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App Review: Ultimate Cricket 2011

Game: Ultimate Cricket 2011; Platform: Windows Phone; Publisher: Synqua Games; Cost: Free

There are millions of cricket fans all over world (the majority being Indians) who enjoy talking, watching and playing this sport. While some enjoy playing this game on the field, others enjoy the virtual experience more. For the latter category, there have been many games in the past for PCs, phones etc that provide that entertainment. Ultimate Cricket 2011, developed by Synqua Games, is another such game which offers a decent cricketing experience on your Windows phone.

The game offers various game modes that include — Quick Match, Practice Nets, Knockout Tournament and World Cup. The ‘Quick Match’ mode allows you to play a single match against a team of your choice with a team of your choice. You can select the duration of a match (max 20 overs) and the level of AI (easy, medium, hard). The ‘Knockout’ mode is the common “do-or-die” tournament, where the team that looses gets eliminated from the tournament and the winning team proceeds further till the final match is reached. The ‘World Cup’ mode follows a similar format as the actual World Cup’s, and matches your team against other teams to compete for the coveted ‘World Champions’ title. In ‘Practice Nets’ you can test your bowling and batting skills and can try to come up with a few nifty strokes while batting and with a few tricky deliveries while bowling.

The game offers simple controls which one can easily get used to in a single match. While batting, the player has to position his batsman according to the ball (the place where the ball will bounce is indicated on Easy mode whereas it is hidden on Hard mode), select the shot to be played and then time the shot in the selected direction. While bowling, the player has to select the position of the bounce and the speed and spin of it. All these controls are present on the screen, are self explanatory and very easy to get used to.

The game play is fun but, like all cricket games, its extremely repetitive. There isn’t much to do but, that’s acceptable considering that its not really possible to add a lot of gameplay elements to such games. However, the game is just too easy. The AI hasn’t been programmed well and is downright ridiculous while batting and extremely stupid while bowling. You can easily bowl out the opposing team at a score of less than 2 or 3 within the first 2 overs in a 20 over match. Just keep bowling very fast/slow yorkers right at the stumps and the AI, no matter easy or hard, makes a mess of the timing and ends up getting bowled (most of the times). The batting again is a cakewalk, however, the difficulty varies with the level of AI (since the bounce indicator is not visible at hard mode). Though, at any level, it is pretty easy to put up a total of 400-500 in a 20 over match.

A funny thing about the game is the name of the players. Since the game is not “an official cricket game”, it doesn’t really have the rights to use the actual names of the cricketers. It’s indeed very funny when Australia’s D.Ballinjer is bowling to India’s V.Khuli (fans will understand). The way they have twisted the player names so that the fans get humored and still understand who the actual player is, is pretty funny. :P

Live commentary was one thing that I thought the game lacked and was rather something that the game needed considering that the gameplay itself gets pretty boring very soon. Commentaries just make cricket all the more interesting and I really missed that element in the game.

All in all, Ultimate Cricket 2011 offers a decent cricketing experience and proves to be an amazing time-pass game. I must say that such games come in quite handy while travelling and most importantly during the boring school/college lectures since, they don’t really require much of  your attention but are amazing time killers. ;)  This is one department where this game excels. :P

The game gets a 3/5 from us at OP.