Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP) has been one of the finest games in the text-sim realm for many years now. WIth the recent trend of text sims porting over to the iPlatform, it was only a matter of time until iOOTP made its own move.
I recently got a chance to play an advanced copy of iOOTP for the iPhone, and I can say that the game definitely translates over to the smaller screen, but it's not entirely perfect yet.
You can call it OOTP-lite, and it would probably be more fitting because some features are definitely missing. However, what's in iOOTP is more than enough to keep you entertained on the go, and I believe it's possibly going to be the finest sports game on the iPlatform to date.
The interface is really well done, with the main screen being nowhere near cluttered. You can find everything you need quite quickly, and everything is at most a couple of taps away because it's all displayed in a very logical fashion.
In the main menu, you have menu options for manager, league, team, settings and your main screen.
Your manager menu allows you to edit your own options, check your news and mail (you can already do this with a main button that's always at the top), check your history as a manager and search for players.
There are many options within the league menu. For one thing, you can conduct trades. You can also check league schedules, scores, stats and standings. In addition, you can check in on the free-agent market, past champions and the Hall of Fame. Really, it's the stuff you expect to see with OOTP but in a more compressed manner.
As far as your team goes, you have many options to assemble your team. You have a minor league roster, but there are no minor league levels -- presumably because of the memory limitations. You can check your roster, move guys to the DL, change your lineups and rotation, set in-game strategies and arrange your depth charts.
You can also look at your front-office situation and see your budget, your player payroll, fan interest and so on. This all works very well, although it does admittedly feel somewhat shallow with no options for ticket prices or anything of the like that you get with OOTP.
The heart and soul of iOOTP will be the player menus, and if you can't effectively manage your team's personnel, then you can't effectively manage a franchise. The sheer statistical depth each player has is staggering. Each player has an attitude of some sort, and keeping players happy/performing well is one of the many things you have to balance in iOOTP.
The ratings depth of each player can be overwhelming for new players of text sims, but it is lower than that of the main OOTP. Pitchers have ratings for stuff, movement and control for left- and right-handed players. Batters have ratings for contact, gap power, home run power, eye/discipline, avoiding strikeouts, running speed, base stealing, baserunning, sacrifice bunt and bunt for hit. There are also potential ratings for many of these ratings that show how good players could be in the future.
The in-game simulation is also laid out in a very logical manner, and while the options to manage a game are more compressed, you can still effectively manage each at bat and feel in control. The in-game mode is a bit shallow compared to what OOTP fans will be used to, but people who are new to OOTP will find it to be deep enough to fit their needs for gaming on the go.
iOOTP is still in development but it is expected to be released sometime this spring. The build I played felt nearly complete, so releasing it can't be too far off. Right now, it seems as if iOOTP is shaping up to be the go-to iPlatform game for text-sim fans in the US that it already is for the PC fans. However, for a final verdict of the game, we'll have a full review after the game is released.