- Developer: Out of the Park Developments
- Publisher: Out of the Park Developments
- File Size: 171 MB
- Release Date: April 5, 2012
- Price: $4.99
Like a big-league pitcher looking to keep hitters on their toes, Out of the Park Developments' second iOS release of its sports management series has worked on its mechanics rather than learn a completely new pitch. The core play modes and overall design of the portable sim is largely the same as 2011's game, but with some added refinements and tweaks.
Once again there are three play options in iOOTP 2012: Major League, Fictional League, and Historical Replay. Major League now features the complete rosters of 2012's Opening Day.
Thus, slugger Prince Fielder is a member of Detroit and superstar Albert Pujols is now with Los Angeles. Those new to the series should note that the Major League mode does not feature authentic team names and logos due to the lack of an official MLB license, but player names are included.
When you start a Major League season, you'll begin by entering your first and last name (as the manager). You can also change the name of the league, its abbreviation, and the names and abbreviations of the two sub-leagues (default is AL and NL). Individual toggles for the designated hitter option and the financial system are included, which are new to this year's version.
Decisions from the Dugout
Unfortunately, there's a glitch in the game where selecting the DH in the NL or turning it off in the AL doesn't actually work. According to the developer's website, this issue, along with a few others, will be addressed in the game's first patch. Once you've set your options, you can select your team and elect to start with or without an inaugural draft.
The main "hub" of your day-to-day actions is the manager's home screen, where you'll see your current win-loss record and overall position. Here you'll be able to manage your team, including the minor league roster as well as your current roster, set the rotation and bullpen, adjust lineups and depth charts, view e-mails from your team's owner, and more.
A league menu button will take you to a screen that lets you view free agents, attempt a trade between another team, and view current standings, league leaders, and news.
From the manager's home screen, you'll be able to see your team's next game and opponent, so it's a simple matter of tapping the "finish today" button until the option appears to play the next available game. Selecting "play game" takes you to another screen of options, allowing you to choose whether to manually control offensive strategy, pitching strategy, and substitutions, or let the computer take over.
Field of Dreams?
Other game options are associated with the text that describes the action on the field. You can set the level of descriptive detail to full or short, the pace of the play-by-play to one of six speeds (from instant to very slow), and choose to have the game simulate one pitch at-bats or complete pitch-by-pitch results. The latter option is new to iOOTP 2012.
Advancing to the next screen lets you view the game's starting pitchers and lineup, both of which can be adjusted, before you'll be able to see your team take the field. This view is unchanged from 2011's game. The names of each player on defense will appear atop a colorful ballpark photo, along with their ratings for defense and arm strength. Your on-screen options include buttons for "swing" (replaced with "pitch" on defense) and "strategies."
Tapping "swing" will trigger the play by play results on a separate screen, letting you read the outcome of the at-bat. Tapping "strategies" brings up a menu that lets you make a substitution, take a pitch, or bunt for a hit. If a runner is on base during the at-bat, or if a runner is on while you are in the field, the strategies will expand. You can call a pickoff throw, send the runner on a steal attempt, initiate a hit-and-run, perform a suicide squeeze, and more.
When your team is on the field, you can opt for an intentional walk, pitch around the batter, visit the mound, and make a substitution. Multiple defensive shift options are also available for both the infield and outfield. In addition to the strategies, you can also speed up the simulation by selecting "quick play" for a half or full inning, jump straight to the 6th or 8th inning, or sim the full game.
Change of Seasons
If there is one glaring issue while playing iOOTP 2012, it's that injuries seem to be more frequent than what you'd expect to find during a season. There's no slider adjustment for this, nor is there an individual toggle for players to switch this off if they want to play the game without random injuries. Hopefully this will be an option in future versions or updates.
The two other modes are structured similarly to Major League option, only you'll get to create your own league with the Fictional League option (sizes range from two to six divisions and 8 to 30 teams) or play as one of three seasons as part of Historical Replay: 1924, 1969 and 1995.
Once again, you'll also be able to download additional seasons (from 1901 to 2011) at an individual price of $.99 or as part of themed, ten-season bundles (such as "Record Breakers" or "Great Collapses") for $4.99. For those who own last year's game, any purchased seasons can be imported into iOOTP 2012 free of charge.
iOOTP 2012 offers a fantastic amount of managerial options in an attractive package. I had no problems navigating the interface or figuring out what to do, from tapping on individual buttons or player names to scrolling through box scores by sliding my finger up and down.
The only real gripe about the presentation is the complete lack of any type of sound effects or animations, but the colorful display is easy on the eyes, particularly if you have an iPad (both versions are included for $4.99).
For most, the updated 2012 rosters are reason enough to upgrade, but you also get three different historical years, more customization options, and a wonderful level of strategic depth for would-be managers. There are a few glitches, but since the developer has a proven track record in correcting issues when they arise, they shouldn't hold you back. For the amount of entertainment you get, iOOTP 2012 is easily worth the price of admission.