MLB Manager 2015 Review (iOS)
In March, Out of the Park developments delivered another solid management sim with OOTP 16. The minor changes were enough to solidify the whole package, making it the best looking and best playing version of the series to date. But, what about OOTP’s smaller portable companion, the former iOOTP? How does MLB Manager 2015 fair this season?
First, MLB Manager 2015 is understandably limited, at least when compared to the full version of Out of the Park Baseball available for PC. Minor league rosters are reduced to one generic “pool” of players, not individual levels. Auxiliary systems, like hiring staff and finding international players, are not included. Again, considering the platform, I consider this understandable.
What is included, however, is fairly deep. You’ll have the opportunity to set lineups and rotations, handle contracts, and work out trades. Speaking of trades, the popular “shop player” option makes its mobile debut. This feature is nice for finding a willing trade partner, but often produces undesirable or unrealistic results. However, it is a good starting point; you can usually find an optimum trade with some finagling.
Another feature making the jump from PC to iOS is the ability to sim to a certain date, which is useful if you want to see how large chunks of a season will play out.
Stats remain as important and deep as ever. It’s pretty easy to see how a player is doing, both in-game and on menu screens. Historical stats are included, as are the new career leaders lists. The level of statistical detail is unmatched on the mobile platform, and really adds weight and context to the game.
Speaking of context, there are numerous settings for your league, from the real 2015 MLB Season to fictional leagues and historical seasons (most of which you’ll have to purchase separately). With so many ways to play, replayability shouldn’t be a problem with this title.
One of the more noticeable changes is the inclusion of the MLB license. While I didn’t think this was a big deal with the PC version, it does make a difference here. Trying to import logos in iOOTP was a hassle; now, you have can have real logos from the start. The inclusion of official images really does enhance the look of the whole title.
Elsewhere, the interface is really clean and easy to use. Since the game itself is fairly streamlined, menus and drop-down (up?) boxes are equally simplified. Tapping on a player brings up his full card. An “action” menu gives you all of the choices relevant to the current screen. Setting a lineup is an easy “tap and drag affair.” Where so many titles try to recreate menus designed for a PC, MLB Manager does a good job of using the platforms strengths.
Playing a Game
When playing a game, the interface is just a well-designed. While there is no animation to speak off, all of the information you need is clearly represented on screen. Live pitching stats update per batter; fielding and hitting ratings are always on display.
As the game progresses, you get some nice radio-style play-by-play, very similar to what’s in Out of the Park. In-game choices are pretty deep, including defensive alignments, steal situations, and substitutions. In fact, I think I could recommend this game based on the in-game engine alone.
If there’s one caveat to my recommendation, it’s that this game is not OOTP. There is a definite difference in what is and can be included in this mobile version of the game. You have to temper your expectations a bit--expectations that may have been set by the always awesome OOTP. There isn’t feature for feature parity here, and while that is completely understandable, it is important to know. Not having a full minor league system, for instance, may be a deal-breaker for some OOTP vets.
Still, for the low price of 4.99, this game is worth every penny--especially if you don’t play OOTP regularly or at all (in that case, what are you waiting for?). As an introductory and/or mobile text sim, it does nearly everything you could ask--though what I would love is the ability to continue my OOTP franchise on my phone.
As it is, this title is a definite purchase.
Score: 8.5 (Great)