Jul 6, 2010

MLB Power Pros 2010 - The Review

Baseball season arrived three months ago, but only recently have Android owners received 2010 versions of baseball games. And is it just me, or is it more fun to play a sports game when said sport is in season? I have a hard time breaking out a hockey game in July. So, while I've enjoyed MLB Power Pros 2010 and think it's an excellent baseball game I have also had renewed interest in Com2Us's HomeRun Battle 3D. Why do I bring that up in a review about another game? Because I'm amazed that on a platform that features an accelerometer that I'm still pressing buttons and tapping to pitch and bat. Their success should have been a clue that it's a lot more fun to be able to quickly tilt and tap for an accurate swing that it is to tap and tap again. But let's go back to the top...

MLB Power Pros 2010 is Konami's baseball franchise with console and mobile versions available. The Android version is well done and allows you to go as far as creating your own team. I basically stuck with using the MLB teams as this is an officially licensed product with all of your favorite players. As far as games go you can play a quick exhibition game or in season mode.

The graphics and sound are both excellent... easily 5 stars for an Android game. Controls are interesting and they work fine...

When batting you can adjust your swing inside, outside, high, and low. The game has a VK (Virtual Keypad?) mode that can be enabled/disabled and I found it aggravating as all heck to play with it on. When on there's a little circle on the right of the screen that you have to tap in order to swing the bat. A VERY little circle such that I'd often miss and my batter would strike out looking. When off you can pretty much tap anywhere on the right to swing and drag anywhere on the left to adjust your batter. However, there is no multi-touch support so don't dare try to do both as the same time. Swinging early and late makes a difference so once you get the hang of it batting works well. You can also choose to have the computer control the runners or you can do so. I think there's the same, but when you control you can drag on a baseline to try and advance a runner. If you don't then the computer naturally advances runners when forced to just as it does when the computer controls all of the running. I never saw the computer do anything clever with regard to base running aside from just bumping up runners in forced situations.

When pitching you choose a pitch and then deliver that pitch to a target point. If you have VK mode off from batting this consists of tapping on an arrow (or the center for a fast ball) and then tapping on the spot you want to throw to which given the size of a pixel on my screen and the size of my finger is not a terrible accurate means of pitching. Consequently, I recommend turning VK mode back on for better control. With VK more on you have a virtual DPad and the usual hard to press button on the right, but this time you can afford to miss it and take your time to get it right, and now as the ball is delivered you can use the DPad to more precisely guide the ball when you want it to go. If the batter doesn't make contact and hits the ball in play fielding is either automatic or semi-automatic... and all semi-automatic means is that you get to choose what base to throw to once fielded.

After playing I'd just as soon control the running and fielding so as to be more involved in the game. Neither is a taxing or difficult activity. Still, after playing a few games of this I keep coming back to HomeRun Battle 3D because it plays quick... has such great control... and is so well done. That leaves me perplexed as I general prefer the full game to a silly mini-game like HB3D, but I've got to think that if you're into baseball then you're going to want one of the two baseball games (Baseball Stars 2010 being the other one) and HB3D.

A few other notes... first, this game takes quite a while to load. I've timed it at up to 30 seconds as it refreshes sound data and the like. Second, on the iPhone they use a portrait display whereas on the Droid they use a landscape display... a point for us I think. I'd much rather have a landscape view for a baseball game. Finally, and I've heard this in another game, but can't recall the title... the game will say "still no score" even when it's 7-2. Is it that hard to compare two numbers to zero and if either isn't 0 to not play that digitized sample?

In summary, don't let my nitpicky criticisms turn you away if you're into baseball games and want a good one. I have to write about something, right? This is a grade A title and worth it's high $6 price tag. MLB Power Pros 2010 isn't a game you're going to get a quick 2 minutes in here and there, but it does save and allow you to resume your games so you can choose to play it that way if you so desire (something very important for mobile titles). 5/5 stars with hope that things such as accelerometer control and faster load times  make it into next season's release.


  1. Great review. I just have a couple of questions that you didn't specifically address in your review.

    (1) Is there a create-a-player option? Or do you simply create custom teams with existing players (like fantasy baseball)?

    (2) Defensive controls. You mentioned that defensive controls are either automatic or semi-automatic. Can I at least direct my players to jump or dive for a batted ball? Or am I limited to simply choosing which base to throw to? Not a deal-breaker but I actually like playing defense in baseball videogames.

    Thanks in advance! It looks like Android is finally starting to get some momentum behind gaming. Now if Google would just do something about all the soft-core porn in the "Arcade and Action" section of the Market, we'll be good to go!

  2. Good questions... it's hard to know how detailed to get without losing focus on the overall product...

    1) No, you can not create your own players... you choose an existing MLB team as your base and then can choose to move players around from other teams, adjust the pitching rotation, ...etc.

    2) Yes to jumping, and no to diving. You can also adjust the depth of your outfield from in, normal, and out.

    And no joke... I wish there was a "Crap Free Android Market" or, at least, some better filters so I can block the guy that submits 8 new 'sexy women' apps a day.

    - Thanks, Alan