Homerun Battle 2 is here, but is it a strike out or is this one outta here?
If there is something we all love about baseball it is homeruns. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing that ball take height and fly through the skies until it reaches the fence and disappears into the crowd. Now, imagine a game where all you have to do is precisely that: hit homeruns. It doesn’t get any better than that.
For those that have played the first installment, this one will seem very familiar, with many new and welcoming additions. If not, then worry not.
Homerun Battle 2 is a homerun derby session on steroids. It has many arcade elements and the controls couldn’t be easier for touchscreen devices. All you have to do is move your phone to where the ball is and hit it with good enough timing so you hit it out of the park. Now, I am sure most of you have played a homerun derby game before, so what makes this one stands out? Many special little details.
First off, the rules of homerun derby don’t actually apply when you are playing single player. Of course, the player still has a maximum of 10 outs but the only way you get an out is if you hit a foul ball, or you get a strike. That’s right, hits (non-homers) don’t count as outs, they add some points to your overall score. Now, there are many ways to get more points for your score. The farther the ball goes, the higher the score. Also the higher the combination of homers, the higher the points (if you get two homers in a row, you get 200 points, if you hit 5 in a row you get 500…and so on). Another way to get extra points is for crashing into billboards, or the foul poles, even if you hit for a cycle (left field, center field and right field homers). The cool thing about hitting for the cycle though, is that your player then calls a shot, say he wants it to right field and if you hit towards right field you get a bull’s eye bonus which adds 500 points to your total score. Pretty awesome.
Now you might be thinking “that sounds pretty easy”. Well sort of. There are many different power ups the pitcher uses to make it harder on you. For example, balls that disappear midway to the home plate, or perhaps the ball shrinks and other kinds of crazy stuff. There is one I do hate and I honestly don’t get why it is in singleplayer or even some multiplayer modes (more on multiplayer in a minute) which is a heavy ball. This heavy ball is IMPOSSIBLE to hit out of the park and it is quite irritating.
I almost never play the single player mode, unless I want to practice some specific. The real fun is in multiplayer. There are many things that will keep you glued to this game but multiplayer is the main reason why. There are three different multiplayer modes: duel, survival, and mission. In duel you go head to head with another player, whoever gets the bar completely filled up first, wins. This bar fills up with points, so hitting combinations, hitting for the cycle and other stuff, will help you win it. This was the only mode available in the first installment.
Survival on the other hand is a little bit more engaging. In this mode you start with half of your bar already filled up, but it starts to decrease right away. The only way to start getting the bar up is by getting scores, specifically aiming for homers. If the bar goes down completely you lose. If you get the bar completely up, you win. Now there is a twist that makes this mode very interesting and that is that you have four power-ups to use. They can either be to attack your enemy (that is through one of those pitcher power-ups I spoke about previously) or use some power-up for yourself, like a bigger bat or a bat on fire. Now, in this mode, the heavy ass ball makes sense because you have a counter attack for it. But in singleplayer, or in duel mode it is just plain stupid, it just breaks your combo and that’s all it does.
Last, but not least, there is another new mode which isn’t as competitive but is the easiest way to get gold balls (Ed: he said balls!). In mission mode you go against three players for specific missions. Missions can vary from more gold ball homeruns in time, three home runs to the right, etc. To add to the variability, you have different difficulty channels, and the harder the channel, the harder the mission and of course the competitors. This is the only mode where I did find some lag from time to time, nothing too noticeable, but it could cost you a homer on occasion.
Something that will keep you coming back, apart from the very entertaining gameplay, is the unlockables. You can buy new helmets, shirts, pants, bats, etc. These new items will make you stronger, faster and better at hitting homers. Still, there is something that I really didn’t like about the game and that is that there are some items that you can only get if you pay actual money to get them. In my opinion that seems a little cheeky. You have already paid $4.99, which is pretty standard for a mobile title as it is and then they want you to pay more money so you can win? To me, if they had a system where you could trade X amount of gold balls for stars (which is what you pay for) then it would be fine, but making it obligatory to spend more money is just a cheap way to get more money out of you.
All-in-all the game is pretty addictive. It is very fun to play and you will want to keep coming back to keep beating players and getting high scores. There are many little things that might annoy you though, and the fact that you have to spend more money to get some stuff is definitely a bit of a downer. Don’t get me wrong though, you can defend yourself without needing to spend another dime, so don’t let that keep you from buying the game. If you are a baseball fan, this is a no brainer. It isn’t exactly a homerun, but it isn’t a strike out either, it is more like a hit to the opposite field.