Easton Power Sensor Hardware Review

Easton Power Sensor Hardware Review

Jan 26, 2016

Sports metrics is not exactly a new thing; modern athletes and their trainers are mostly used to the concept of collecting and analyzing data as a means to get the edge on opponents.

When it comes to statistics, no sport is nearly as thorough as baseball. Performance has always been measured in hard numbers, so much so numbers are a big part of its hallowed history.

More specifically to performance, it isn’t odd to see players look to quantify their own measurables. Mobility gives us a whole new way to collate such data, and tools like Easton Power Sensor sound like serious, tangible tools that provide real value to baseball players of all ages.

The concept is simple, really… the sensor measures bat swing power and associated data points.

The review package we were sent reflects the accessory in its retail glory; one gets the sensor (which is white, smaller than a cork and akin to a bottle top), a clear bat sleeve (to attach the sensor to the handled end of the bat, a charging pad plus cable and documentation.

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Set up is fairly intuitive. One sets up the charging pad with the included micro-USB cable, and allows the sensor to charge completely (as shown by the green LED light); while the piece iss charging, one can go ahead and grab the companion application Easton Power Sensor off of Google Play. Here, one can register an account, and manage any other equipment attached.

The app prompts one to link to the sensor via bluetooth, which is achieved by turning the sensor over every two seconds till the link is effected; the next thing is to get the clear sleeve, put the sensor in it and attach the union over the narrow end of the bat. After all this is done, the unit is about ready to use.

And use it we did. The simplicity actually encourages one to get out and start swingin’ again, again and again. After a series of swings, we were able to pull up the data via the companion app, and get some hard talking points, like swinging time and more.

It’s an easy tool, but my main gripe surrounds the Android app; syncing isn’t as smooth as one would like (by comparison, the iOS app was fairly flawless). Also, the incorporated battery could probably last longer. At $149.95, it is a bit of an investment.

All in all, it’s a fine accessory; it measures a very important metric, provides latent tips and can be used in softball. It’s fun, intuitive and actually enjoyable to use, and even helps bring out the slugger in all of us.

Baseball General Manager 2014 Review

Baseball General Manager 2014 Review

Aug 18, 2014

Baseball General Manager 2014 is extremely light on actual management. Players expecting something even remotely as complex and fulfilling as Football Manger will be sorely disappointed. BGM plays more like a social game than anything else.

BGM2104’s gameplay is extremely simple. Players play games by simply tapping on play then choose an opponent. The game then randomly determines though pure team value who wins. Player level doesn’t seem to make much difference it is simply about who has the more valuable team. Energy is expended by playing and players can be trained which increases their value slightly, making the team stronger. That is the extent of BGM14’s gameplay.

Screenshot_2014-08-15-07-09-56There are no tactical options. Forget about even the simplest tactical options such as reorganizing your outfielders or pinching hitters. None of that happens because playing games in BGM simply involves tapping the “play” button and then a screen appearing telling the player whenever they won or lost.

There is no gameplay or management whatsoever. Signing new players is ridiculous as well. Players have no attributes. The only thing that matters is their value compared to other players. Higher value players make it easier to win. Signing new players simply involves bidding on a randomly selected group of players and hoping other players don’t outbid you. Any player of management games knows that scouting for and signing promising players is one of the most fun parts of the game, so this is a disappointment.

Screenshot_2014-08-15-04-42-13It is really a wonder that the MLB endorses this game as there isn’t even the barest vestiges of tactics available for matches. It captures none of the flair of baseball. It simply is not a management game at all.

Because this a freemium game, there are plenty of pay to win buffs as well, such as sport drinks that prevent training progress from mysteriously disappearing and just buying additional currency with real money.

Baseball General Manager 2014 is also distinctly unpolished. There is no sound at all, the interface looks cheap like a Facebook game and the message centre headings are inexplicably in Mexican rather than English. Server errors are common. The game as a whole is laggy despite being simple text and pictures. Training sometimes just plain doesn’t work unless you restart the app as it failed to unlock. Baseball General Manager 2014 just feels amateurish.

