Thursday, May 11

NBA Playgrounds Review

The most crazy basketball fever returns before the playoffs end with NBA Playgrounds, a Saber Interactive title that is now available for Xbox One. This is an old school arcade, those who flee any kind of union with reality beyond that has official license of the NBA, and you have to put the ball in the basket of the rival. Everything else 'lives' at the service of the most immediate fun.


To this, it's necessary to join that the variety in the proposal is not excessive, and is limited to simple 2 vs 2 games, by time and in which they only change the stage and the players. Everything else remains unchanged, with the only exception of having a secondary objective (making X caps, triples or mates in a single match, for example) when we are playing the Tournaments. These are the only option for a single player available beyond fast matches, and it is a succession of clashes on the six different tracks that includes NBA Playgrounds. The other possibility is online games for two players (no online cooperative, friends), in which we will win or lose points with our victories and defeats, rising from division into the pure Overwatch style when we reach certain levels of excellence. Unfortunately the stability of the games is not all that good we would like, and there are multiple jumps that make the experience somewhat uncomfortable.

Starting from this base, the actual duration of the game, is almost incalculable, we can only say, "until you get bored", which we are sure can take us many hours to squeeze the game.


Of course, this isn't a new idea, as we all remember titles like Arch Rivals, Street Hoops or NBA Jam, who drank a good part of these guidelines to offer us a somewhat different sporting experience. It's precisely this last title that we have listed the one that serves as inspiration more than evident for NBA Playgrounds. At the outset the fact of having real players, coupled with the fact that the matches are always 2vs2 does quite a lot. However the similarities continue beyond that, we talk about things like the frantic pace, the importance of theft/nudge, the possibilities of players on the court ... Even the commentator seems to repeat the characteristics of the narrative of the NBA Jam games, more than two decades ago ... although with much less grace and emotion.

As for the players themselves, we find representation of the 30 NBA franchises, with classic and current players mixed on the campus. The number of possibilities in each case is variable ranging from a minimum of 4 to the maximum of 7 players in the case of the Lakers. There are a total of 152 players, which is not bad, but we miss some names that, due to licensing problems can't appear. We also miss the possibility of creating our own player and climbing/improving throughout a professional career ... But it's not possible, in NBA Playgrounds players are given, and their statistics are immovable. Another small opportunity missed by Saber Interactive.

Since we talk about novelties caught in games more modern than the old NBA Jam, it's worth mentioning another of the most relevant changes to its original gameplay: the appearance of card envelopes. Luckily, there is no trace of microtransactions, but we will win one envelope each time we raise our player level, receiving five random basketball players at each opening. With the use of these players, we will unblock new moves for each of them, implementing some evolution to the equation, although it's a little light and little relevant.

Graphics & Design

Where it doesn't fail the shot this title, is in it's visual presentation, with bigheads players very similar to their real homonyms, correct animations and environments of game sufficiently characteristic like not to be in tune with the good tone of the production in this aspect. Everything moves smoothly and smoothly of any kind. It's true that this isn't the game more detailed, but it is that NBA Playgrounds also doesn't need to be to play its role.

The sound section isn't so stellar, with slightly tired melodies, a somewhat boring announcer, and sound effects from the pile. That's the dichotomy of NBA Playgrounds, which is capable of the best and the worst in a way that we don't understand. With the base of the game is easy to do something fun and enjoyable, and the game gets to be in short doses because of its immediacy and its simple and well executed controls. However it has problems that don't seem too difficult to solve and an alarming lack of variety that will make the game become something transient beyond its multiplayer games, where there, the levels of fun skyrocket, especially if we share a sofa with three other crazy friends for the most casual basketball.


A small missed opportunity is the NBA Playgrounds, providing a solid foundation, but a lot of small problems that, as a whole, make it more complicated to enjoy each of the games. If we combine this with its limited variety of possibilities (few game modes, invariable scheme of encounters, absence of editor ...), the result is a "we would have liked, but not".

  • Game: NBA Playgrounds
  • Developer: Saber Interactive
  • Publisher: Mad Dog Games, LLC 
  • Price: $19.99
  • Size: 7.96 GB
  • Release Date: May 9th 2017
  • For More Info -


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