Many of our readers will be familiar with the sport of blind cricket. It is a game that is enjoyed across the country and around the world by blind people of all ages and abilities. Auckland University in New Zealand, in partnership with an audio game developer called Sonar and the New Zealand Blind Caps national blind cricket team have decided to try to bring the game to a new audience by creating a blind cricket batting simulator for the iPhone. The game is simply called blind cricket and is available for free in the App store.
The game is reasonably simple. The bowler first asks you if you are ready. You acknowledge that you are ready by tapping and holding the centre of the screen for about a second. Then the crowd noise fades away and you hear a rattling noise, which is actually the sound of the international standard cricket ball, coming towards you either on the left, the right or straight down the middle. Depending on what mode you have selected, you either swing your phone in the direction of the ball, as if your phone were the bat, or swipe the screen in the direction of the sound. Depending on a number of factors including how big your swing or swipe was and how quick you were to react, you will score 1, 2, 4 or 6 runs.
There are a couple of versions of the game that you can play. There is a career mode, where you have to beat the target of runs required at school level, the national final and then the world cup final. This takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete if you are good at the game, but you will need time to master it. There is also a verses mode where up to 3 players can compete with each other over 1, 5 or 10 overs to see who can score the most without losing a wicket. Unfortunately at the moment, multiplayer for this game is limited to passing the phone amongst friends in the room with you. There is no online multiplayer at the moment.
Overall, this game is pretty good, but there are a few problems and bugs with it. First of all, the game is free to play, but between games, you are asked to watch adds or send a donation to the New Zealand Blind Caps to remove the adds. This isn’t a problem in and of itself, but the add screen ironically isn’t easy to dismiss with voiceover turned on. I got around this by sending a £5 donation to the Blind Caps which removed the ads for me, but I’m a passionate supporter of blind cricket and would have done this anyway. Someone wanting to play the add supported version of the game may not be compelled to do this, so may find this quite frustrating.
Also, the swinging mode is clearly quite experimental. Several times I have found when swinging right, my bat in the game has swung left. It is particularly difficult to hit a ball coming down the middle with this mode enabled. I would advise beginners start by swiping until they are familiar with the game before experimenting with the swing mode. This game has only been out for a couple of months, so it may be something that is fixed soon.
One last bugbear of mine was some of the voice acting in the game. They clearly only had a couple of voice actors available to them when creating this game, so the menu voice, school coach voice and the bowler and batter voices are all the same person. They also have some pretty cringe-worthy names for the commentators they have at the national and world cup finals levels. Mike Rophone and Rick Ording? Really?
All in all, this is a good game for newcomers to blind cricket as well as those who are well versed in the game. This app is limited at the moment, but as stated above, it was only released a couple of months ago so I would imagine that new features and bug fixes are coming in the not too distant future. If you love the game of blind cricket, or simply have a passing interest and want to know what all of the fuss is about, it’s free, so why not give it a look?