Big Win Baseball offers a Daily Pennant mode in which you compete against 10 other random players to see who can win the most games in a 24-hour period. (You're capped at 20 games.) Given how unsatisfying the gameplay is, you can imagine how unrewarding it feels to best total strangers. The Friends Pennant, in which you can invite up to 20 friends to compete, at least gives you the chance to go up against people you know for bragging rights--if winning randomly generated baseball games is something you feel like to bragging about.
Big Win Baseball runs on an in-game currency system that involves both coins and bucks. You earn the former for winning games and the latter for leveling up; competing in daily pennant games also boosts your bankroll. That in-game currency dominates every aspect of Big Win Baseball. One of your players gets injured? Spend some coins to heal him up. You want to customize a player's name or appearance? More coins, please. And those card packs containing new players, skill boosts, and contract extensions require coins, too--or the harder-to-get bucks, if you want to buy premium packs.
You can earn this in-game currency at a modest clip, but Big Win Baseball also allows you to buy coins and bucks through in-app purchases. You can probably get by in a treading-water sort of way without paying for in-game currency, but to build a successful team, I feel that Big Win Baseball strongly nudges you toward the in-app purchase route. App makers have a right to pursue revenue, of course, but in this case, it feels like more thought was put into ways of requiring a big bankroll of in-game coins and bucks than in making a compelling game.
When I download a game about baseball, I want to concern myself with runs batted in and whether or not to use a suicide squeeze. I don't want to spend my time checking the balance on my fictional bank account. Big Win Baseball puts an emphasis on the latter, and as a result, this game really drops the ball.
Philip Michaels is the editor of Macworld.com.