Thursday, January 31, 2008

Test Match Cricket for Palm Review

I found a cricket game for my Palm Pilot last year during the Cricket World Cup and wanted to write up a review for it. I want to be clear and say this is NOT one of those "pay for posts" type reviews that have become popular lately. This is just one users opinions and views on the game. I have not and will not receive any type of renumeration for writing this review. I was one of the early users who purchased the game, and my name does appear on the credits page as someone who submitted feedback to the programmer.

I will start with that, feedback to the programmer. The brains behind the game is a fellow named Alan Simpson. Customer Service is top notch with him. Quick replies to emails, and always helpful to answer questions and resolve any issues with the game. Good to know someone is standing behind the product and available to help out .

Now the game is Test Match Cricket. You act as selector and captain of a team in, well, a Test match. Once you have selected you team, you select the players you want to use in the Test and you play the match against the Palm unit, that is controlling the other team. Right now, there is no way to play against another person, perhaps that feature may come in the future, although Alan has not mentioned it at all. You can also set up the unit to play the match against itself. You can select the country, the grounds, and even initial condition of the pitch. In regards to game play, you can control the order the batsmen, and the type of attack, from 1-5, 5 being most aggressive. On the bowling side, more or less the same operation, you select the bowler for the over, and his aggression level. Game play is pretty simple and straight forward. The game factors in weather, condition of the pitch, and fitness of the players which changes as the match goes on. Bowlers can get tired, injuries can occur. You control every aspect of the team (well, you don't control field positioning, AI handles that), so you can decide to declare, force a follow on, protect the wicket or slog away. If your bowlers are struggling you can bring in a fielder to bowl an over or two. Injuries can also play a factor. The game will also track several records including all time partnerships, fastest 50, fastest 100, individual score, and best bowling figures.

Now part of the "fun" of the game is the teams included:
Australia 1876, 1932, 1958, 1965, 1973, 1981, 1995, 2006
Bangladesh 2006
1876, 1932, 1958, 1965, 1973, 1981, 1995, 2006
1965, 1973, 1984, 1995, 2006
New Zealand 1984, 2006
Pakistan 1965, 1973, 1984, 1995, 2006
South Africa 1995, 2006
Sri Lanka 1984, 1995, 2006
West Indies 1965, 1973, 1984, 1995, 2006
Zimbabwe 2006

You can replay classic Tests, or create a fantasy match, say Australia 1876 versus West Indies 1965.

You can also download "All Time Teams" for the teams mentioned above, the 2007 teams, several other nations (2007) and county teams. There is a "fantasy" selection of teams of famous historical and fictional characters: Kings, Dr. Who characters, Dickens characters, Famous Aussies, etc. This is available with a fun little option that allows you to customize and edit teams. For example, I made up a team of characters from "The Simpsons" (Apu took 7 wickets once over two overs and Ralph Wiggum has a record 305no) and a team called "Jazz Cats" of famous jazz musicians (Miles Davis is a spinner and Thelonious Monk is one mean wicket keeper!!). You could enter stats for your weekend team and watch them face off against the greats. The players are rated for batting and bowling. For bowlers, you can select "Fast", "Medium" or "Spinner".

The last two updates added a series option, where you can select two teams to play a series of 2, 3, 4, or 5 matches, and a league option, where you can select up to 6 teams and play a league format, where points are awarded accordingly for victories, draws, and losses (negative points).

The game also tracks stats for the players, and you can look up any player and see how he is performing. These stats are for the games the unit has played. There is also a historical library for the "real" players, based on their real life performance. The library is updated frequently, usually after a series has been played (the next update is planned shortly, now that the Australia-India series has finished).

I really can't say enough of how well this game is put together and how fun it is. I even feel I am forgetting little things here or there that make the game enjoyable. There is a trial version, so you can download it and test it out. If you are a cricket fan I am pretty sure you will enjoy it enough to purchase the full version. I think it is a bargain at under US$10.00. Give it a look and I hope you enjoy it as well.

1 comment:

siva said...