Baseball General Manager 2014 is not a management game at all and is not worth playing in the slightest. Fans of sport management have one choice on Android and that choice can only be Football Manger 2014. Grab that for a far, far more satisfying sporting experience.

RBI Baseball Returns in 2014, with an MLB License!

RBI Baseball Returns in 2014, with an MLB License!

Jan 16, 2014

The classic baseball game series RBI Baseball has been long dormant, but thanks to MLB Advanced Media, it’s coming back in 2014 to not only consoles but to mobile devices. There’s not much beyond that info other than 2K Games, who recently let the MLB 2K license expire, have nothing to do with the game. This really could just be the use of a familiar branding to get people excited, as MLB likely wants to stay relevant as a video game license. Either way, this spring should prove to be an interesting one for video baseball fans, and we’ll surely have more as we learn about it.

MLB Battle at the Plate Baseball Simulator Coming Soon To Android

MLB Battle at the Plate Baseball Simulator Coming Soon To Android

Nov 5, 2013

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Although the baseball season has passed, nothing stops you from enjoying it a bit more in a digital form. MLB Battle at the Plate offers fully-featured baseball games, with very real teams and players. The game is already available on iOS, and is coming soon to Android. Additional details can be found here: MLB Battle at the Plate Official Facebook Page.

Going Going Gone: HR Classic Review

Going Going Gone: HR Classic Review

Sep 17, 2013

Big hitting is the name of the game in Going Going Gone: HR Classic (From ESPN via TheAppsGames). It’s a solo homerun derby type game in which power and distance are the biggest predictors of success.

Starting with the interactive tutorial, the game is quite fluid. I like that the developer finds a way to squeeze in some achievements into the teaching sequences. The hitting mechanism is explained adequately, and the dual stick controls make sense. One (the left) controls the hitting window, and the other invokes the swinging motion. When the two are in perfect sync, they make great music together. Additionally, it’s great, I think, that there is a degree of logic attached to the hitting mechanism; bad positioning not only causes strikes, but foul balls that tend to adheregoing1 to the rules of physics. With a bit of practice, hitting effectively is quite possible, and the engine is quite consistent, so a bit of strategy can be used to get the bonus points.

The 3D graphics are nice; the animations have flair, and feel alive. The use of color seems a bit muted in places, but the pop that accompanies special hits mostly make up for that. Perspective is great, and the wind-ups are things of beauty, and match the batting motion with regards to looking realistic.

The gameplay is basic progression. Homeruns score points, and achieving stuff like cycles (hitting in different parts of the park) and three in a row score bonus points and coins; the latter can be used to upgrade equipment and gear. Leveling up gets bonuses too, but play requires exhaustible/replenishable tickets. Of course, real cash can be used to expedite the acquisition of tokens and the upgrading of attributes.

Facebook friends can become part of the competition; there are tournaments, leaderboards and more.

Fantastic power game that doesn’t need one to be a BALCO customer to enjoy.

Baseball Outs Review

Baseball Outs Review

Mar 11, 2013

Baseball Outs is a fairly creative way to enjoy baseball, which can be boring, let’s admit it. I love baseball and even I think it can be boring at times. But for those that want a new way to enjoy the game, Baseball Outs is here.

Players pick from the nine positions on the field, and whenever an out is made by that position, the player earns what I’ll refer to as a round point in that half-inning’s round. The goal is to get two round points in a half-inning round, in order to win the pool of points for that round. This is where things get complicated because there are overall game points as well. Winning a round gets the player the pool of game points. Now, everyone starts at zero, loses a game point for losing a round, and wins the pool of game points for winning the round. If there is a draw, then the points go to the next round, like in a skins game of golf. The game adapts to up to four players, though three is the ideal: when there’s an even number, the catcher and first base positions are combined into one. For the record, strikeouts and pickoffs count for the pitcher, caught stealings are counted for the catcher, and double plays credit whoever assisted on it, so the third baseman and second baseman would count in a 5-4-3 double play.

