Amazing as it sounds, I never got around to playing Com2uS's excellent tilt-and-one-touch baseball game Homerun Battle 3D on iPhone.
Call it an Achilles Heel, but having played the Android version I've ended up with an iPhone version too. So despite my real-life four-hour boredom stint watching the San Diego Padres a couple of years ago, I now have to consider myself a baseball convert, at least when it comes to this super casual incarnation of the sport.
And Com2uS is $9.98 better off, minus the various cuts of Apple and Google of course.Hickory stick
The question of how Homerun Battle 3D plays on an Android phone (I'm using an original G1), is slightly more complex, though.
First things first: let's describe the game. You take the role of a baseball batter, with a pitcher throwing all variety of fast, slow, curve and fork balls at you.
You control your swing by tilting your phone, which moves a small, white lozenge on the screen. This represents the bat's envelope and you want to place it over the ball just as you hit it. The tricky bit is timing your swing, which you do by tapping anywhere on the screen.
Get these two right and you'll whack the ball over the outfield, direction and trajectory dependent on which part of the bat you used and the instant you hit it. It's a really fluid control method which, when you become an expert, enables you to pick where and how hard you want to hit the ball.
Combined with the sharp cartoon graphics, the celebratory slo-mo replay when you catch a pitch just right, and neat particle effects when you hit the ball out the stadium, the whole experience is totally addictive.Many modes to hit
The game is fully featured, too. There's an Arcade mode: within the limit of ten outs (misses or fouls), you have to hit as many balls as possible for an accumulated distance high score.
More challenging is the Classic mode, as any ball that isn't a home run (i.e. hit over the boundary) will count as an out. And there's a training option, which you can use to set up different styles of pitcher to test yourself against.
Finally, there's the robust online real-time Matchup mode (via 3G or wi-fi), which sees you take on a human player head-to-head to see who can be the first to get a certain distance of homeruns, as displayed by the filling up of each of your beat-'em-up type bar meters. The winner gains points from the loser and moves a little bit further up the global leaderboard.
Significantly, in terms of this Android version, you'll be playing against iPhone and iPod touch users, so cross-platform performance is important.
Given that Homerun Battle 3D is a relatively processor-heavy 3D game compared to many titles on the Android Marketplace, it's worth considering how it will work on your phone.
It was fine on my G1 but only after I had shut down and restarted to kill all the apps running in the background. When I didn't do this, it ran like a dog and was sometimes unplayable, even in single player, let alone in Matchup, mode.
Of course, on a newer phone such as Droid/Milestone, Nexus or G2, it will no doubt run much smoother without a restart, but this sort of thing can occur on a iPhone running a lot of background apps, so it's not an Android issue, just something you need to be aware of.The best looking slugger
Filling out the rest of the game's features are the customisation options that enable you to change your batter's hat, glasses, clothes, shoes and bat using the special gold balls you occasionally get pitched.
If you score a homerun with them, this in-game currency is credited to you. As well as making your slugger look better, some items can also improve your performance.
In fact, the only thing you can't do in the Android version of the game compared to the iPhone release is spend real cash via in-game items purchases to buy exclusive uniform sets.
All-in-all, then, Com2uS has performed an excellent job making this Android version of Homerun Battle 3D. Even if there wasn't a lack of decent games on the platform, it would be counted among one of the best available.
In the present context, though, I'd suggest it comes close to the definition of a killer app as a port can be.