As the release date draws closer, Big Ant Studios have launched a new trailer showing off TableTop Cricket, coming February 25th to Steam and PS3:
Big Ant Studios have confirmed on the PlanetCricket Forums today that TableTop Cricket will release on 25th February on the PS3 and Steam. The game had been planned for Xbox 360, but Big Ant citing publishing issues on that platform. The game is expected to reach the Xbox One and PS4 late in the year.
TableTop Cricket seeks to emulate the style of gameplay of cricket board games, which should make it a very different experience from Big Ant’s bigger cricket game. Among the features that haven’t made it into Don Bradman Cricket, the PS3 version will feature PS Move and 3D TV support – perhaps made possible by the simplified controls and graphics in the TableTop rendition of cricket.
Some new screenshots are also out:
There’s no word at this stage on pricing – we will keep you updated as more news comes out.
We’ve had a video game featuring the Cricket World Cup for every edition since 1999, but the one for the 2011 World Cup took a very different turn from 2007 – Cricket Power, a modification to Cricket Revolution, was a very incomplete experience, especially when you compare it to the full scale console release that came before hand. However, with sights firmly set on using the World Cup license to drive sales in India, this World Cup’s game is more of the same from a conceptual standpoint, but this time delivers a far better experience for your $10 than last time.
A lot of this game shows its origins as a mobile phone game – especially during the excruciating initial tutorial that forces you to play it with keyboard and mouse. You bowl by drawing the delivery path on the screen, after choosing length with a quick button press, followed by ensuring you don’t deliver a no-ball by timing the release with another one. Obviously this is quite a smart way of implementing bowling on a touch screen, quickly drawing a path would be rather easy with your finger, but I can’t call it bad when doing it with analogue sticks on a controller. Obviously DBC’s controls are the gold standard, but this is an improvement over the typical pitch marker based bowling schemes of old.
Batting is reminiscent of old cricket games – with the 360 analogue control on a field radar and a pitch marker to tell you where the ball will be, however this is combined with shot making being narrowed down to two – ‘grounded’ and lofted. I put grounded in quotes because it’s not particularly grounded, you can get caught outside the circle playing a ‘grounded’ shot – it just means it’s slightly less risky than the lofted shots. It would be the aggressive shot button in any other cricket game – meaning that you’re only getting short and very fast scoring cricket here.
The other downside for the batting is a lack of any timing feedback, so it’s hard to get a sense of where the right timing is. I find however that most of the time that sticking to the grounded shots and pointing towards the gaps can get you a fast enough run rate to win. The field seems to change every couple of balls, but basically just fill the gap you last hit in, almost always leaving another one wide open.
It’s not difficult to win, but I do find the matches enjoyable. The World Cup mode defaults to 5 over matches, with no obvious option to change that – however in playing longer matches in the quick play mode, it’s easy enough to bowl the AI out early, and I don’t think there’s enough depth to the batting for anything other than chasing a total to be enjoyable. Luckily the game seems to realise that and the AI chose to bat first in all the matches I’ve played.
There’s one other game mode that is perhaps the star of this game – the ‘Ultimate Team’ style World Tour mode – which is the best use of the World Cup licence to date. The concept is a nice World Tour, playing other composite sides in 2 over matches – with a requirement for a number of local players in your side. This is a great concept, however let down by the difference between a skilled and unskilled player being hard to notice in gameplay, as well as having no way to compete against other people – with no online features in the game.
Every match you win in the World Cup mode scores you a card to expand your squad and you can purchase them with credits from a store. Those credits come obviously straight from the mobile version of the game which would have them as microtransactions – however those are replaced with the up front purchase of the game on PC. The game tells me on loading screens and when trying to purchase things that I can get credits from playing the game or completing daily objectives – but I have found no trace of those so far – with the cards for winning matches the only way I have found so far to get more.
Perhaps I simply haven’t found it yet – but this adds to the suggestion that the PC port was an afterthought. The screenshot above shows the result of using the merger of two bronze cards to make a silver card – you have to arbitrarily wait time or pay gold. That makes sense as a way to make money on phones, but is just annoying on a paid PC game. The other area that it shows is that the menus can’t be navigated with a controller, apart from using the analogue stick to move the mouse, which means frequently in matches you need to reach over to your mouse to dismiss a menu. In addition to this, the running controls aren’t explained on screen – A to run, B to cancel if you’re wondering.
I reference the price up early deliberately, this is a game I review with the context of price front of mind. What is missing from this game is acceptable when the price is considered, and while I think it certainly needs some further development to make it a game more suited to being on PC, it’s an enjoyable game that makes good use of the World Cup licence. I haven’t had a chance to try the game on mobile – I have a Windows Phone and the game is Android and iOS only. I also generally prefer just paying up front rather than being bombarded with attempts to get me to pay for coins – so it’s probably a better experience on PC with that aspect considered.
I don’t know how much of this game you would play if you have Don Bradman Cricket – but there’s things here like the ultimate team style mode and the licensed players that stand out, and the pricetag is low enough that you’re not much out of pocket if you don’t enjoy it. I’ll probably be going back to it after finishing this review just to see how the World Cup I started plays out, and to explore the World Tour mode further, with the short matches being enough to hide the larger flaws.
Overall, I’d probably consider this a recommendation – though if you’re that 97% minority with Android/iOS, maybe give it a go on your phone first.
ICC Pro Cricket 2015 is available for PC on their website and on Google Play for Android and the App Store on iOS. A copy of the game was supplied for review.
Imagine a football world cup where only the top 10 nations in the world were allowed a place. Perhaps Wimbledon with only seeded players in the draw or Formula 1 with only 10 cars on the grid. All sports have big teams and small teams but it seems to be only the ICC that treats those “minnows” with such utter contempt. This is especially ironic considering the regular giant-killings the ICC Cricket World Cup has seen in recent years. Mostly it seems to come down to fear. If the game is expanded and new nations encouraged, they might be better run and beat the “proper” teams, they might want a say in how cricket is run, they might have the temerity to want to play test cricket.
The ICC’s decision to reduce the number of teams at the next Cricket World Cup to 10 sums up their policy towards expanding the game and towards the non-test nations. The organisation increasingly represents a feudal society with the aristocracy of England, India and Australia allowing the land owners a vote but having no intention of extending the franchise further. Merit be damned. Talent be damned. It’s all about entrenchment and protecting vested interests.
Thanks to IGN we have a little bit more information, confirming that there’s no multiplayer in the game and giving us the following new screenshot
The official announcement came at a press conference at the SCG, featuring Harsha Bhogle and Brett Lee:
— @ProCricket2015 (@procricket2015) February 6, 2015
Original Article follows:
Yet to be officially announced, PlanetCricket received a tip regarding the upcoming release of ICC Pro Cricket 2015, an officially licensed World Cup 2015 game coming soon to PC, Android and iOS. Detail is limited at this stage, but given the short time remaining until the tournament commences, it’s likely that the game will officially launch soon.
Known at this stage is the price on PC of ₹299/US$9.99, which makes it very similar to the last World Cup where we got Cricket Power, a slightly updated version of Cricket Revolution.
A gif on their website offers the only real glimpse at gameplay, with it showing a pitch marker based batting and bowling system, which should mean keyboard controls on the PC version of the game.