Doodle Basketball 2 – Physics-based hoop-shooting meets unique sketchpad-esque visual style
Breaking Free of its Rivals
The Doodle Basketball series of mobile games represents a deviation from the standard shoot-and-hoop style of basketball apps. Real Basketball and Basketball Stars are Doodle Basketball’s equivalents, but Doodle Basketball 2 carries on the wonderful visual style of its predecessor, and does a great job of separating itself from its rivals with its physics-and-skill based mechanics. This is a 2D hoop-shooting game viewed from a side-on perspective, and though you won’t be facing off against any opponents as you do in Basketball Stars, you’re attempting to beat your own high score. The multiplayer mode adds another dimension to the action, too, and this action deserves the in-depth review found below.
A Pleasing Package
Like its hugely popular predecessor, Doodle Basketball dishes out yet more side-view basketball-throwing action that’s a few court-widths west of a majority of the other simple hoop-shooting games out there. Its mechanics are a hybrid between a physics-based skill game and a standard basketball shooter. More accurately, this is a trajectory-based skill puzzle where the puzzle itself has one goal and one goal only: to score as many baskets and therefore points as you can. The developers’ unique art style and street-basketball theme seen throughout then ties this basketball shooter up in a nice, simple, and aesthetically pleasing package.
The trajectory-based interface lies at the heart of Doodle Basketball 2’s fun. You have a side-on view of the court, and the ball begins suspended in the air in various starting positions. You then utilise the touch-screen to swipe your fingers across the screen in order to orientate the trajectory-line marker. Scoring a basket is then simply a case of releasing your finger from the screen and trusting the trajectory line. This is a contrast to the direct swipe-to-shoot mechanics seen in a majority of these mobile basketball games, but I feel it works in this game’s favour since it doesn’t feel like just another Swipe Basketball 2 knock-off.
Play to Win, Believe to Achieve
This game isn’t just about shooting repeatedly ad nauseum or until you get bored, however. You’ll be aiming to sink consecutive baskets of course, with each successive shot made leading to extra points and multipliers. The game encourages you to make unorthodox shots, too, which can also lead to extra points. Instead of simply throwing the ball in the usual arc, you can attempt to bounce it off the floor first, or even get it to bounce off the back of the court.
Scoring points in the regular way is quite easy, but being creative about it takes a little more skill. Just remember that the trajectory guideline is just that: a guide. The ball isn’t guaranteed to sink just because you line it up; this takes some practise while you get used to the game’s excellent and realistic-feeling physics.
You’ve got various goals to aim for, too, such as unlocking various achievements that range from shooting 30 balls in a row to making 20 clean (i.e. not touching the sides) shots in a row. Furthermore, you can spend your hard-earned points on different basketballs, adding in some variation to the game as well as giving players something for which to strive.
Release Date: 24/03/2014
Available on: Android
Vs the World and on to the Conclusion
There’s even a multiplayer section to this game’s arsenal, too. You can choose to play local multiplayer via Bluetooth or sharing your device, or even link up to the global network of players to face-off against strangers. There’s not much variation in the gameplay itself, though – multiplayer is identical to the single-player mechanics, only now you’re going against other people.
I can’t clip off the end of this review before mentioning the game’s aesthetics, however. This is a game that looks truly unique thanks to its distinctive visual style. Everything from the menus to the in-game environments (you can select between various backgrounds such as a regular court, on the moon, and even a tropical backdrop) is illustrated in hand-drawn style by Byril, its developers. Colours are utilised effectively and the sketch-like style of the game in general makes it look extremely distinctive.
There’s a few massive shames about Doodle Basketball 2, such as the relative lack of variety in the throwing mechanics, a lack of variation in the multiplayer, and also an absence of upgrades that go beyond simply swapping your ball every now and then. The ads are annoyingly intrusive, too, with a banner overlaying part of the screen when you’re playing. These minor blemishes, discussed in more detail in my Doodle Basketball 3 discussion, still cannot take away from Doodle Basketball 2’s brilliance, however. Rating: 79/100
Doodle Basketball 2 is developed by Byril.