Review: BattabattabattaSWING! Baseball Hero is big-league fun

Hit and pitch your way to baseball stardom with this free 3D Android game.

Lots of us are great ballplayers in our minds, but now you can be a Baseball Hero on your phone, too, with Doodle Mobile's free 3D Android game. Batters face realistic pitches, and pitchers not only get to call the pitch but also the speed, since Baseball Hero responds to finger motion when you're at bat or on the mound. Smooth 3D motion adds to the realism, too. Quickplay, Practice, and Career modes let you hone your game in the batting cage or play an entire season. You start as a rookie but can work your way up to big-league star status by earning gold coins to upgrade your abilities and hit home runs.

Baseball Hero's tutorial walked us through the finer points of play. First up: Batting. The game presents the catcher's view with a right-handed batter facing a right-handed pitcher. The tutorial shows the three pitches you'll face: fastball, curve, and screwball. To hit each, you'll trace out finger motions on a diamond formation: up, right, and left. You'll use the same baseball diamond to pitch the ball: straight up for a fastball, right and up for a curve, and so on. How fast you can move your finger determines the speed of your pitch or the force of your hit. Accuracy counts, too.

If you haven't played ball in a while, it'll come back to you as you react to Baseball Hero's pitcher. The tutorial's practice mode is as easy as tee-ball, which is just as well because we whiffed enough at bats to become discouraged -- if it wasn't so much fun to keep playing. We needed a few pitches to loosen up the ol' arm (OK, finger) before our fastball would break 80 mph, but who would have thought batters would be so easy to strike out with a 30 mph slow ball? Seriously, Baseball Hero is major-league fun.

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