Having started life as a simple online game, Stick Cricket for iPhone has developed into a sophisticated and addictive game for all sports-loving iOS users. And now there's finally an Android version of Stick Cricket, users of Android tablets and Android phones need feel bereft no longer.
For those who have yet to be bitten by the Stick Cricket bug, the game is in essence fiendishly simple, at times complictaed, deeply frustrating and hopelessly addictive. All things that remind a cricket fan of the great game itself.
You take the batsman's view, and have to choose a shot. Then you have to get the timing right to hit it... in a split second. The idea is to hit every ball for six, but even with practice you make mistakes and the variety balls that can be bowled, and shots you can make, keep things fresh. And just as nothing that is worthwhile comes too easily, there is little more satisfying than nailing the right shot in Stick Cricket for Android.
Gameplay is smooth and speedy, and it feels fair. There is a definite knack to batting, but you never feel so confident that it becomes easy (and there is always another level to go to if it does). On a smartphone with a 3in screen Stick Cricket is fun, but it looks amazing on our 10in Samsung Galaxy Tab. This is a rare example of an Android app that is equally at home on smartphones and tablets.
The game is free to install and immediately offers the Stick Cricket Academy in which you can develop your skills, and a five-over game of scoring as many runs as you can against the AI 'All Star Team'. You can also take part in the World Domination game where you must take on and beat all the international teams in order of world ranking.
It's definitely worth a free install to play the game but in truth it soon feels limited, and in order to feel the full glory of Stick Cricket on Android a £1.79 investment in the Pro Pack is a must-have purchase. You get 10- and 20-over slogs against the all stars, as well as all 14 levels of World Domination. There's also a World Cup game and no adverts.
The Stick Cricket Android app keeps a host of statistics and stores your achievements, which will be required reading for all Stick Cricketers. There's also a useful How To Play guide. It's also very stable for a first version of an Android app: we experienced no crashes at all in our tests.
On the down side, there are still a few oddities with Stick Cricket for Android that no longer affect the iPhone app. No longer are all the players right handed, but there are still some anomalies in terms of batting lineups and bowling styles (in his wildest dreams Phil Tufnell was never going to bat at seven for a world 11). And despite naming (unofficially) actual players in all the team, they are all white.