FunkyHoops a straight-up entertaining street basketball game

Posted: August 2, 2009 in Sports

One of the things lacking in the iTunes store is a good basketball game, and I’m not talking about mini-games which quite honestly have the replay value of iFart apps. While no full-on basketball games have made their appearance on the platform as of you yet, there have been attempts at 2-on-2 street basketball. The most recent is FunkyHoops, and after putting this through the paces, it’s an entertaining game especially with its league play format. It may be well worth checking out this title to nip those basketball game urges.

The graphics, while not the best you will see on the platform, are lighthearted and presented in cartoon-like caricatures. The teams themselves are pretty creative in that they’re not solely your typical basketball duos. They consist of ninjas, skateboarders, and even a pair of mobsters in suits. Each of the six teams also has its own set of attributes when it comes to speed, steals, blocks, and shooting. The soundtrack is a cross between Charlie Brown and Spike Lee in tone, and frankly this entire presentation works. Overall, this is a well-packaged game that doesn’t feel like it’s half completed.

The game offers two modes of play—Quick Play and League—with three levels of difficulty: easy, medium, and hard. Quick Play offers single-game play, while League provides a 10-game schedule. And, games can be played in 12, 18, and 24 point formats. One shortcoming is that it doesn’t allow you to increase the number of scheduled games or change the point formats if you wanted to play longer games. The 2-on-2 is the only game included so doesn’t expect to be playing H.O.R.S.E. in FunkyHoops.

The control scheme is what you would expect in a game such as this with a d-pad for moving and icon buttons for specific actions. One additional feature that I think makes this game better than most is the dual-camera view which presents a view of the game from two different perspectives. Typically, it’s difficult or at least not as interesting when you don’t have a full view of the court. In FunkyHoops, one of the views allows you to see down the length of the court, and you can switch view anytime during a game.

On offense, the buttons are pass and shoot, and block, steal and switch player on defense. Something I particularly like is the switch player button on defense because it allows you to switch your control from one player to another which comes in handy in fast break situations. But a slight negative is that the player you switch to will stop for a second which can be problem if he’s already in pursuit since it stops all momentum.

In the art of shooting, a shooting gauge appears in the upper right corner with a moving bar. The closer the bar is to the center when you tap the Shoot button, the more accurate your shot will be. In general, this is pretty accurate, and after a while, it becomes second nature as you hit shots more consistently. And the dunks can quite entertaining although they look the same depending on the team. The ninjas will dunk and hang upside down from the hoop.

One court is included in the game which is not a big deal for me, but I know others like variety with different courts and backgrounds. I can see adding a night version played under lights or even simply changing the soundtrack to change the feel a bit.

While the gameplay isn’t particularly deep, the game is entertaining because you do get the sense of playing on a full court. That can’t be said for other similar games which tend to feel cramped and limited. Another issue I’ve had with these types of games in the past is the AI and how easy it can be to win especially once the shooting mechanism is mastered. In FunkyHoops, the difficulty is considerably noticeable on the hard difficulty setting because the opposing team will attack, meaning they will steal the ball from you any chance they get, and the opposing defense is much tighter than in the easy setting. Playing defense on these types of games has never been ideal because of the limited view from center court, but it’s a lot more tolerable in FunkyHoops. You still need to practice to be proficient at blocking shots and stealing balls, but again, the experience is more fun.

Once a game is completed, a series of statistics is shown for number of two and three pointers and shots completed among others based on each player per team. It’s actually more than I expected and a nice addition.

Overall, FunkyHoops is a terrific street basketball game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The basketball gameplay is entertaining and rather enjoyable because of the lighthearted graphics and dual camera views which add a different dimension to the game. At this point, if you’re looking for a straight 2-on-2 basketball game, FunkyHoops is worthwhile.

Albie Meter: 4 Stars (recommended for casual basketball fans; delivers entertainment value with fun graphics and gameplay)


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