Basketball Mobile Games

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Basketball comes to Mobiles: Don't Pretend It's Not Funny

It takes a bigger man than I known to have a little chuckle at the fact that the technical term for the legal advancement of a player in any given direction in many sports is called dribbling. You can dribble in football, field hockey, and even in water polo. Hell, you can dribble in these sports while the children of negligent parent spectators are dribbling uncontrollably on themselves as they watch the big sportsman dribble. With so much potential hilarity in any one sport, it's a surprise anyone gets anything done. Still, there's no sport associated as strongly with dribbling as that of basketball, and now thanks in part to Moore's law and also to the fierce competition between the big smartphone manufacturers, we can now enjoy dribbling as we commute to work. I'm not talking about poor mouth control here however, but rather am referring to the fact that you can have quite the basketball match on your smartphone at any time you want. This is our pick of the big scorers in the basketball game arena.

Real Basketball

Real Basketball - As real as a basketball-shooting simulation can get: View 3

It seems that all of the major sporting titles with the word "Real" preceding them are missing the point a bit. I mean, how real can a sport be if it's being played on your phone, by you, a non-sports star with 5 other apps running in the background? Still, though it isn't technically real (it is by definition a simulation), Real Basketball isn't a half bad attempt at bringing the meat of the sport (i.e. the shooting) to the palm of your hand by allowing you to shoot the ball on a phone that is, well, in the palm of your hand. With a supremely easy and relatively realistic swipe-to-shoot mechanism, Real Basketball immerses you in the heat of the action utilising the touch screen of your mobile device to give you full control over each shot.

This swipe-to-shoot mechanism isn't anything revolutionary; Flick Kick Football is just one of many titles that possess the same sort of shooting mechanic, but that doesn't make it any less entertaining to play or any less smooth to use. You can perform straight-swipe shots and bank shots, as well as swiping horizontally to perform a dummy in order to fool any defenders that may be attempting to block your glory. The power bar on the left of the screen indicates the intensity of your shot; the larger the distance between you and the basket, the more power you'll need. Multipliers are scored by making bank shots where the ball hits the backboard first; the number your score will be multiplied by appears on this backboard.

Real Basketball is more than just a swipe-shoot-repeat sort of deal however: it's got a fair few game modes to get stuck into. Single Player Mode is split into a variety games where the format differs slightly, but the core gameplay remains exactly the same. You can enter into a tournament where you must score a minimum number of points; Arcade Mode starts you with five balls and you play from there; Time Attack Mode also allows you to test yourself against the clock. You've even got a multiplayer so you can go up against real opponents.

The only downside to the game is that accessing some content requires a lot of in-game currency and some features cannot be accessed without purchasing them with real money. Secondly, this isn't a game that simulates basketball as a sport in its entirety: it just simulates the shooting element of the sport. Still, Real Basketball is hands down the most enjoyable basketball title out there, and one whose flaws are overshadowed by how addictive it is.

Download Real Basketball

Jam City

Jam City Mobile App Game

If Real Basketball is the straight-laced and fairly uptight office worker that gets all his work done on time and of fantastic quality, Jam City is the more laid-back employee that turns his work in late, but does so with supreme style whilst looking cool every step of the way. There's no swipe and shoot here: just open the app, turn your phone to the side, and be prepared to engage in some arcade-style basketball action where you can actually get stuck into a few matches as well as make some killer shots with quantities of style that not even Lebron James has in his entire range of kicks.

The game has a few modes to get stuck into including team match, hotspots, and practice mode. The former and latter of these modes are self-explanatory but hotspots is quite interesting, requiring you to score a basket by leaping from or over one of the star-shapes spots on the court. All of the action is joystick-controlled, with jumping and shooting performed by pressing and releasing the button on the right. The most impressive thing about this game? That would be the special dunk shots that can be performed after filling up your dunk meter. These shots include one-handed slams that set the basket on fire and a whole load more. You can also win various items such as shoes and items of clothing to wear in order to boost your performance. The game also has an online mode, making Jam City one of the best basketball games out there, and its 3d cartoon-like style makes it all the more unique.

Download Jam City

Big Win Basketball

Big Win Baseball Mobile App Game

Hothead Games have an impressive CV when it comes to sports games, and Big Win Basketball is a stylish addition to their roster. The game's focus differs to that of games like Jam City in that it provides a more management/coaching-oriented experienced as opposed to being in direct control of the on-court action. This game is all about giving you the opportunity to train up your basketball team by playing them in short matches, as well as integrating a card-based system. These "impact cards" can be used during matches to enhance your team or give them temporary move skills such as a swatter that allows you to better block shots.

Big Win Basketball's gameplay is in itself fairly standard and not particularly innovate, but it teams up with the retro-feeling aesthetics to make for quite a charming little title where progress is dictated to some extent by in-app purchases. It is available for both iOS and Android.

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NBA General Manager 2014

NBA General Manager 2014 Mobile App Game

The whole last not being least sentiment unfortunately doesn't apply here as NBA General Manager 2014 fails to make the shot, even from right next to the basket. Though one would expect an officially-licensed game like this to pull out all the stops to impress, it's really just a standard number-crunching management game with not much special to offer.

The game may appeal to fans of managerial games however. You get to hire various members of staff such as head coaches, manage your team with quite a bit of autonomy, and can even customise and train players up to make them as good as you possibly can with as much effort as you wish to put in. Gameplay is decent but lacks any flair in presentation, and because the game's all about numbers, it simply becomes a battle of the stats when it comes to who's going to emerge victorious in the end. NBA General Manager 2014 could have been a much better game, but instead it sits on the bottom of this list of otherwise fantastic basketball games.

Download NBA General Manager 2014