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Review: 9 Innings: Pro Baseball 2011 - Step Up To The Plate

July 12, 2010


9 Innings: Pro Baseball 2011 is a full featured arcade style baseball game that is officially licensed by the MLB players association. This means you get the real players of all 30 pro teams. You get the full 162 game schedule that is the actual one being played right now, unlike other sports games.


The game includes season mode, home run derby, and exhibition mode with the heart of the game of the season. There is a baseball card collecting system where you start with the roster of your favorite team, but can get new players along the way. You collect points for various actions in game, and then you can use those points to upgrade your current players or buy a pack to get a new player. You can also combine cards if you have extra ones, and you always have the chance to earn cards in games. The gameplay gives you a front facing display for the pitcher, and your actions revolve around hitting or pitching. Most of the fielding is done automatically except for choosing the base to throw to.

The Good

Most baseball games are overly complex or too simplistic, but 9 Innings finds a good balance especially well done for on the go gaming. The gameplay set up allows for great controls of every aspect of baseball. When batting it's simply all about timing as there is just a swing button. When pitching you pick the pitch, then tap on the location, and then tap again for precise aiming. In the field you simply tap on one of the four bases to throw to, and when running the bases just tap the green advance or red retreat button. Though there aren't all types of control mechanics you still feel that you have control of the game, and the outcome. It's more of an arcade experience so there will be relatively high scoring games for baseball, and then you're never out of a game, though neither is your opponent. The game allows for fast action from pitch to pitch so the usual slowness of baseball isn't present in the game. You really get into the game so much so that you'll be trying to put body English in balls so that they drop in when you’re on offense, or you catch them when you’re on defense. The entire MLB season is included which is great only if you want to play the whole season, and the way the game is set up you definitely will. Games go by quickly, and you can sim whole games or a half inning at a time. The best part is that you're always earning points, and new cards so you can upgrade your current players talents or get some of the best players in the league on your team. The card system adds tons of replayability with so many to earn, upgrade, and swap to make it feel a little like collecting baseball cards. The home run derby is a fun little mini game so you're not always just in league play. There are tons of achievements as well, and you can even establish season goals to strive for.

The Bad

There are a few problem areas that are mainly from the controls. Without the lack of precision you feel a little like you're just going through the motions. You can't control if you go with the pitch or pull it. You can control the pitching location, but not the sweet spot of your swing which could help a lot, though the controls are plenty good for most users. The ai difficulty is another problem as even on normal you never can hold a lead, and they always seem to tie the game. When you get in the later innings even the pitcher’s spot can hit a game tying home run on a pitch where you purposely threw a ball. This can be quite frustrating especially when you’re leveled up pitcher shouldn't be having these problems with certain hitters. This type of problem exists on offense as well and overall it's not as enjoyable as it could be when you ground or fly out over and over on a pitcher who has a double digit ERA in the game, and in real life. Hitting is quite difficult without the precise controls mentioned above, and few spots to lay the ball as defenders seem to get to most. With that said you'll still be scoring tons of runs, though you'll have no clue why some innings you're a great hitter, and other you're not with the same timing of the same hitters against the same pitcher. The game is somewhat simplistic in the design area with nothing noteworthy about the graphics. Most players look exactly the same with only a few different molds, and most players are quite fat tying nothing to real life. The sounds are lackluster at best with the same stock strike, ball, out, and safe calls without any other ambient sound except one jingle. The simulation is handy so you don't have to play 162 games, but for some reason it costs points, and you'll soon run out of points leaving you have to play way more games than you would like. The game doesn't allow for the most control so it gets repetitive, and you'll want to get to game against certain opponents to reinvigorate the game a little.

The Verdict

9 Innings: Pro Baseball 2011 is one of the best sports of games in the App Store, and maybe the best baseball game. There’s a solid interface, and well made gameplay mechanic to make it fun for any type of iDevice owner. The game is lackluster in design, and the gameplay is simple to a degree to make it repetitive. 9 Innings: Pro Baseball 2011 is a should buy for $4.99 especially for baseball fans though there are a few problem areas.

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