24 April 2015

Review of MLB Manager 2015 for Android

Camden Depot founder and Baseball Prospectus writer Jon Shepherd provides reviews of baseball related media from time to time.

MLB Manager 2015 for Android
Device: Samsung S5
Cost: $4.99

Prior to kids, yard work, and mile high loads of laundry, I used to pass time occasionally with the Outside of the Park Baseball series.  That series is noteworthy first and foremost for its embracement of data science and other advances in the field of baseball analysis.  They do an impressive job working with folks around the game (including Baseball Prospectus) to make as realistic a game as possible.  In that game, you have complete control over an organization down to micromanaging how your short season minor league clubs fill out their batting lineups and substitute players.  It is a game that takes a good week or two to get the hang of and to enjoy.

MLB Manager 2015 is the mobile game that complements the standard bearing OOTP.  As one would expect, the mobile game requires a more minimalistic approach and cleaves major sections of the OOTP game in order for it to be more manageable on the smaller format.  Draft last five rounds, the minors are now a holding pen with no games played, the engine that simulates the games appears to be more simplistic, and player movement rules are more minimal.  I think all of that was handled quite reasonably and the gameplay (whether letting a week go by or entering into a text based pitch by pitch mode) passes the sniff test.

My only qualm with it is that I find the interface to be non-intuitive.  The touch input does not always overlap the entirety of the visual graphic buttons or drop down menus.  Although, it may only irritates you for a couple seconds, jamming your finger five times before a button responds can be annoying.  Even more annoying, is when the phone recognizes your fourth or fifth tap as a sweep that requires the software to take a few more additional seconds to compile a player listing that I had no interest in seeing.  Forty seasons in, I think the software has trained me.  I rarely have issues with unrecognized finger strikes.  When it happens, it is frustrating enough that I sometimes move on to something else. 

However, the game is a godsend.  For 42 minutes in the morning and another 42 minutes in the evening, I am stuck in the DC Metro system with intermittent internet connection.  This renders most sports games inoperable these days as they constantly wish to send information back and forth to the mothership.  This game does not do that.  I can be stuck in the middle of a tunnel for 45 minutes while they figure out how to remove a broken down train in front of me and be content playing this game.

Yes, there is room for improvement.  Yes, this game suffers from some residual connection to the PC-based platform.  Yes, it is by far the best baseball game I have played on my mobile phone.

iOS App Store:
OOTP Developments site:

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