Baseball Slam is an iPad and iPhone game from Zynga. It is available now on the App Store as an ad-supported free download and contains additional in-app purchases.
Baseball Slam takes the simplicity and excitement of a home run derby and combines it with outrageous levels, crazy power-ups, and an easy-to-use touch control system. There’s not much to the gameplay, and the game explains its controls and mechanics in the first couple stages. Players will take control of their batter, tap the screen to receive a pitch and drag their finger from home plate to the area they want the ball to go. It’s possible to miss the pitch by swinging too slow or too early, but it won’t count against the round’s number of pitches.
Each stage has its own goal. Early stages work well in place of a tutorial. Goals in these stages often involve hitting special targets or using abilities. After players get past these stages, the game gets a bit more difficult. Goals eventually turn from tutorial to challenges, such as landing high scores. While most of these are on the fun side, they can occasionally be downright challenging.
After completing the first five levels, players gain access to Baseball Slam’s online multiplayer mode. Multiplayer can be played with Facebook friends or random opponents and is easily the most fun part of the game. Online matches take all the elements from the game, remove the goals, and put players in a score battle. Online play is the obvious way to see who paid attention to the early stages of single player, as following its fundamentals is the easiest way for players to score high. Players get a bit of optional assistance, as well. Before each round, players can randomly draw a special ability in exchange for coins. The abilities range in usefulness, but they’re all better than nothing.
Customization is another small, but fun, factor in Baseball Slam. There’s not much in the way of customization, but what’s there is amusing. Players start off with the default character, Homerun Hank, but have five others to choose from, though they’re really just re-designs of Hank, and the other character Ruth. Bats are the more important customization. Players start with the basic bat, but will later be able to unlock a variety of others. Unlockable bats enable score boosts, extra pitches and a variety of power-ups. These bats can be unlocked by completing certain goals or by using gold to unlock them earlier.
Gold is an important factor in the game, and players who need more can get some via in-app purchase. Bundles of gold coins range in price from 99 cents to $99.99. The $9.99 pack of 1350 coins is pretty much the minimum needed to unlock a few items early and have a bit left over for abilities in multiplayer. Of course, purchasing coins is never a necessity, as coins can be earned by playing the game and everything is unlockable via this gold.
Baseball Slam isn’t a perfect game. Aiming can feel a little off at times, the required online connection for single player isn’t always welcome, and the fullscreen ads are more frustrating than anything. Despite this, Baseball Slam is a very simple game that should be able to attract players of all skill levels and interests.
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An arcade-style baseball game with a great puzzle influence.