When it comes to cricket, we must confess that the gaming world has in general been poorly served. Most gaming avatars of the Gentleman’s Game (that’s what cricket is still called, notwithstanding all the bookie affiliations) have tended to be too complex and clumsy. A refreshing exception has been Stick Cricket. No, the game was not made to put the graphics of Infinity Blade to shame. Nor was it particularly comprehensive – you could only bat, and not field or bowl (heck, you could not even set fields.) What it did, however, have in spades, was simplicity and ease of use. Your task was simple – you just had to hit a key (on a keyboard or on the screen) at the right time to play a stroke. No, there was not even any running between the wickets. The game itself would tell you how many runs your shot was worth. All you had to do was score as many runs as possible.
It was a simple and sweet formula and the developers have largely stuck to it over the years, adding a few touches here and there (left handed batting, new over restrictions), while retaining the game’s simplicity and humor. The latest touch is the addition of a T2 mode on iOS (not available on Android when this was written, although we hope that changes soon), which is a tribute to the ongoing T20 World Cup in Bangladesh. It comes free with the game and ou can pick a team of your choice and then play all the other teams in the tournament in the quest to attain T2 glory. And in case you guessed it not, just T20 means a twenty over contest, T2 means a two over one. Oh yes, you have to pretty much make the leather meet the willow consistently in this one.
Gameplay remains essentially the same – you have to tap an onscreen button on either side of the batsman at the appropriate time to score runs. But there are a few new touches too: you can go for an in-app purchase to buy a more powerful bat, or some power overs. The power overs are basically overs in which you are told exactly where the bowler is going to bowl, letting you pick your shot. It is a very handy mode for those who love big scores but honestly kills a bit of the romance of the game – I mean, most of the fun really comes from trying to guess where the bowler is going to land the ball, right? Without it, things get really predictable. Getting back to the new touches, you can also now get an overview of your statistics. And coach Gary is around to give you advice and even pose some interesting challenges for you at the nets – no, we do not like it when he drops hints asking us to buy new bats or download another game, but he is a very handy addition.
The irreverent humor is very much in evidence – hey, the game description says ” England’s loss is the All Stars gain, with Kevin Pietersen soon to be whistling his way to and from the dressing room. His former teammate, Andrew Flintoff, also arrives. On a pedalo. The dressing room is stocked up with baked beans and mobile phone credit to welcome Warnie, while Shaun Pollock is picked for his Duckworth-Lewis expertise. We desperately needed one more player to make up the numbers, so a retired Indian batsman named Sachin just scraped in.” Most important of all, the game still remains insanely addictive, especially if you avoid the temptation on the power overs. Mind you, the two over restriction is way too tight, and often means that the game is decided well before the final few deliveries are bowled. Five overs might have been a better idea. Of course, you still can switch to other game modes which are of a longer duration – you have the World Cup, World Domination, and All Star Slog to choose from (you will have to pay for some, though).
Yes, it is the same wine with the option to drink it from a slightly smaller bottle, but we must confess we like the updated Stick Cricket enough to recommend downloading it. It might be getting a bit stale in terms of controls – we would love an option to swipe in the direction of a stroke rather than touch onscreen buttons, and yes, bowling HAS to come into the equation at some stage – but yes, we still love the colorful graphics, the tongue in cheek humor, and most of all, the sheer ‘pick-up-and-play’ simplicity of the game. If you are a cricket fan, we just have one word to say to you – DOWNLOAD.
Available from: iTunes App Store