The wondrous sound of ball striking bat is one which any cricket fan will be familiar with and is one that instantly made me want to play more of International Cricket Captain 2011. Yes, this is a cricket management game and it is quite pleasant.
I’ve played one or two real time cricket games in recent years where you are required to bat and bowl, and maybe perform a quick time event to catch a ball in the slips. To take control of a team is a very different experience, but very enjoyable.
You can take charge of the major international teams in the various forms of the game along with country cricket in England and Australia. It makes for quite a pleasing experience. It isn’t a groundbreaking game visually either in the menu system or in the field, but you are able to get around the menus easily enough, and the match action is pleasant enough to watch, but don’t expect any players to look like their real life counter-parts.
I have used the words pleasant and enjoyable a bit already, and that is how the game comes across. If you enjoy spending a sunny Sunday afternoon watching your county steadily score runs then you will be right at home with International Cricket Captain.
Management is nothing on the scale of Football Manager, it is more akin to Pro Cycling Manager with the limited depth of options. You can assign your players to have different types of training, sign a few players if you have the funds and generally trundle along until the next county match or limited overs match.
Matches themselves are easy enough to get the basics of, and they can be surprisingly nerve wracking at times. You choose heads or tails to determine who will choose whether to bat or bowl first, have a peak at the pitch conditions and head to the field.
If you are batting, you get to choose your openers and send them to the middle. Then, you set how aggressive they need to play and leave them to, either watching highlights of each over, or just watching the scoreboard tick over. If you are batting first in a four day county match it is simple enough, manage the aggression and get a big score. The difficulty comes in a limited overs match or when you are chasing the victory in the last day of a game. There is a pressing need to balance the need to score runs and to keep wickets in hand.
Bowling is a whole different ball game (hoho!) with much more to consider. Opposition batsmen have different strengths and weaknesses you need to play around, be it a change of bowler type or to instruct your bowlers to play a fuller length. You have to decide on your field placings, do you go for three slips or put everyone on the boundary. That isn’t all, the fitness of your bowlers will drop away as the overs go by and in limited over games you need to bear in mind over limits and power plays.
International Cricket Captain really is quite a nice game to play, but perhaps a bit too obscure for people who don’t take an in depth interest in the sport. But there is an iPhone version of the game and you are able to share your mobile saves with your PC or MAC games thanks to a cloud based save system. I was also able to play the game on my netbook with a optimised mode for the mini-laptops. It is a good, but niche game that is worth taking a look at.
Verdict – On Target
Platforms Available – PC, MAC, iPhone
Platform Reviewed – PC
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