The Latest News on the Social Games Market in Europe and Emerging Markets


Game of the Week: Baseball Heroes

By Huel Fuchsberger

Released in April 2012 the Facebook sports game Baseball Heroes has now 2.400.000 MAU and 410.000 DAU on The Korean developer Syntasia created a baseball social game with an anime-style that looks appealing and offers interesting game play.

Developer/Publisher:  Syntasia
Genre:  Sport
Languages:  English, Indonesian, Spanish, Italian, German, French, Chinese, Dutch, Japanese, Korean
Best-selling Item:  Special Batter Energy Reset ($0,15)
Platforms:   Facebook
Active users (Facebook):  2.400.000 MAU 410.000 DAU

How to play

Baseball Heroes has several layers of game play. Into which the player is introduce step by step. The player begins with creating a team and his avatar. After the creation and customization part the first game of the season awaits.

Before the action takes place on the green, the player has to pick his line up for the match. This segment of the game is handled like a trading card game. The player can buy booster pack to acquire special players and use them to improve his line up’s strength. Those special players can be enhanced or in pairs of three, traded in for better cards. Also friend’s avatars can be added to the line up. After setting up the Team, the match begins.

Here the player is introduced to the match game play. It is a reaction game in which the player only plays out the hits of his avatar during the match. To hit the incoming ball the player tries to click on the ball in a grid. For a home run, accuracy and timing must be spot on. If not, the hit could be enough to reach a base or lead to fly out. There is a combo-meter available that if fully charged leads immediately to a home run if the ball is hit by the player.

After the matches players can manage their players, the team and the stadium. Upgrades to the stadium lead to more cash that can be collected by selling tickets. This coin can be spend to purchase better gear for the avatar or better players for the line up.

A strong game for those who pay

Baseball Heroes is a well crafted social sports game in many regards. Even though the anime-style may not be for everyone, the underlying game play is worth taking a look. Only thing spoiling the fun is the need for payment. Even though the game play can be addictive, if the player doesn’t invest into the game, the experience is very different. In some cases this can’t be compensated by inviting friends, but not always. This is in particular the case for gear. It is so powerful that it creates a significant imbalance. This can be especially felt when the first free bat runs out. Winning a match afterward is way harder. It gives the game an unpleasant “pay to win” aftertaste. These cases of imbalance are seldom but feel displeasing.


Mobile Game of the Week – Flick Home Run!

By Huel Fuchsberger

The mobile game of this week managed to climbed the charts since it’s release in October 2011 up to the #3 Top Paid Game in the US Apple AppStore – the game is Flick Home Run! Infinity Pocket created a baseball themed game for all iOS devices and managed to improve it over the last few months and with their “power update” climbed up the charts.

At its heart Flick Home Run ! is a 2D high score game. You try to bat the incoming baseballs as far as you can and doing it as many times you can in a row to get a higher score. You proceed from step to step (rounds) which represent as set of pitches.

The bat is your finger and swiping is the swinging motion. To keep you on your toes a red dexterity meter diminishes with every new pitched ball or Strikeout. If this bar is empty, the game is over.You can replenish it with good flick – the further the ball flies the more power you regain. The spice in the game are the different pitches witch range from a slow ball over a speed ball, sinkers and other types of throws that vary in their flying habits and need to be bated differently. It becomes a reaction test to adjust your bating to the incoming ball. As a help you have the ability to foresee the next pitch, its called the batting eye. But this power is limited. It can be upgraded with each level up and then be used more often.
With every level up you get one point to invest in more striking power, better dexterity for the power bar (called contact) or the mentioned batting eye. Those skill improve the chances for you to get higher scores drastically. And that is where the In-App purchases come into the game. Since you have to get long runs to get higher steps its very tempting to go the easy road and dope yourself with some bought level ups. But all of it is optional. You can unlock all the modes by just playing the game.

There is also a multiplayer mode in which you try to fill up your score faster than you opponent. Other modes in the game take the mechanics and use them in a different way. In the “Moonstar Bonus” mode, you try to hit the moon to get points or in “Bunt Master” you can have to hit a target in the field to get points. The more time you invest and progress in the game, the more you will get out of it.

In total Flick Home Run! is a very engaging game. There is always something new to unlock or a new pitch or game mode to master and this keeps you coming back and may get you to buy an In-App purchase. It’s a good example for their use – not mandatory for success in the game but useful and attractive. They don’t lock parts of the game as a build in barrier, they just an easy short cut.

Flick Home Run is available for iPhone and iPod at $0.99 and as a HD version for iPad at $2.99. Also Flick Home Run! New free is available for free with just a few game modes and a very limited range for the baseballs to fly.