Flick Home Run
January 7, 2012 2 Comments
So I go to work the other day and everyone at the office is talking about what their score is on some silly iPhone game called Flick Home Run. The age range of people playing this game was kind of impressive. My father, who is what I would call a causal gamer, is 63. Along with him, two of my partners, Chris and Kevin were playing as well. Chris is 43 and I think he has a console or two. On the other hand, Kevin is 66 and in my four years working with him I’ve never heard him once talk about doing anything for recreation. Side note: remind me to look into what brand of stick he has up his ass, so that I can invest in it. It works well.
I’m not exactly a baseball fan, but I decided to give it a try. As it turns out, Flick Home Run ! isn’t really about baseball. It’s a casual game where a ball is pitched to you and you try to hit it out of the park. Okay, that sounds exactly like a baseball game. But there’s no base running, fielding, or any of that boring garbage. I guess it’s like home run derby. You put your finger on the left side of the screen and the ball gets pitched. You then slide your finger at the ball in way you think will hit a homer. You get points for every foot the ball travels, plus bonus points if it hits any balloons. Instead of a set number of pitches, you have a lifebar that decreases with every pitch. You get life back based on the distance you hit each ball. You lose extra health if you swing and miss, or hit a foul ball, perhaps in tribute of the North Korean Olympic baseball team.
Each different kind of pitch is represented by a cutely drawn face. You don’t know what kind of pitch is coming until it crosses a line on the screen. Well actually, that’s not entirely true, but I think that’s what they were trying for. Anyway, if you hit the ball before it crosses that line, it’s an automatic out and you lose health. You can use a power-up to sneak a peek at the kind of pitch coming. There are also special multiplier balls that get thrown at you randomly, which double or triple the value of your swing.
I had fun at first Flick Home Run, because it’s a very likable pick-up-and-play casual game. But then little annoyances started to irk me. As you play, you earn experience points. When you level up, you can upgrade one of three things. Naturally the game does not explain any of these three things in the slightest. I hate it when games do that. Flick Home Run actually has a pretty decent help screen that explains the various rules of the game in detail, except what each of the upgrades do. The first one is power. I guess that’s self-explanatory. Muscle up and hit the balls further. Which is fine, except the very first pitch I got the very first time I played the game, I knocked the ball out of the stadium and into the parking lot. That’s actually not as far as you can hit it, but still, it seems like my finger was strong enough as it was.
The second upgrade purports to effect the bat’s accuracy. I did upgrade this several times and noticed zero improvement in accuracy. Actually, it kind of got worse. I hardly ever hit a foul ball before I started upgrading this. But then I noticed that the more I leveled accuracy up, the more foul balls I hit. I found out that my father and Chris experienced the same thing, and apparently several others online have as well. I think this officially makes this the worst upgrade in the history of gaming.
The third one makes more sense. You get more peeks at the upcoming pitches. You start with three, but you can get more. It’s still not all that useful. After you’ve played the game for a while you can tell what kind of pitch is coming at you by the way it starts and react accordingly. Since your finger has to start in the same spot, there’s not a lot you can do. After an hour or so I never needed to use the peek again.
I suspected early on that the game had more to do with luck than skill. There seemed to be no solid method I could use to hit a home run. I would slide my finger and whatever happened rarely seemed relevant to the placement of my finger on the screen or what angle I hit the ball on. The only thing that seemed to change was leveling up slowed to a crawl. As I already pointed out, that didn’t bug me too much because my upgrades either made no difference or made the game worse. So I guess it’s fitting that the developer is charging people outrageous price of 99 cents to upgrade any one stat, or $9.99 to upgrade all three by five levels. Out-fucking-rageous. Overall, Flick Home Run was fun for a few minutes, but it quickly grew boring. I can’t believe this game is currently sitting high on the best-sellers list. Not that those are barometers for quality. I mean, there’s a Transformers movie and two Pirates of the Caribbean movies on the all time highest grossing films list. It’s enough to make you cry tears of blood, and I don’t think Kotex makes anything to help with that.
99 cents were busted for using finger steroids in the making of this review.