Keep these Android baseball games in your starting rotation

by Phil Owen

Flick BaseballBelieve it or not, the 2014 MLB season is just around the corner. We want to bask in as much baseball as we can right now, and that means it's time to download some new baseball games for your Android device of choice. Below, you will find a list of five standout baseball Android games. Play ball!

Editor’s Note: These games are all free, but they lean heavily on in-app purchases.

Flick Baseball

While most Android baseball games have a heavy focus on hitting, Flick Baseball is only about pitching. It's just a pitching game, you see, and your pitches are driven by the flick of your finger. I've never found flick-based games to be particularly easy, and it will take some time for you to master the flick pitch and figure out how to take full advantage of all the different ways you can throw the ball. I'm still no good at tossing a curve, but I can get a killer fastball through. As you play, you'll find what works for you, and you'll have a pretty good time with this.

Homerun Battle 2

Yes, a part of me is sad that Com2us pushed “home run” into one word, but this home run derby game is still pretty fun. This one definitely has a competitive focus, so going online is a must. What's most interesting about this game, though, is its mechanics. You use tilt to decide where in the strike zone to swing, and then you tap the screen to let her rip. It's mostly the timing that determines whether you make contact, but hitting a home run requires actual skills. Gotta appreciate games that require actual skill in order to achieve.

Freestyle Baseball

Freestyle BaseballI'm putting this in this spot primarily because of the visual style, which is quite attractive. It's cel-shaded (think Borderlands or Jet Set Radio), and it seems to be one of the better looking efforts I've played on my phone. As for gameplay, it's a one-on-one baseball battle, and batting is actually pretty difficult compared with other Android baseball games. It takes a bit to figure out exactly how to do it, so you'll want to practice by yourself before you go online with this one. It is possible to figure it out, though. I promise.

9 Innings: 2013 Pro Baseball

9 Innings: 2013 Pro BaseballThis effort from Com2us is the only Android baseball game with MLBPA licensing, which means it has real pro players in it. It doesn't have the teams themselves, though, but it has assigned the players to the right cities. That'll have to be good enough. It's also the only game I've played that gives you a real game of baseball to play, and it's actually pretty good at providing that experience. It's not as deep as, say, a home console baseball game, but Com2us did well working within the constraints of the touch screen.

Baseball Superstars 2013

This latest entry in the recurring franchise from Gamevil is more or less a Japanese-style role-playing game in the form of a baseball simulator. Playing the base game without spending money on micro-transactions is a long, grinding experience, but I found myself enthralled in my player's journey through these fictional big leagues. It's two games in one, too, as you can play as either a pitcher or a fielder, and those campaigns are unique. And it's great that when you get tired of one you can just hop on the other.