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Review: NBA playgrounds (Switch)

Sport games are huge in the gaming scene, games like FIFA and NBA 2K are games that have an annual release with lots of added content to match the current season lineup and to make the game look more realistic. I remember a moment where my mom thought I was watching a basketball match but I was just playing 2K17. A month ago Saber Interactive surprised everybody with NBA Playgrounds. The perfect answer to realistic games, a game that does not take itself that seriously.

NBA Playgrounds is a basketball game with lots of arcade elements. Instead of playing with 5 players in each team, you only play with 2. Fouls are none existing except the shot clock violation (you must make your shot before 24 seconds). So you can slap and push your opponent as much as you like. Dunks are very spectacular and are pretty common. To put it short: they simplified basketball but added more wicked fun to the basketball cocktail. Or if you want to put it very short: NBA JAM IS BACK!

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Ok maybe I got a little bit carried away, but you have to admit that those bobbleheads and core gameplay kinda look familiar. In my opinion, this rather is a good thing than a bad. NBA Jam was one-off my favorite sports games growing but the last console entry is more than 6 years ago which for an NBA fanatic is way too long.

NBA Playgrounds is not just a clone of NBA jam. The biggest difference is the Lottery Pick meter. This is a meter you fill by performing awesome dunks, spectacular alley-oops, blocks, steals and epic crossovers. When the Lottery Pick meter is completely filled you get a power-up that is chosen completely random but very powerful.  The powers can variety from infinite stamina for 60 seconds, landing a shot from everywhere from the field to having hotspots where you get double the points if you score from there.

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The points you score in NBA Playgrounds are not always the same as the normal basketball rules. You have normal 2 points when you score or 3 pointers when you score from behind the 3pointerline but scoring the first point or scoring a very clean shot or dunk will grant you extra points. This can make the difference in very close games so it’s very important to abuse this when you can. But like in every basketball game the key to victory is to focus on your defense and scoring consistently.

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The player roster features current star players from the NBA and Legends like Shaquille O’Neal and Kobey Brynat (but no Larry Bird :( let’s hope for a patch). You don’t get every player from the start but players are given to you through player packs. Every time you level up you get a card pack with 6 random players that are then added to your roster. Playing with the players will give them XP and leveling them will let them unlock special moves. At this moment the only way to get new card packs is by leveling up or by winning a tournament where you get a gold pack that has an increased chances of containing a legendary player.

At the moment of writing this review, there is no online multiplayer available. I was pretty disappointed because there is a lot more to discover. A casual and a ranked system where you can test your skills between other players was already announced. So we really look forward to test the online features of NBA Playgrounds, which will come very soon.

Verdict:

NBA Playgrounds has a unique style which fits perfectly for this game. The soundtrack is basic but still very good. This game is so much fun for both singleplayer in tournament mode and multiplayer beating all your friends. There is a lot of content and the card collecting system keeps the player hooked.  NBA Playgrounds is available for PC, Playstation 4, Xbox one and Nintendo Switch. I personally think that the Switch is the perfect platform because of the on the go local multiplayer so it is definitely a game that the Switch need. The game is €19,99, in my opinion definitely worth the price for an awesome funny arcade basketball game.

8,5/10

Been addicted to games ever since I was a little kid. My little brother and I always tried to beat each other with every game so I'm a little competitive. I mainly play Nintendo games but enjoy the classic PlayStation games and I'm a huge League of Legend fan.