NBA Jam Mobile – Ridiculously entertaining basketball outrageousness with a feel for the eccentric
Though I won’t be so presumptive as to go ahead and lump all basketball game fans into two groups – the sim-lovers who enjoy realism and the arcade-depth casual players that want to just get on with smashing in a slam dunk from an impossible distance – there are definitely those that are more at home with one type of b-ball game than another. The original NBA Jam is an arcade game that gained immense popularity; console versions popped up around 2010 and brought the arcade fun to living rooms everywhere. This review covers NBA Jam for mobile, a game that more-than-competently manages to make the transition to the miniature hardware of mobile devices, maintaining what makes NBA Jam fantastic whilst (frustratingly) cutting out some content along the way.
NBA Jam’s gameplay is something to be admired, with the 2-vs-2 matches being unique in the basketball game world. The two-players-per-team action is punctuated lavishly with outrageous shots that defy not only the laws of physics but also basic sense, but in the best way possible.
Making shots from ridiculous distances is only the start of NBA Jam’s eccentric gameplay because once you get on a roll with consecutive shots you can activate your turbo which makes pretty much any move you make an exaggerated version of the player’s normal actions. A gentle steal becomes a gigantic shove, a slam dunk slows down time with some dramatic slow mo, and you begin making shots from positions that would ordinarily be impossible to make shots from.
This kind of over-the-top silliness is what makes the game so ridiculously fun to play, and it doesn’t stop there. You’ll find yourself being literally on fire when you’re on a scoring spree, and once turbo is activated your shot-success percentages increase and you can also fly in the face of the goaltending rules (which are incidentally one of the few actual rules that govern the otherwise lawless courts of NBA Jam’s matches). These eccentricities are what make this game so incredibly fun to play; these features are retained from the NBA Jam Arcade game and are surpassed only by the enhanced gameplay of NBA Jam: On Fire edition. Continue Reading
Release Date: 10/02/2010
Available on: iOS, Android, Windows
Looks NBAmazing, Plays Like Jam Tastes
Though you’re obviously not getting console-quality visuals of the calibre of NBA 2K15 here, for a game that occupies the mobile platform NBA Jam looks rather good. The original NBA Jam arcade game was the first game of the genre to push boundaries graphics-wise, doing so by using hi-res photos of actual players as the sprites in the game. The result is not an uncanny (yet borderline uneasy) resemblance like you get in the next-gen NBA 2K14 and 15 games, but rather an amusing series of scenes where real-life faces are animated in various ways as they move up and down the court. The sprites are particularly exaggerated when you work your way to unlocking big head mode, one of the various hidden features you can squeeze out of the game in return for completing it thoroughly.
So the game looks good and plays smoothly most of the time, but what of the medium between you and the game (the controls), eh? Well, it’s safe to say that this game has what are the best control system of any sports game for mobile. The on-screen controls allow you to use a joystick for movement and contextual buttons for all other actions, with the buttons displayed varying depending on whether you’re attacking or defending at the time. The result is the ability to control your players accurately and a turbo button that’s easy to slide to. The controls here are simply sublime and even incorporate gesture input if you indeed wish to swing that way.
Crying Out for More
The only real problem with NBA Jam for mobile is that you’re going to wish there were more modes with which to enjoy the gameplay. There’s only single-player mode, and this campaign runs the risk of becoming repetitive, particularly when you’ve lost a variety of the other modes that fell by the wayside in the transition from console to mobile. Particularly gutting is the lack of multiplayer – local multiplayer isn’t even offered – which seems ridiculous considering that the 2 vs 2 format is simply begging for such a feature. Still, though I find myself crying out for more from EA Canada, NBA Jam is for now one of the very best basketball games you can hold in the palm of your hand, but don’t walk as you do so: that’s called travelling.
Nba Jam is developed by EA Sports.