iOOTP 2011 Review (iPhone)
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iOOTP is a sick invention meant to destroy the productivity of any human being who somewhat enjoys the game of baseball from now into infinity.
At least, that's my conspiracy theory on why such a great gem of an app has found its way onto the scene. iOOTP 2011 is, up to this point, the most complete gem of a text-sim to hit the App Store to date.
The first and most natural comparison someone will make is how does iOOTP stack up to its desktop counterpart. The answer is not bad but also not close. As strange as it sounds, the very core essence of OOTP is intact here, but the things that make OOTP incredibly deep are missing. So while you get the basic OOTP experience, you also can't micromanage your club in the manner you might want to if you are a veteran of the OOTP franchise.
Even still, iOOTP is still a deep and engrossing experience with enough statistical depth to keep you busy for hours on end.
Each player in the iOOTP universe is complete with enough statistical depth to let you easily differentiate between players while also giving them a bit of personality. Your job as the manager of your team is to give players a role they are happy with and with which they can develop into their full potential. Get a player who is unhappy, and you will see his performance suffer just as it would in real life.
Negotiating contracts is more streamlined than in the full OOTP experience, but I found negotiating to be somewhat easier in iOOTP. You basically see what the player is expecting, you submit an offer based upon what you see, and you hear back on whether the player is interested in playing for you. As with OOTP, this process is a bit dry and abstract, but it is what it is.
Trades are also handled in the same manner compared to the full version of OOTP, slightly streamlined but overall still pretty much more of the same. I really wanted some more feedback on how my trade offer was going to be received, but this is a $5 app we are talking about here.
Rosters don't include full minor leagues, and thus other portions of the game are also missing or toned down to accomodate for the smaller club sizes -- no doubt due to the limits of the platform. I don't see this as a fault but rather as a positive. You find yourself more focused and moving through Season mode quicker.
Arranging your roster, from lineups to your rotation, is a breeze and aided by the excellent touch-screen interface -- you find yourself breezing through this process with little trouble. Speaking of the interface, the OOTP crew has hit the interface design out of the park (pun completely intended). While it is possible to get lost in menus a bit, given the sheer statistical depth available and the platform, the interface is put together in a manner that is both smart and straightforward.
The in-game interface is also very well done, and managing your team down to every single at bat is a simple task. Depending on how fast you want to sim through each at bat, games can take anywhere from a realistic amount of time to just a few minutes. While micromanaging even further is not possible, this again plays to the strength of the platform moreso than against it.
This balance that was struck with iOOTP is sure to frustrate some while pleasing others. One such frustration lies in the lack of a deep financial model. Being able to set ticket prices or other potential finances is something I really wish would have carried over. While the game seems to try to focus in on the role of the manager/GM, the relationship with your owner is not fully fleshed out either. Again, this is an i-Platform game so the needs probably are met for most, and I can't hold this against iOOTP to any serious degree, but I feel this aspect could have been focused on a bit more.
iOOTP 2011 is one of the best sports games in the App Store, and it was well worth the wait. We knew this game had been coming for a long time, and in some ways a good deal of hype was behind its release, but the end result is worth it and most OOTP fans will find the game is a good balance between sacrificing depth for playability. There are some omissions that I sorely miss, but they are forgiveable. iOOTP 2011 is a must-have game for anyone who likes OOTP or for anyone who is even a casual baseball fan.
Score: 8.5 (Great)