iPad Game Review: NBA Jam by EA Sports for iPad Reviewed by Steven Scarpitti
NBA Jam has been a top basketball title for almost two decades and has been made available to almost every gaming console ever produced, so it wasn't that big of a surprise that it has made its appearance on iOS. I however was very happy to see it and even more excited to play it.
NBA Jam offers three modes of play with Play Now, Classic Campaign, and Multiplayer. The main menu offers these three modes as well as an option to view all the challenges including the ones you have completed. Completing challenges is how you can unlock classic players like Dr. J and Larry Bird as well as other things like different basketballs to play with. The main menu also offers an option to go to the Jam Store where you can alternatively unlock players instantly by purchasing packages of players with your iTunes account which requires you to be connected to the internet. There is also a settings option icon in the lower left hand corner, one of the options here allows you to change the appearance of the ball to any of those that you have unlocked by completing challenges.
Play Now mode allows you to create a single game where you choose the two teams playing as well being able to change players for both teams, you always play as the home team. Classic Campaign mode pits you and your favorite team against 36 opponents featuring all the NBA teams as well as a few classic and surprise teams. Classic Campaign has a nice learning curve with early games being easy and fun to just get the hang of the game and the later levels being much more challenging with more difficult AI coupled with better teams like the Lakers or the Heat. Multiplayer features WiFi and Bluetooth connection options and allows up to four people to play together.
The options menu offers lots of options some of which allow you to change the control type, the difficulty, the game length, and tag mode, which allows you to switch control between your two teammates. In the options menu you can also view your high scores for stats like most blocks, dunks, or rebounds in a game. It is worth noting that EA has done a nice job updating the rosters of the teams after the trade deadline ended in the regular season.
The graphics look amazing on the iPad, they're very bright and crisp, exactly what you would expect from a big name developer like EA. There are two different control types, arcade and gesture, both control types use a virtual analog stick to move your player. The arcade controls are easy to use and understand with traditional buttons; the gesture controls work well but take a little getting used to because it uses finger swipes instead of buttons.
The background music is entertaining and is high quality, again what you would expect from a EA game. The sound effects are all there and done very well, just like the console versions. There is also the option to play your own music which is always a welcome addition.
Overall NBA Jam is a top notch basketball arcade game that will appeal to any basketball fan and to a lot of gamers in general as most have grown up playing the different versions of this now classic title. NBA Jam is well worth the asking price as its console counter parts sell for five to six times the amount of money they are asking for the iPad version.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: -5- The graphics look great one the iPad almost exactly what you would expect from a PC or gaming console. Sound: -5- The background music is fitting and the sound effects are first rate plus you can even play your own music. Controls: -4- The controls are easy to use and understand but can be a bit off sometimes. Gameplay: -5- The gameplay is fun and challenging, this game feels just like the more expensive console versions.