While one immediately thinks of NBA Jam when it comes to arcade novelty basketball games, a new player is about to enter the court: NBA Playgrounds. The title is poised to feature a familiar-feeling arcade style with big-headed characters, enthusiastic commentators, and plenty of creative game modes that should set it apart from the average NBA title. NBA Playgrounds is being developed by Saber Interactive, is officially licensed by the NBA, and is due out next Tuesday.
The foray into arcade basketball is a far cry from Saber Interactive's previous work, which included Halo: The Master Chief Collection and co-developing Quake Champions. The NBA evidently thinks Saber's genre transition is a slam dunk, because it granted NBA Playgrounds with official NBA licensing - meaning that just over 150 NBA players will be available in cartoon form, dunking on each other in the game's arcade style 2-on-2 gameplay. Players like Magic Johnson, Kyle Lowry, and LeBron James all make the cut, though only time will tell if any White House royalty or surprise guest characters make an appearance.
Gamers can take a look at some of the PS4 gameplay in the video below:
NBA Playgrounds evidently stays true to its arcade roots, as players will be able to pull off over 300 physics-defying dunks in the game, with unique dunks given to the biggest names in the game. Gamers will also be able to simply shove opponents off the ball instead of attempting to legitimately steal it, provided those players have gas left in the their respective sprint meter.
Like many games these days, players will unlock the full roster via card packs that are granted each time the player levels up. While card packs within modern games often mean a heavy emphasis on microtransactions, NBA Playgrounds doesn't play by those rules: there are no microtransactions in the game, although one of the developers states that purchasable card packs may be added in later if there is consumer demand.
The game will feature both single player and multiplayer action, meaning fans can couch co-op their way to the championship or become a literal globetrotter via online play. At only $19,99, it looks like Saber Interactive is hoping its latest title will satisfy those hungry for a more modernized NBA JAM experience, excluding any SNES emulators with 2017 roster updates.
What do you think about NBA Playgrounds, Ranters? Can the game rival the famous Boom Shakalaka sentiment of NBA Jam?
NBA Playgrounds will be releasing on May 9, 2017, for PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.