NBA JAM In Review – EA Is The Bus Driver & They’re Taking You To School!

For all you gamers who grew up during the ’90s, NBA JAM should be quite familiar to you (Boomshakalaka!). One of the most popular arcade titles to have ever been released, it was THE game to play back in the day, and now thanks to the folks at EA, it’s back with a vengeance on the iDevice.

Anyone who’s ever played NBA JAM knows that when it comes to fun, this super charged arcade-y basketball game has it in spades. Seasoned JAM players will feel right at home on this portable iteration – the sights, sounds and gameplay have all been faithfully recreated. And if you’re new to the experience, then get ready for giant heads, flaming nets and backboard smashing dunks. The acrobatics alone would impress even the crew over at Cirque du Soleil.

Like all sports games, your goal is to out score the opponent. Where it differs here, are the rules – or lack thereof. Instead of the usual 5-on-5, you play in a schoolyard-esque 2-on-2 game of basketball. The only rules that apply are goaltending, and the shot clock. So be prepared to fly high above the rim for rim-rocking dunks and nasty blocks, swipe away for ferocious steals, and shove your opponents’ behind to the ground. To spice things up, you also have challenges that you can accomplish, which will in turn unlock extra features like zany in-game tweaks and cheats and some of the best basketball players ever known. If however, you want to skip all the challenges and unlock all the extra features and players without putting in the time, you can do so via in-app purchases. There are multiple packages available ranging from $0.99 to $2.99

With all the ups NBA JAM has to offer, unfortunately there is also a down, and a rather big one at that – the lack of multiplayer. One of the biggest draws of the arcade hit in its heyday was the heated competition with friends. The in-your-face-dunks, accompanied by the non-stop trash talking really made the game. Needless to say, it is a downer that EA completely left out this feature. Hopefully, this key ingredient will make its way via future updates. If not online multiplayer, at the very least the ability to connect with a second player via WiFi or Bluetooth.

Graphically the game is stunning. Retina Display is supported and the visuals are crisp, clean and vibrant. Even your favorite players are instantly recognizable on-court. The sounds are also true to NBA JAM, from the swoosh of the net, the hoop catching fire to the squeaks of the sneakers on the hardwood. Oh yeah, it even features the voice of Tim Kitzrow, the original play-by-play announcer. “He’s on Fire!!”

So to basketball fans young and old, I highly recommend you go and grab NBA JAM for your iDevice. It’s every bit as fun as the beloved arcade game you’ve come to know and love. It paved the way for other “arcade” sports games to follow and to this day, the universal appeal remains. Addictive, challenging and easy to pick up, NBA JAM is perfect for quenching your hoops thirst no matter where you are. The only thing holding back a perfect score is the lack of multiplayer. With it, this would have been an easy “Kiss It” rating. Hopefully EA will fire out an update in the near future, so the trash talkin’ can commence once again.

App Summary
Title: NBA JAM Developer: EA SPORTS
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.0 Min OS Req: 3.0
Price: $4.99 App Size: 262MB
  • Awesome graphics
  • Insanely addictive
  • A great refresh of a classic
  • Extremely easy to learn and play
  • Lack of multiplayer
  • No Game Center integration


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