Mar 30, 2012
NBA Jam took its sweet time, but it is finally on Android. The high-flying arcade basketball revival from EA brings all the 2-on-2, no-fouls-called, gravity-defying, other-hyphenated basketball action. Players can throw down with all 30 NBA teams, choosing two players from a selection of the current roster, with some classic players available as well. There’s a Play Now mode to just throw down the rock against a computer opponent, the Classic Campaign to take on 36 teams, including some legends teams, and even multiplayer over Bluetooth for two people.
Control-wise, the game is fantastic. By using gestures for turbo along with the virtual buttons, the controls wind up being extremely accurate, more so than many games that use virtual buttons. The directionality of the buttons give them a utility that other games’ virtual controls lack. I never feel like there are any missed inputs with the virtual buttons. The “shake device to spin” mechanic is still somewhat difficult to use, however.
Rosters have thankfully been updated for the latest season, with rosters accurate to the beginning of the season. There are some inaccuracies compared to the season being 3 months deep now. TJ Ford, sadly now retired due to continued health issues, is still on the San Antonio Spurs’ roster. Looking to experience some Linsanity? Too bad, because there is no Jeremy Lin in the game yet.
All the little things are still in this game. The big heads, catching on fire, just everything that made this franchise what it is back in the days on the arcade is faithfully represented. And even a year after its original release on iOS, this game is still incredibly fresh and fun to play. It maintains that classic gameplay, and while it’s very simple at its heart, and there are plenty of elements to exploit, there’s just so much fun to be had that the simplicity doesn’t matter. Sometimes it’s fun to just sit back and throw down a dunk from the rafters. And the Android version preserves all that fun.