September 13, 2009

Hit a Home Run With Your iPhone and Challenge Friends

My Batter Poses After A Strong Showing

I knew I was in trouble when I looked at the Apple Web site after their latest iPhone OS update and saw a screenshot featuring Com2uS's Homerun Battle 3D application. Combining two of my obsessions (baseball and the iPhone), it wasn't too long before I had opened up the iTunes Store and downloaded the game, for $4.99. What I found was more than just a simple game that let me swing for the fences, but a high quality video game with built-in social functions, letting me challenge people wirelessly from around the world, and the option to send my scores to Facebook and Twitter.

Hitting A Home Run in the Left Field Seats

The concept behind Homerun Battle 3D is a fairly simple one. In the classic version of the game, the pitcher throws the ball, and you tap the iPhone at just the right time to send the ball on a trajectory that may lead out of the ballpark. If it goes over the fence, you get a point. If it doesn't, you get an out - just like in the real home run derby you can see during every All-Star Break.

Checking My Home Run Records

Seeing How I Stack Up Against Other Players

Homerun Battle 3D is a lot more fun than "see ball hit ball". Depending on the pitch's speed and type (from fastballs to sliders and curves), you need to tilt the iPhone up or down to match the bat head to the ball and then swing away as the ball dives into the strike zone - which can be challenging. And it becomes even more involved when you discover additional options, such as an "Arcade" version that features contests in terms of hitting the ball to all fields, getting double the points on a single swing, or taking away an out if you find a ball with angel wings.

Going Down to Defeat After One Battle

The social elements in Homerun Battle 3D are reminiscent of those on some Nintendo Wii games. You can choose to challenge anybody from around the world who wants to do battle. If somebody of your rank is up for it, you and the opponent will both be swinging for the fences at the same time. If you hit more home runs or get more home runs in a row than they do, then you are the winner, and they are the loser. So far, I've only won once, but assume I may get better with practice. If you win, your ranking goes up, and if you lose, yes, it goes down.

I Can Send My Records to Social Networks

Should you be so inclined, you can send your current rankings on Homerun Battle 3D to Facebook or Twitter, and request that your friends add you as a rival, letting you take on your friends, rather than strangers, and yes, spreading the word about what is a very cool game for the sports junkie in each of us.

At Apple's recent event, Steve Jobs and Phil Schiller highlighted the iPod/iPhone platform's growth as a game device. While I still make plenty of calls and browse the Web from my iPhone, I'm also growing an impressive number of games in my application library. If you want to add Homerun Battle 3D to yours, you can find it on the iTunes Store here.