Vitusoft’s new App Store launch is a street-wise pitching-and-hitting centric freestyle baseball game that aims to woo fans with edgy tastes and an inclination for sports.  While your image of the typical baseball player might include a beer belly barely restrained by a vertically striped uniform, Wannabat is having none of it.  This attitude-driven, stylish app applies a grittier aesthetic and innovative game mechanics to that will certainly satisfy sports fanatics and may lure other gamers into an unfamiliar genre.

Wannabat offers an interpretation of America’s national pastime that’s one-on-one and light on technicalities as well as absolutely addictive for those with a competitive streak. Games are single, three-strikes innings, with one pitcher facing off against one batter. If you ever played backyard baseball with just one or two kids from the neighborhood, you’ll pick up the rhythm right away. The number of bases attained by a hit isn’t determined by runners (as there are none) but by the direction and distance the ball attains.  Whether batting or pitching, it’s all on the player’s performance.

The player switches off batting and pitching each time the strikes add up, whether playing against an NPC or another real-life player in real-time. Pitching and batting are accomplished using similar, but not identical mechanics.  They’re deceptively simple in concept, but finesse is key to succeed. Of course, the same is true of baseball in real life—“Swing the stick and hit the ball” is easily said and much less easily accomplished. For batting, the player touches the indicated area of the screen to activate the bat placement, an overlay which indicates the batter’s prediction of the pitch. Once there, the player keeps his or her finger in place until the moment before the ball enters the target sights, then releases to activate the actual swing.  Pitchers don’t wait on your whim, either, so getting accustomed to the pitching style of each pitcher is necessary. Power swings, when available, afford some extra oomph by tapping prior to placement.  As pitcher, a similar overlay is available for the player to place in their sights, and moving brackets converge on the ball—to time the pitch perfectly, the pitcher should remove their finger from the screen just as the brackets reach their destinations. The game moves quickly, on more or less its own schedule, which lends an extra boost of adrenaline.

Wannabat’s two most beguiling traits are its customization system and character improvement model.  Naturally, characters level as the player defeats NPCs and gains experience, but the system is more substantial than that.  Skill points are also acquired, and can be spent maxing current skills and acquiring new ones (skills are new pitches and special deadly twists that can be added to them).  Additionally, players can level their gear by wearing it as they play.  Speaking of gear, that brings us to the customization. Forget your notions of three quarter sleeved polyester striped nonsense—Wannabat is pure street.  In addition to customizing the character’s physical appearance (hairstyles, skin tone, and so on), there’re plenty of clothing and equipment options in the shop.  Some are purchased with coins, others with battle points (earned by defeating other players in real-time). And, as a player defeats NPCs, certain elements of their look and get up will become available, too.

Wannabat is animated in 3D, and it looks good—there’s plenty of time to appreciate your character and others’, as well as the NPC character design, in motion.  Quick innings dispel any visual boredom, as does the richly detailed background. Wannabat lite and premium are both available in the App Store now ($1.99 and free, respectively).  Check it out!

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