Remember how Tap Sports Baseball 2015 was a lot like its predecessor? Guess what? Tap Sports Baseball 2016 is also a lot like its predecessor, which was a lot like its predecessor. You can probably spot the trend by now. If you’ve played one of the earlier incarnations then Tap Sports Baseball 2016 isn’t going to really lure you in like it could. Odds are you’re already invested in an earlier version and don’t really want to rebuild your team. That makes sense. As a total newbie to the series though? Well, Tap Sports Baseball 2016 is quite fun, but it’s also rather slow too.
It’s part management game and part action, which mixes things up while also feeling somewhat restrictive. You don’t play every part in a game. Instead you deal with batting, and a small selection of decisions, while Tap Sports Baseball 2016 automates the rest. There’s also the matter that a lot of it involves taking turns with other players. This means if you’re playing against someone not very active, finishing a game could take a while. Though there are occasional opportunities (through extra items) to play bonus games against the AI which can help speed things up.
Batting is a fairly simple pleasure. One-touch controls means you simply tap on the screen when you think the time is right to connect with the pitch perfectly. It takes a little practice to truly get that timing right, but eventually you’ll learn that you’re better off letting some balls fly past.
Once you connect, running to the next base is mostly done automatically. You’re left to the mercy of the game’s use of your players’ statistics to work out just how successful you’ll be. You do get a say in matters such as whether you want to try to steal a base or make a last gap run, though. Also, bunting is left to you making that call, so you do have some sway as to how things work out.
Early on it’s nice to just have to focus on batting, but the more I played, the more I wanted to be able to control my own destiny so to speak. Outside of the action, you can dictate game plans and determine what you want your players to do in various scenarios, but it’s not quite the same as doing it yourself. There’s also no way to pitch, meaning your sole defense is to set up various strategies beforehand and hope you picked the best pitcher.
Where you can affect a lot is when it comes to acquiring new players. This is done through a mixture of trades, earning rewards from completing games, and, of course, in-app purchases. You can achieve a fair bit through not spending money, but there’s always going to be that sense that you’d get further ahead way faster if you ponied up for some world-class players.
That makes for a quite disjointed experience. While Tap Sports Baseball 2016 is reasonably fun, it’s hard to feel committed to it without paying up to get ahead. There’s the satisfaction of seeing real players thanks to the MLBPA license, but a lot of the time you’re going to have to earn them the expensive way. A little too much luck is involved in the rest of the process to feel truly confident that you’re genuinely outsmarting the opposition. Don’t expect to still be hooked by the end of the season.