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Hidden 99-cent gem: Hit the Deck Baseball for iPad and iPhone

The developer Smashedfly has brought the mechanical baseball pinball machine of the 80s to the Apple App Store--and it's a lot of fun to play.

Hit the Deck Baseball costs 99 cents for the iPad or iPhone/iPod Touch version (alas, it's not a universal app). Smashedfly

We're always on the hunt for good under-the-radar games, but it's not always easy to discover new titles that aren't already on the top games list in the App Store. Well, in honor of the start of the baseball season, we'll point you toward one that's worth taking a shot on: Hit the Deck Baseball from developer Smashedfly (Mike Miller).

As you can see, this isn't a "real" simulation baseball game but actually a throwback to a great old mechanical baseball pinball game of the '80s--and the first one to use solid-state electronics. The game is a faithful rendering of that pinball machine, and the physics are solid, with smooth gameplay.

You get a choice of three pitches (fastball, curve, change-up) when you're pitching, and swinging is pure timing. The home-run ramp randomly goes up and down and you can play against the computer AI, a friend, or just go for a high score in arcade mode.

Alas, our only complaint is that this isn't a universal app, so you have to buy the iPhone and iPad versions separately. But in all it's a polished game that should only get better with updates. It's also simple yet challenging enough that both adults and kids can enjoy it.

Editors' note: Look for CNET's full roundup of best baseball apps tomorrow.