iOS Mini-Review: Arcade Hoops Basketball

February 18, 2012 at 1:14 am | Posted in iOS Reviews | 14 Comments
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We are all witnesses to a shift in the gaming industry.  With every Angry Birds game designed and every Farmville gift card sold, a new gaming audience is being tapped into.  Companies today are allocating large amounts of resources to focus on mobile gaming and social media gamification.  The sports gaming genre is not adverse to the clutches of casual gaming and nothing is more evident of this than the immense popularity of flick games.  Flick games are the natural result of using a device that is explicitly based on touch controls and, while I like to focus on arcade or simulation-style games brought to the small screen, casual sports games are here to stay.  With a simple premise and the most basic tenants of flick gaming,  Skyworks Interactive’s Arcade Hoops Basketball brings to iOS gaming the amusement park adrenaline of jacking (well, flicking) up as many shots as possible with the same payoff of going home empty-handed after trying to land a large stuffed animal prize.

Arcade Hoops Basketball tries to make the most out of the simplicity of tapping and flicking basketballs into an undersized hoop.  The free version of the game gives you the classic timed arcade mode, with only the standard game background and some small advertisements.  By upgrading to the full game ($0.99) you receive two additional game modes; the 3pt Classic which moves the rim way back and the progressive mode which gives you 100 seconds to make as many baskets as possible as the rim moves different distances (but never side to side for more of a challenge) as the game goes on.  You also receive a number of new background skins for the decor around the hoop, but they have no impact on the physics or actual gameplay.  Arcade Hoops Basketball also allows you to use your own music from your phone to supplement the game soundtrack (the music and sound effects are not bad though) and has a nice leaderboard for each mode that houses stats like the number of shots made and missed with your calculated shooting percentage.

The trendy zombie motif

Disregarding my inherent flick fade to the left, I found the process of frantically tapping the screen to grab the balls a little inconsistent, and I questioned the responsiveness at times after trying and failing to repeat my flick delivery in order to not short-arm a dozen or so throws.  I did find the physics around the rim to be pretty good and with the games so short, it was very easy to quickly get back into another round to try to beat my previous high score.  If you have friends that would casually pick this game up, I could see the robust leaderboard being a real positive item as you played back and forth trying to top each other.  Unfortunately, there are no unlockables or rewards for rocking a high score.  I would have saved the alternate skins and made them purchasable after racking up a number of points (like the tickets the real-life game would spit out) to add another incentive to the game.

Skyworks Interactive has churned out a number of flick games and can boast over five million downloads of Arcade Hoops Basketball.  They even took this title to the Nintendo DS in the form of a DS Ware release.  Casual iOS sports games can straddle the line of sports shovelware but the numbers back up the interest in this growing sub-genre.  We have even seen the NFL take interest and license out their brand in titles like NFL Flick Quarterback and NFL Kicker! (their exclamation point, not mine).  While Arcade Hoops Basketball isn’t perfect, it is an acceptable demo to what mobile touchscreen gaming is capable of.



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