iBasket – iSuper Simple, iBored…
Mobile gaming has opened its door to a major stereotype that it is limited to very simplistic games or ones that take the attention span of a goldfish. In their defense, the Google Play store is littered with these kind of games, usually simplistic little titles programed by someone just trying things out. Sometimes those titles explode, like Angry Birds, or sometimes they get left to the wayside, like so many freebee titles do.
However, a lot of times I have a hard time wrapping my brain around the popularity of these titles. People gripe about mobile gaming not being on par with console or PC gaming, yet download freebee basic titles in droves. iBasket currently has downloads in the 1-5 million range, boasting 15 million downloads worldwide and the top downloaded game in over 50 countries. This baffles me, considering I hadn’t heard of this game prior to getting the press release for it or downloading it.
iBasket is terribly simplistic; the game consists of you trying to score as many baskets as possible in 90 seconds using your smarts about physics and your mad basketball skills. (Ok, maybe not B-ball skills per se, but your ability to flick a ball into a hoop and understanding of physics). You can also unlock achievements and share your high scores amongst your friends or that lady you met at a party that you are still friends with on Facebook. Adding a competitive social aspect for a free game is pretty cool and the social functions work well considering that price point.
This game, made be Ludei, has an interesting story behind it. This game is part of Ludei’s concept of a one code, multi-platform game idea. This company has developed a way for programmers to write only one code scheme that will play on Android, iDevices, B&N Nook, Amazon Kindle Fire, Windows Phones and many other mobile devices. This could be huge considering the massive issues a lot of developers have with getting a game sent from iPods or iPads to Android devices or any other number of mobile and tablet systems.
While there are similar basketball style games like iBasket, this title does do a couple of things differently. First off, the score is not done in your traditional 1,2 or 3 point style, but rather done via multipliers, tricks and distance of shots. The score displays more like a Pinball game rather than what most are used to seeing from basketball. Another huge difference from many similar style basketball games on Android is that you don’t drag where you want the ball to go, but rather simply touch on the screen where you’d like to guide the rock. This worked out ok some of the time, but some of the shots closer to the rim were completely off from where I selected, sending the orange orb somewhere into outer space. Finally, one other ability players will have in iBasket over other flick basketball games, is the ability to rapid fire balls at the net. Being this is a timed event, the idea of only having one active ball at a time would kill a lot of players’ speed. However in iBasket, players could even use one ball to make another ball go into the net.
Honestly, there is nothing about this game that screams “Yes, please play me on your tablet!” The erratic placement of the direction of the ball seems even worse on the tablet, as you have a larger screen. The bigger screen also throws off ones perception of where the ball will travel.
Graphics and sound are also no big exclamation. They’re ok and players won’t be hindered by weird pixels or an overbearing ad banner that gets in the way of your game play. (Ads do exist in the game, they just aren’t in your way. They can be turned off through a paid option) The sound is nothing to write home about and serves as just ambient noise. Its not like you’d expect anything stupendous from such a simplistic title, but personalized soundtracks might have been something cool to ad to a paid version. Additionally, some level variations would’ve been nice, just for viewing purposes. Hell, the free game Beer Pong HD has varying tables to play on.
Quite honestly, I’m more of a fan of the arcade style basketball games like Basketball Toss than I am of these vertical style flick games. I’m not saying avoid this game. It truly was a fun little experience. But personally for me, there is a cornucopia of games like iBasket and coming from an established and progressively minded developer, it felt lackluster. The ability to compare scores against friends is nice, but the thrill of competition and achievements will wear off quick when there is no real variety within the game. Honestly, this game feels so generic, it could be mistaken for 100s of other mediocre apps residing in the dark depths of the Google Play store. However, some people out there like a cheap (or in this case, free) little game, requiring very little investment, that gives them something to mess around with while waiting in the dentist’s office. If that’s all you want for you entertainment, then iBasket will definitely fill that void.