The Big Bash is an Australian cricket tournament featuring just 8 teams competing against each other in the Twenty20 format of the game. The Big Bash 2016 game is brought to mobile gaming by Big Ant Studios, who are the developer behind the Don Bradman cricket games available on consoles. They have made the game in conjunction with Cricket Australia, the official board representing and promoting Australian cricket around the world.
Big Bash 2016 is completely free. There are no micro transactions and no sneaky little methods used to try and part you from a bit of your cash. There are no pop up ads, and no other ads unless you include the fact that the whole game is just one big advertisement for the Big Bash. Many pages include links that you can press to go directly to web pages connected to the actual Big Bash, including an option to register your account and receive offers, ticket discounts and fixture information directly to your email account. Other links take you directly to the official ticket outlets selling tickets to the real life matches happening soon.
None of these links are forced, ever. You can click them or not and not clicking them has no negative impact on the game. Like I said, it is kind of just a big advertisement for the sport and to get fans out to the stadiums to watch it live. You play a bit, think “I quite enjoy this” so then can choose to hit the link and buy tickets for the game next weekend. A solid idea really though obviously of very little use to someone like me on the other side of the world.
What you get from the game is a very simple, too simple really, timing game where you bat and you bowl by flicking the screen at the right time and in the right direction. Time it well and you will see the ball soar out for 4’s and 6’s to rack up high scores. When bowling, you can move a cursor to select how full the delivery will be and then swipe the screen to coincide with the ball release to get the batter out, or at least minimise their runs.
Being an official game means that you do get all the official teams, players and sponsors. All eight teams are there – Adelaide Strikers, Brisbane Heat, Hobart Hurricanes, Melbourne Renegades, Melbourne Stars, Perth Scorchers, Sydney 6ers and Sydney Thunder and, it is good to see that they have also included the woman’s game too so all 8 teams are also there for you to choose as the women’s team. All teams, male and female, are represented by their correct players, names and kits too, to add to the realism.
In regards to modes of play, there are just two. You get to play either a Quick Match where your favourite team, something you choose at start up but that you can change through settings, plays against an opponent of your choosing. There are a few short options where you can change the difficulty between Normal, Pro and Legend mode. You can choose to play in either the male or female format of the game, choose how many overs you want the game to last for and, finally, choose to either bat or bowl first.
The second mode of play is the actual tournament itself. You select either the BBL or the WBBL, select the difficulty and amount of overs and will then get to play out a full tournament in line with the fixtures drawn in the real life tournament.
All good so far right? They appear to have covered off every possible option and variation which is great but how does it actually play? Well, it’s only okay. It is really the most diluted possible version of an attempt at realistic cricket. The first problem is that it is just a bit too easy, with just swiping. Even on the pro difficulty I was scoring around 15 – 18 runs per over and with bowling, you can easily minimise their runs so they have no chance to get anywhere near your score.
Legend difficulty is a little more challenging as their bowlers switch the pace of the ball up a bit so timing becomes a little harder to perfect but I still had no problem hitting around 15 runs an over. The AI batters are pretty good on Legend so you need to bowl carefully but with a high enough batting score, you should have no problems. In fact, after multiple games on all difficulties, I am yet to lose a single one.
Possibly the thing that annoys me the most with this game is that there is no fielding. Yes, there are fielders and if a ball lands on them, they will catch it. They will also chase a loose running ball but what they never do is throw the damn thing. You have no control as you watch a guy 2 yards from the stumps pick the ball up and stand there with it while both batters are running and are miles away from being safe. A little button to press here to throw at stumps would have added a lot.
All of this gives the game little to no replayability for me as there is no challenge and I do not want to buy tickets. After completing each tournament and a few quick matches there is little left for me to do, though I still get a little fun out of just trying to set really high run rates but after just a few days, boredom is setting in and I will be deleting it soon.
In regards to looks, it looks really polished. Player movements and animations are very life like and I had no issues with lag at all though the crowd look jagged and messy when the ball goes out for a 6 and the screen tracks in close to them. They sound okay though, cheering and celebrating at the right times and the developers cleverly shied away from adding commentary which usually sounds terrible in games.
You get scorecards as well, to check your stats out and even the option to share directly to email or social media though I wouldn’t if I were you. Trust me, you are not the only one scoring ridiculously high numbers.
The game is too easy but it is fun for a short while and, for an Aussie who cares for the Big Bash League, it is a really good companion app that let’s you play the game and then purchase tickets. Perhaps an idea that other sports and leagues around the world should look into too? A nicely polished game with all the official bits and bobs you would want all packaged in an app that does not want, nor tries to trick you out of your money. I just wish it had been a little harder.
Big Bash 2016 is available on IOS and Android devices now.
Big Bash 2016