The Golden Age of baseball is back. Everything about Boomtime Baseball (Out Now, Free) harkens back to the old days of the sport. It seemed like a swinging time to be alive and playing baseball would’ve put you right in the country’s spotlight. These days, baseball is a little less glamorous and a lot more greedy — but now’s your chance to go back to the days when it was all about the game and not about the money.
In Boomtime Baseball you take control of a legendary baseball player and compete in a home run derby type match. In order to do so, you must spend coins to buy a player to use. Your objective is to earn points each round by hitting the large targets in the field.
Controls consist of dragging back a weird blue smudge that appears on the screen and letting go as the two circles come together. Needless to say, this control scheme leaves a lot to be desired. When you first start playing the game, you’ll be swinging and missing virtually every pitch that’s thrown. But just like in real baseball (I’m guessing here) once you get into the groove of things, you’ll start to hit balls and score points. Getting comfortable will take some time, and I wish there was a much easier control scheme with swiping or one tap or something. Or at least the option of picking what kind of controls you’re more comfortable with. The smudge animation and circles just look weird and out of place. On the right side of the screen is a “Slugger” meter and once it’s full you can belt out a home run and obliterate the giant wooden target.
Boomtime Baseball is free to download but most everything within the game requires currency of some sort. The Bulls-eye and Multiplayer modes are available from the get-go but you’re going to have to spend some hard earned coins to unlock the Accuracy and Home Run Hero modes. Or you can purchase coins through the dreaded in-app purchases.
There is a Casino mode in which you can earn more money but it’s basically the same game: hit the ball at something and win it or get nothing. If you need help you can buy power-ups before the game start, which requires you to spend coins you earn from getting a high score. You can also buy different players with different stats and a variety of ballparks but all cost you something. Boomtime Baseball didn’t keep my attention long enough for me to want to earn coins and unlock all these things. It may seem like there’s a lot of stuff to earn or buy but it’s actually a pretty shallow game.
The visual aesthetic of the game is one of the big selling points for me. The look of the players and ballparks is vintage and the grainy filter works really well. During gameplay, the characters look fine but once you’re done your 10 tries and your frustrated player bows out of the hitter’s box, you can see how blocky the character models truly are. Besides that one tiny nitpick, the art style is absolutely gorgeous and it truly feels as if you’re playing a game set in the 20’s. The music is jazzy and sweet, but the audio commentary really gets on my nerves. With 10 pitches each round coming your way, it’s normal to hear some of the same lines over and over again. I heard “Here comes the pitch” so often that I ended up turning the sound off to the game due to being so irritated.
iFanzine Verdict: Boomtime Baseball looks and sounds lovely and does a great service to the era that it’s paying tribute to. Ultimately though, having to spend coins on everything gets tedious. If the game was more fun and the controls were better maybe this game would be worth the time. However, there’s another arcade-y baseball game out there called Wannabat that’s leaps and bounds better than this.