This is my kind of sports game. Completely unrealistic and over the top with fast paced gameplay and a a great sense of humor. Also, Fire. A lot of fire. I am of course referring to NBA Jam by EA Sports, the revival of the 1993 Midway arcade title of the same name. This release does a great job of preserving the spirit of the original, and it’s great fun. It’s probably one of the greatest basketball games of all time to be honest, as long as you don’t care about realism and all that.
Everything about a normal basketball game applies, only it’s all been simplified into a basic 2 vs. 2 match with very short-length quarters and a blatant disregard for the laws of physics. It’s great fun to furiously run the ball back and forth on the court, always pulling off inhumanly high leaps and super impactful slam dunks. Getting three baskets in a row while shutting out the other team will result in “fire mode,” which gives you unlimited turbo and increased stats. Two control methods are available, and both work well after some practice.
You can choose to jump into random games for a quick fix, or you can enjoy a lengthy campaign mode. Three save slots are available, so up to three teams can be campaigned at any given time. As you win your way through ever increasingly challenging teams and divisions, you’ll likely unlock many of the games achievements. These also unlock fun features, from different kinds of balls to big head mode and more. Of course, the teams’ rosters have been updated to modern times, but legendary players, celebrity cameos, and playable mascots are all unlockable, along with several fun challenges. You can also play against friends via local Wi-Fi or Bluetooth multiplayer.
The graphics are well done, and they even keep the odd look of the arcade with photorealistic 2D faces on top of animated model bodies. The music and sound design is all well and good too. The hilarious courtside announcers, arguably the best part of the game, have made their triumphant return. The only real flaw lies in the stability issues this app has on various devices, though I had no issues myself. NBA Jam is available for five dollars at the time of this review. Some may find the app a bit on the pricey side, as far as apps go, but EA has managed to avoid their usual money pit business practices to deliver a simple and fun mobile version of this reboot of a classic game, with plenty of content to sift through. Boomshakala indeed, EA. Boomshakala, indeed…