The beauty of the game is that it can be played with any regulation baseball game, no matter who’s playing, from MLB down to Little League. It is somewhat based on luck, as it can be hard to predict where the ball is going to go, of course, but that makes it something that’s more accessible to casual users. The rules need to be deciphered, as because outs can be complicated, especially as multiple players are involved in ground outs, though the rule does seem to be that whoever assisted on the out is the one that gets credit for it, so complications can arise. Baseball is a strange sport, after all. But the game is built to where it can be easy to get into even for a non-fan of baseball, but an expert may be needed for some rulings. There’s certainly an element of strategy where players may want to go after the pitcher if a power pitcher is on the mound, or infielders if a ground ball pitcher is pitching. But of course, luck of the draw is important too.

Baseball Outs uses a free-to-play model where coins can be bought to play innings, and more need to be bought to play more innings; I’d like to see a permanent unlock function because it would be nice to play the game without having to worry about in-game currency.

For those that want a new way to be engaged into a baseball game, Baseball Outs is definitely an interesting new way to do so.

MLB At Bat 2013 Now Available

MLB At Bat 2013 Now Available

Mar 11, 2013

MLB At Bat is back for 2013. The official app that provides live in-game box scores, pitch-by-pitch game trackers, live audio, and live video through MLB.tv has been updated and is ready for 2013.

This year, the app ditches the premium/freemium model introduced in last year’s version, where MLB.tv subscribers (and those who subscribed to At Bat via the iOS app and tied to their MLB.com account) could get access for free by logging in to the free app, but paying for the app would get the At Bat features of Gameday and live streaming audio of all games. Now, there’s just the freemium app, with an in-app purchase for either the standard At Bat features or to buy an MLB.tv subscription from MLB.com.

If you subscribed to MLB.tv last year, then double-check your credit card bill, as there’s a good chance that a pricey renewal happened under your nose a couple weeks ago. Also, World Baseball Classic fans will note that the At Bat app is not streaming those games; it appears the broadcast rights are different as MLB Network owns those rights, and the WBC app is not available for Android. Still, all the Spring Training action that’s available is here in this app until the season kicks off on April 1st. The onerous blackout restrictions for Fox Saturday games and in-market games are still around as well. Still, for baseball die-hards and those not in their home team’s market, this app and the subscriptions are a must-have. The 2013 update is available from Google Play and Amazon Appstore.

Baseball Superstars 2013 Review

Baseball Superstars 2013 Review

Dec 27, 2012

Gamevil’s Baseball Superstars 2013 is a surprisingly wide-ranging baseball simulation that brings more-or-less realistic baseball career management to Android handhelds.

It started out by giving me a 100 coins on the first day, and I noted that there were daily payouts for playing. I was able to pick mode (batter or pitcher), and then I was able to go further and pick stance, position and even handedness.

The gameplay was fairly involved, piecing together relatively complex concepts and adding a touch of whimsical to create fairly interesting sim. I started out as a rookie and had the opportunity to get better as the season went on, gaining experience on the way that allowed me to upgrade my skills and that of my team. At the beginning, it was made clear that I had goals to meet, and not meeting them could cause me being let go. Doing well got me praise and more.

Doing well pretty much boiled down to doing well in games. Different opposing teams had different attributes; players had different specialties, based on the game engine. Pitchers had their favorites throws, so adjusting was key. I was able to use accumulated points to make my attributes increase, and I could train to facilitate my ability to level up faster. Batting was a function of timing. Hits, of course, were precious, home runs golden.

There were a number of features here and there that added to the fun factor. I liked the quiz feature, and P2P option was a mode of gameplay that added value in my opinion. I liked the in-game challenges, and quests were cool too.

