double digit scores every time out. The entire game is made that much better by the official MLB licensing, which gives you access to all 30 MLB teams with their authentic opening day line-ups. You also can play the full 162 game 2014 season with the actual schedule, and there are also options for half, or quarter season for quicker modes.

There’s a lot to like with R.B.I. Baseball 14 to easily make it the best iOS baseball game yet. The game isn’t without its flaws though, and there’s one that prevents the game from being recommended. Everything is designed for on the go gaming, except for the save system, as you have to play a whole nine inning game at once. If you leave the game, and come back to it in a bit, the app will restart, and lose all of your progress. It’s such a poor design choice to not save your progress automatically, because the basis of the on the go gaming is to maybe play an inning, or two when you have a few spare moments. It’s extremely frustrating to feel obliged to play the full nine inning game at once, because of poor game design.
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Beyond the same system, there are other problems in the game structure that are just odd development choices. The game lets you play 3, 6, or 9 inning exhibition matches, but it doesn’t give you the choice to play 3, or 6 innings in season mode. When in season mode, there’s no way to simulate any match-up, so you have to play every single nine inning game in a season. When in an actual game, your starting pitcher somehow always becomes exhausted in their third inning of work, with no signs of exhaustion present in the game. All of a sudden in the third inning a pitcher is out there, they become super hittable, and then you need to bring in a new starting pitcher for three more innings. All of these problems combine to distract from a really well designed baseball experience, and it’s unfortunate, as we were so close to a good sports game on iOS.

R.B.I. Baseball 14 ($4.99, Universal) is sadly one to skip, as there are some misgivings that just can’t be overlooked, and drag down all of the other good parts of this baseball game. It’s as though R.B.I. Baseball 14 hit what looks to be an inside the park home run, but gets tagged out at home.



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