MLB Manager 2017
MLB Manager 2017 Entry Screen

When it comes to mobile devices, management games fans don’t have too many options.

Football Manager Mobile is a good one, but the market as a whole is not really as mature as the PC one. Football Manager Touch, for example, allegedly has a lot of compatibility issues, at least for Android, probably the mobile users prefer a lighter experience, and accordingly, the devs are focusing more on more arcade or visual-appealing games.

Out of the Park Developments, however, has created another gem with MLB Manager 2017.

Let’s start with a judgment: the game is great. But, as you could have expected, there’s a “but”.

The franchise development is very conservative, and it’s been a good two years since the title hasn’t received truly major updates. On one hand, this can be a good thing: how many times has a franchise announced a revolution, just to end up with a bugs-rigged product? On the other hand, the users may want a little bit more even if they have a very good overall experience.

Once you open the game, you are presented with an elegant screen where you can choose your game mode. Similar to the bigger sibling OOTP, you can play “Major League” mode — which should be pretty self-explanatory –, a fictional game, or historical game. However, different from the PC franchise, the game doesn’t include historical seasons. Unfortunately, you have to buy them (singularly or in bundle) as in-app purchases.

Just like OOTP, the game comes with a full MLB license.

The 2017 game features a new user interface. Frankly speaking, the differences aren’t that significant. I am subjectively glad that the game got rid of the cartoonish characters, though.

MLB Manager 2017
MLB Manager 2017 home screen

The game is now a bit easier to navigate, although in some instances you need to have a lot of patience.

On my Samsung Galaxy 4 tablet, I sometimes need to tap two or three times to get my input recognized. The phone’s physical back key is not recognized either, except when you want to exit the game. I don’t know if that behavior is intentional, but sometimes it would be very handy to just use that key, instead of the “back” button you have on the screen, especially when you have to use it thee or four times.

The core of the game has undergone some under-the-hood improvements. Casual games may not see too much of that, but trades seem to be more realistic.

While the game engine was already well-built and could guarantee realistic results in the past iterations, things are only improving. The game does track a lot of stats that will help you in taking well-informed decisions.

Remember, though, that MLB Manager is not a fast game, therefore it can hardly be used as quick time filler. You can lose yourself in numbers if you only have a few minutes to kill when you’re waiting your turn at the post office.

MLB Manager 2017
MLB Manager 2017 Game View

The way you play out games is similar to the old OOTP versions. If you got hooked in the 3D simulation of the modern OOTP titles, you may be wanting more, but the engine gets the job done.

Due to the nature of the game tinkering with strategies during a game may be a little cumbersome because of the sheer number of touches to be done, and sometimes you’ll find yourself wanting to search for a nearby mouse that can’t be used.

VERDICT

Pros

  • A fun, realistic, immersive game with tons of potential.
  • Different modes and all of them are working well.
  • The franchise is progressing nicely…

Cons

  • …but from one year to another it lacks new major features.
  • The complete retro mode may be a bit pricey.
  • You are going to need time for the best experience.

Final Score: 8/10

Note: MLB Manager 2017 is available for Android and iOS devices at $4.99. The game was reviewed on a consumer Android tablet (Samsung Galaxy Tab 4). The author received a review code.

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Alessandro Seren Rosso
An avid player of sports management games, Alessandro writes about hockey for several online outlets in all over the world. His work appeared, among the others, on The Hockey News, Hockey’s Future, The Hockey Writers and many other. His interest in sports gaming dates back to 1998 with Championship Manager. Today, most of his gaming engagement, much limited by his 3-years-old lovely time-killer, is dedicated to Eastside Hockey Manager.