BattleBall is a fast-paced arcade basketball game that plays itself
The premise of BattleBall is promising. It’s a one-on-one basketball game that plays like a cross between Street Fighter and NBA Jam. At least, in theory. In practice there’s almost nothing to it at all, as the game pretty much plays itself.
The basic set-up of BattleBall is that it’s a street basketball game structured like a fighting game. You and your opponent take turns trying to score baskets, but instead of earning points, you cause damage. Every time you make a shot or throw down a dunk your opponent’s energy bar will decrease a little bit. Whoever loses all of their energy first is the loser.
Problem is, you don’t participate in these over the top b-ball battles at all. You simply watch, with no input whatsoever. You can even skip past the game straight to the score if you want. Now we’ve seen plenty of sports games that simulate the actual games and instead have players focusing on managing their teams. But as a one-on-one basketball game, there isn’t even much to manage in BattleBall. You can buy better gear for your player and that’s about it. The rest depends on your experience level and luck.
The game’s other big selling point is that it utilizes the Unity engine for smooth, 3D visuals, somewhat of a rarity on Facebook. But even this isn’t very impressive. While the animations are smooth, the actual design of the characters can only be described as hideous. They look like monsters, not talented athletes. Throw in some uninspired courts to play on, and it feels like the 3D graphics are wasted on BattleBall.
It’s still relatively early, but we can’t help but be disappointed in BattleBall. While the premise sounds like fun, arcade-style action, it ends up being a game with almost no gameplay. There’s a great experience buried here, you just don’t get to play it.