In honor of tomorrow’s MLB home run derby, what a great time for a review of the MLB.com Home Run Derby game, which (as you might imagine) is an official MLB production. MLB.com Home Run Derby is free. Well, sort of. You see, this game unfortunately went with the freemium model, which brings it down tremendously. When you first look at the HR Derby app, you see beautiful, crisp graphics and a nice selection of players (you can choose any derby participant from 2010, 2011, 2012, or even 2013). But playing for several minutes will make you realize that you were wrong about this game. It’s not as good as it seems solely due to the freemium style.
The basis of the freemium nature lies in the duel currency: MLBucks and coins. Coins are easy to come by, but they can hardly buy you anything. MLBucks are necessary for pretty much every upgrade, but you can’t make very many of them by playing. Instead, you’ll have to pay. Okay, so what? You probably would be paying a few bucks anyway to buy this game had it not been free, right? No. You start out with the worst of the participants to select. In order to upgrade to someone who actually can hit some home runs, you must pay a whopping $20-$30! Are you kidding me? Not to mention that you can only play in Derby mode (more on that later) by using tickets, which take around TWO HOURS to regenerate! That’s also absurd.
Enough about the bad things now… Here’s the gameplay. MLB.com Home Run Derby still can be fun, but if you’re looking to be reasonable with the wallet, just don’t expect to do a whole lot of winning. Nevertheless, the game is pretty solid. There are easy controls, but they require such precision that it is sometimes hard to lift the ball over the fence. That, however, is a skill that you can teach yourself by playing. What is not, on the other hand, is figuring out the pitching. Or maybe it’s not even the pitching, but when you get later in the rounds, it becomes almost impossible to hit bombs, not only screwing up your chances of winning, but also frustrating you.
There are two game modes, which are nicely done. Derby mode uses all the rules of the real home run derby, and here you can earn a few MLBucks. Arcade mode, which doesn’t require tickets to play, is a fast paced, fun mode in which the timer is ticking down, and the only way to add time to the clock is by hitting home runs. The downside is that you cannot earn MLBucks here. Both can be played single player or multiplayer.
So that’s the basic rundown of the MLB.com Home Run Derby app from Major League Baseball. I’ve said all that I have to say about that. 5/10. Good luck to all the participants tomorrow!
-TheAppEmperor *swinging away*