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NBA JAM by EA SPORTS™ Review

By , on February 10, 2011


NBA JAM by EA SPORTS™
Download on the AppStore
5 out of 5

PROS

  • Classic NBA JAM with a shiny coat of paint.
  • Easy to learn arcade controls.
  • A huge variety of unlockable characters and modes.

CONS

  • Repetitive background music; thankfully iTunes is supported.
  • Multiplay modes not yet available.

VERDICT

If you loved the original or you're even slightly intrigued by this whacky basketball title, then I heartily recommend NBA JAM, but the lack of a multiplayer feature can be a sore point.


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There's only one thing holding me back from starting off the review by declaring NBA JAM by EA Sports an instant must-buy - there's no co-operative or multiplayer modes of any sort available. For a game that so lovingly recreates one of the Arcade and home console's most exciting basketball-related titles, it seems almost unforgivable that I can't share the fun with a friend or slam a firey ball of doom in the face of a random online player.

Coming to grips with the controls of NBA JAM for iOS devices is like learning how to ride a bike for the first time - the basic theory is easy to understand, but learning to execute it takes a few attempts. Whether you play with a 'dpad' or 'gesture' based system, you'll be using the left analogue stick to run around while the right hand manages the use of your Turbo, Shoot/Block and Pass/Steal buttons. Pulling off insane stunts like super dunks and mind-blowing alley-oops is easy enough once you learn how to slide from the turbo in to a shot, but putting up a defense in the form of stealing or shoving can be a real crap-shoot as the AI players react with an (understandably) inhuman level of speed to your actions.

It almost feels wrong to praise a game for basically reproducing a classic title in toto, as it seems lazy to simply update the game's technical features by replacing sprites with 3D models and pixelated heads with Jib Jab-esque photo cut-outs. Unfortunately for someone like myself (a rabid player of the original Arcade title), this results in a game that pushes all the right buttons and keeping classic bonus characters like The Beastie Boys and Bill & Hilary Clinton in the game is a great nod to the original.

NBA JAM is all about the spectacle of the game you're playing; tactically speaking there are a few things you can do to get an edge, but luck plays just as much of a role in winning as your skill. For some this may be a deal-breaker, but it's an easy game to forgive when you're flipping out a mile-high with a ball that's on fire before breaking a glass backboard with a giant-headed Al Gore.

Screenshots

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Comments

Avatar
dwx882 3 years, 8 months ago

You hit the nail right on the head -- this game is an awesome throwback to the original game. The announcer, the gameplay and even the animations are every bit as insane and fun as its predecessor. As soon as I saw this review on here I knew I had to get this game. Is it normal to check this site 5-6 times a day just to see if anything new has been added? lol

Avatar
iphoner 3 years, 7 months ago

normal may be a bit too strong a word...but rest assured youre not the only one ;)

Avatar
dwx882 3 years, 8 months ago

You hit the nail right on the head -- this game is an awesome throwback to the original game. The announcer, the gameplay and even the animations are every bit as insane and fun as its predecessor. As soon as I saw this review on here I knew I had to get this game. Is it normal to check this site 5-6 times a day just to see if anything new has been added? lol