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Xbox Live Indie Game Review – Home Run Challenge

xboxboxart Pretty much the only reason I got this is because I hadn’t played a baseball game in a good 20 years and it looked interesting. Barker’s Crest is known for their earlier titles like Easy Golf and Avatar Golf. Both are awesome games that even people who hate golf should play. This on the other hand isn’t anywhere near as good.

In fact, to be perfectly honest, it’s fucking boring. But it’s not without it’s good points.

It looks GREAT, it’s accessible and easy to play, there are global high scores.

And it definitely makes very good use of the Xbox 360 avatars. In fact, it’s one of the best uses of them I’ve seen out of the system period. But that’s about it.

screen1_Web The presentation, as I said, is awesome. Anyone who has played Avatar Golf will immediately recognize the graphical style because it’s pretty much the exact same. And there are THOUSANDS of those avatars in the crowd cheering you on. There are some pretty glaring flaws in the presentation though. There’s only one ball park, where you can set it to night or day. And it gets real old staring at the same thing the whole time. Turning them from night to day doesn’t help much. After you get so many consecutive hits, your HUGE plastic looking bat turns red with sparkles coming off it which looks ridiculous. There are various targets to hit that give you more points, and different avatars you can set to pitch against you. And when your avatar hits, the camera pans over to show where the ball is going nice and smooth, but your avatar just stands there like a statue the whole time. Doesn’t watch the ball, doesn’t react at all until it’s game over time. Just stands there. The graphics are awesome, though there isn’t much variety. Which is a shame. The sound is what you would expect from a game like this and is nothing special. And the music is also what you would expect from Barker’s Crest with this light rock music that really fits the overall great look of the game.

screen2_Web The gameplay is where it falls flat. It’s just boring as all hell. Smack the ball, repeat. Smack the ball, repeat. You get score multipliers like I said before, and there are targets. But the swinging doesn’t feel like it has ANY power to it whatsoever, it just feels like your hitting a light plastic ball. And there is only ONE type of pitch. Straight down the middle. If it turns blue, it’s slower. If it turns red, it’s faster. That’s IT. And there is no multiplayer at all. It would be a TOTALLY different game and a LOT more fun if you could play against people over Xbox Live. But for some reason they decided this type of feature isn’t good enough or something. It’s just boring as sin to play it for more than a couple of minutes.

4.5 – Great presentation, but with only one gameplay option it’s just about as exciting as watching paint dry. It would have been awesome if this was either a full fledged baseball game, or at LEAST had multiplayer support. But it doesn’t. Just skip it and go download the demo for “The BIGS 2” for free and play the Home Run Pinball.

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