Boomshakalaka! NBA Jams slams onto the iPad

EA Mobile has recently released some great games for the iPad. Dead Space was just an amazing game that blew me away on what a mobile game should look and play like. I’m not a huge sports game fan but with EA’s previous successes, I had to get my hands on NBA Jam.

Like I said, I’m not a huge sports fan but this franchise is one that I remember fondly of when I was a teen. NBA Jam started way back in 93 as an arcade game. I spent many hours and quarters battling my friends. What was so striking about this game was it’s high action-packed gameplay which made other sports games so boring.

Now NBA Jams has come to the iPad.

Just like the 93 arcade version, the player is presented with action packed gameplay, vivid graphics and easy controls. All of this makes for a fun, fast game which is sure to please.

You are presented with three game types to play, single game, classic campaign and multiplayer. Single game is just that, a single night game. You can choose your team and players as well as your opponent’s team and player. You can choose between some of today’s hottest players with the ability to unlock other characters. This is a great starting point to learn the controls and get a feel for the game. Choose your difficulty level and begin your sports career.

Classic campaign let’s you choose your region, team and players. Then you will begin your season and play through the league. Multiplayer allows you to battle your friends which is a great addition to this game. It adds another level of replay ability which was lacking in this game. I don’t have many friends with NBA Jams yet. So I didn’t have many to play but this feature brought me back to 93/94 and that dark arcade. This is the best feature of NBA Jams.

Now the controls are pretty simple. Just three action buttons and a D-pad. With these four buttons and shaking the device, you will be able to dunk, shoot, block and steal your way to victory.

While playing an easy opponent, the control system is fine. But playing harder opponents where you must perform multiple finger taps, slides and device shakes, the control system can be a little buggy. Performing some of the special moves and blocks just didn’t work correctly. Holding one button then sliding to another and then quickly tapping can be difficult on a touch device.

This isn’t an issue specific to this game but most large titles. I found many counsel game which are also released on touch devices tend to have bugs with their complex control systems.

While this was a little annoying, sticking to the core moves worked for me. I really enjoyed the power dunks which brought back the nostalgia for me. It’s great to see the hoop catch on fire or smash the glass.

I also really enjoyed the audio environment of NBA Jams. It was a please to hear the old “Boomshakalaka” from the original game. The roar of the crowd, squeaking for the shoes, and announcers comments all added to this fun, fast past game.

Besides the control system being a little buggy, the gameplay can quickly become a little stale. With just two players and one main mode, you can quickly become bored after beating the game. The 93 game had a similar issue, for me, but being able to play your friends made a huge difference.

The multiplayer feature greatly improves this game as well. Being able to trounce your friends makes you keep coming back to play this game. I quickly beat the classic campaign and got bored. But being able to play my friends was a huge replay ability factor for me.

This game looks great, plays good and has a great multiplayer feature which is a must for today’s games. EA really did a great job with paying homage to the original. I’m giving NBA Jams a 7.5 out of 10. Fixing the control system and adding more features to this game would be a great upgrade. If your a fan of sports games or the original arcade game, then this is a must have.

I loved this franchise all those years ago and now I can relive those great moments every time I open my iPad.

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