Big Win has grown as a franchise on the app store lately, and Hothead Games have received a lot of praise for their series of player/card sports games. All their games are free-to-play, with the money the studio makes coming mostly from in-app purchases and sponsorship videos – which seems to be the way of the app world now, micro-transactions … something we’ve discussed as a unit in the upcoming podcast!
Big Win covers the majority of the most popular sports in the world, in particular North America due to the company being based in Canada, with games covering Soccer, American Football, Basketball, Ice Hockey, Baseball and even Nascar/racing. As time has gone on, the games have improved and the mechanics have been upgraded as you’d expect. All the games function in the same way, in that you get your team of starting players and work to add on up to 4 boost cards whilst upgrading the cards colour as well, from bronze to silver to gold to platinum. Each card has a particular rating, which you play to improve … obviously. You then get the team rating, an average of those 11/6 whatever number of players again, obviously, which it uses to try and fairly put you against a team with a similar rating as often as it can.
I’ll be honest, when I first came up with the idea of a Big Win post covering all of their titles, I hadn’t actually played the Baseball or Racing version, Baseball due to it being the most boring of sports whereas racing is just something I was unsure as to how it would work out. After opening the app, it turns out to be probably their best one. I love the small changes they’ve made to the basic skeleton they use for the games, whilst adding some cool parts to the videos such as a victory celebration of doughnuts and the introduction of the pit stops is a cool and worthy addition, giving the need to improve your pit crew some much needed urgency.
The baseball version is the same as all the sports versions; pick the outfield and hope that your team comes out on top in what seems to be a best-of-whatever number scenario, due to the final scores more often than not being seperated by only one point. The team name and player names are totally changeable, as well as the country of birth and the number associated with them, as well as the team colours. In games, there are three different views – first is the specific player with the ball/in your car, the second is all of your team names /your car with the final view being the names of all players involved / the opposition in the race. You get to choose between a number of options to view the game itself too, with ‘Watch All’, or from specific points, say from second period onward or second half or fifth lap, or highlights on particular ones, such as basketball. If you do indeed watch, you can then use the video that you’ve watched to send to various social media accounts, I believe it’s twitter and facebook enabled, as well as sending it to your email if you want to. The choices are endless. Most of them now have quite unique sounds, relating to that specific sport. There is even partial commentary on some, in particular the Nascar version and the basketball version. The crowd noises are strongest, in my view, in the NHL version, which was the original game I played, courtesy of ThinkBad Monkey’s review (http://www.implayin.co.uk/reviews/big-win-hockey/).
The micro-transactions are standard between all of the different versions too, the simple bronze pack is 150 coins, silver pack is 1000 coins, then the gold packs are 10 dollars. Each game gives you a certain amount of coins depending on how many points you scored etc, and whether you won or lost. The dollars come through levelling up and through your placing in tournaments – I think you get dollars for finishing in the top five, with more dollars for the higher places. So to get better quality, you need to buy more dollars in reality to get to a good enough standard. To get additional dollars, if you’re playing it enough, then £2.99 + to get a better quality of team is more than worthwhile, although my fellow IM PLAYIN bloggers detest micro-transactions.
As you can tell, I’ve played Hothead games quite a lot on the train, sufficiently enough to get a good insight of them, and I really enjoy them all (except baseball, not a big baseball fan, and perhaps the American football one, due to having too many players in my mind), but there is, of course, some improvements I would make. The games are online based, so require a connection to wifi preferably , unless you want to eat up huge amounts of data, but the connection is often very weak and falls out easily. There’s no way of finding out the actual score in the last game and only if you remember your record before, can you tell if you’ve won or lost. If the servers improved then it could be potentially 5x better, as it’s the only thing that really annoys me.
Developer: Hothead Games
Games Publisher: Hothead Games
Genre: Sports Simulator