Those who have been following Pocket-lint's App of the Day section for a while will no doubt have come to the conclusion that we have a soft spot for sports simulations and management games. We've loved Starters Orders 4 and, of course, Football Manager in all its guises, but rarely do we look further afield. The US for example.
However, when you think about it, what do North American sports do best? And what does every sports management game rely on as its bedrock? Yep, they're one and the same - statistics. And there are few better games in the business for number crunching than...
iOOTP Baseball 2012 Edition
- iPad (version tested), iPhone, iPod touch
We first came across Out of the Park Baseball on the PC in the late 1990s when it was an indie game with few thrills but a rapidly growing following. It then had a brief dalliance with Football Manager developer Sports Interactive, which worked with the OOTP team to create two yearly editions of the franchise, only for the partnership to split again in the latter part of the Noughties.
Since then, OOTP has come on leaps and bounds and, while it isn't for everyone - featuring very little on the graphics side and reams of statistics and text instead - it's our belief that if you want to try out baseball management, there's nothing better.
Now Out of the Park Developments has strayed from the tried and trusted computer playground to iOS devices, bringing a fully-fledged version of the game to iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. And, while we're not as au fait with the ins, outs and intricacies of baseball as some, you need only to play it for a short time to get hooked.
At the beginning of iOOTP Baseball 2012 Edition you get to choose whether you want to coach/become general manager of a current MLB team (with updated rosters and the like) or a fantasy set-up where you get to choose the competition format.
There are no official pictures or the like, but few other games on the iPad can offer as much detail and accuracy in their subject matter.
The game also lacks audio and music - most likely to keep it restricted to a small file size for both storing on your iDevice and keeping the download within reasonable limits - but you don't really notice. This also makes for a fast experience. Apart from the matches, the rest of the game, messaging, rosters, transfers, etc, whip along like a well-greased greyhound, and that's exactly what you want for a casual gaming experience.
Even during the game, there are few buttons to tap (but enough in the pop-up menu to help sway the outcome). And the action is represented through play-by-play commentary. Sometimes less is definitely more.
That's not to say that it's easy though; it isn't.
Although our Boston team beat Toronto 5-2 in one game, the next we lost a staggering 7-0 using the same set-up. There's plenty of strategy in them there hills, and those with good baseball knowledge will no doubt find it easier to get to grips with immediately.
It's worth persevering for those with less nous on the baseball front, too. Certainly, there's more than enough in there to satisfy those with a hankering for sports management games. In fact, our experience has even made us want to check out its PC father, OOTP 2013, too.