The graphics were great; the animations fit the style, and the sounds were distinctly baseball-y in nature; the strikeout calls were full of flavor.

After every game, I was given a letter grade and commentary by my manager, which was an interesting touch. At season’s end the big news was delivered.

All in all, it’s one of the best sports sims I have played, with subtle nuances of the sport worked into it in very creative ways.

9 Innings Pro Baseball 2013 Review

9 Innings Pro Baseball 2013 Review

Aug 2, 2012

Com2uS’ other baseball franchise is back for the 2012 season with 9 Innings Pro Baseball 2013. Yes, 2013. Unlike Homerun Derby, this is a more standard baseball simulation. Batting is simple enough: just tap on the screen to swing, with the ability to influence ground balls and flyballs by swiping down and up. Pitching involves just selecting the pitch and aiming where to throw it. It’s a no-frills interface that’s simple to pick up on.

The game features real MLB players, but not real MLB teams, as evidenced by the blatant editing out of team names of the players on the title screen. However, all the players are on teams that correspond to the real MLB team locations. Gee, what a happy accident! The rosters are not perfect – I have my nitpicks about them, but I’m a bit obsessive about baseball – but they’re accurate enough. Fan of the Astros? Well, good news: the card system is a way to build an awesome team that isn’t a pit of misery and despair (aka the Astros).

The problem is that the card system feels just kind of random and there for the purpose of generating IAP revenue. While at its heart, the card upgrade system is an interesting way to create teams and to make players better, having to spend a lot of points on a slim chance for an upgrade is just bad form. The system feels hyper-caffeinated as well – it never takes any time to sit back, and explain just what exactly is going on. This has been a problem since the “2011” version of the game, which never seemed to make sense either.

I get the whole in-app purchase thing, I really do. But I think that the game feels like it just uses baseball as an excuse to make money – the production values are barely improved from the 2011 version released in 2010 – and there’s a market for a good baseball game on iOS that isn’t just about profitability. The core baseball game is entertaining enough, but far more could be build around it to make it the baseball game that we truly need.

Homerun Battle 3D Review

Homerun Battle 3D Review

Oct 11, 2011

If they say that variety is the spice of life, then Homerun Battle 3D is somewhere between white rice and vanilla ice cream. For $4.99 you might be expecting a full app that would have a story or career mode of some kind, but that, unfortunately, is not the case here in Homerun Battle 3D.

The game puts you in the cleats of a cartoonishly steroidal major leaguer. With biceps the size of small children and pecs you can store luggage in, you swagger up to the plate in and swing for the fences. Over, and over again. That’s pretty much the app. There’s no real career mode here; the home run derby you’re in is never explained and there’s nothing to challenge you offline except your high score.

Just like in the major league home run derby you’re given ten outs to work with, but unlike the real thing, taken balls are counted as outs and the pitcher will try to fool you with a screwball or change up once and a while. Every home run you hit with nine outs earns you points for upgrades like being able to change your face, pants, jersey, and bat. Everything is purely cosmetic except for the bats which, give your muscled hero a boost of power or contact edge.

Even though the game is very shallow the core action is pretty addictive and hits generally react as they should. The controls are simple and very responsive; tilt your device to place the bat where the pitch is and tap the screen to swing. It is easy to see some of the corners that were cut, however. For example, your character never actually swings the bat; instead the display just cuts to another camera showing the ball in flight, the pitcher is the same purple-shirted man who can throw both righty and southpaw apparently, and there are two stadiums to choose from: ‘Night’ and ‘Day.’

The online battle arena is probably the most impressive area of this game. Here you go head to head against another player and see who can score a set amount of points first. This works really well and it is easy to just hop on and play a random opponent of your skill. There is slight lag at the beginning of a match, but other than that everything runs surprisingly smooth.

This app would make a great game for 2 or even 3 bucks. But as it is, the $4.99 price tag seems a little steep for an app that really just contains an online battle arena and a practice mode offline.