There are a few arcade-style cricket games on Apple devices already, but precious few serious attempts at capturing the sport. That is, until Ashes Cricket came along.
Not that Ashes Cricket is a hardcore simulation as such, but it steps beyond mere arcade ball thumping and does give you the basics – you’ll bat, you’ll bowl, and you’ll play everything from 5 over quick games to international-length championships. For that alone Codemasaters’ attempt to bring its popular sporting franchise to the Apple table deserves credit.
Now, I feel for the developers of cricket games. Given the limited audience for this sport around the world (and other sports, such as AFL struggle for similar reasons), development budgets are limited, but at the gamer side of things people spoiled by the fully-featured and slick (and globally-popular, multimillion selling) FIFA games have a certain expectation of quality that just can’t be fulfilled.
But that said, Codemasters is getting there. Cricket 2010 on the Playstation 3 is a genuinely good game. A couple of minor blemishes aside (a lack of player licenses hurts), it plays a good game of cricket. I have no problem recommending any sports fan (that understands our great game) to pick it up.
But Ashes Cricket on the iPhone and iPad takes a few hundred steps back. The controls are fiddly (especially on the iPhone’s small screen), the presentation is lackluster and filled with visual glitches, and there are just two teams to chose from – Australia and England. The AI is terrible, and the pacing is weak. In short, at no stage is this game a satisfying experience.
Of course, this game also costs just a few dollars, rather than $100 for the Playstation 3 game, but given that FIFA, Madden, and any number of other great sports games are already available on the App Store, Ashes Cricket, as understandable as it is, just relegates the sport back to budget territory.