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NBA Hotshot

For: iPhone
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Havin' hoops

Product: NBA Hotshot (iPhone) | Developer: Freeverse | Publisher: Freeverse | Format: iPhone | Genre: Arcade, Sports | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
NBA Hotshot (iPhone) iPhone, thumbnail 1
The sweet spot of iPhone gaming is little and often.

To be honest, that should be the starting point of any good game - think Mario's jump or firing the shotgun in any first-person shooter. Like a lab mouse tapping a button to get a jolt of electricity directly to its pleasure centre, an action we enjoy so much we immediately want to do it again is a powerful force.

The great thing about iPhone games compared to the Marios and Halos of the world, however, is that you don't need much more than little and often. No wacky backstory or less popular brother or princess to save. Just the pleasurable action, over and over.

Hotshot with hoops

Which is exactly what you get in NBA Hotshot. It's about the simplest game you can imagine.

There's a hoop and four basketballs. All you do is select one and flick it with your finger. You score a point if you get a basket, two points if you use a ball when it's flashing. Then select another ball and do it all over again.

That's where the pleasure comes from. Thanks to the game's honed physics (it's slightly too frictionless to be realistic, better described as being game-centric), it feels so nice as you loft a ball, giving it a bit of afterspin as a flourish, that you immediately want to do it again.

There are some game elements at play, of course. There's Classic mode, where you have 40 seconds to score as many points as you can. After 20 seconds, the hoop moves backwards to a new position for variety and to make it slightly harder.

More interesting is Three Strikes mode, in which you have as long as possible to score as many points as you can, within the limit of three misses.

Making a trick shot

The contrast between the two works well. In Classic mode it's all about firing off shots with haste, whereas Three Strikes is more about building up a steady rhythm. Personally, I think it's purposefully been made a bit easier to score hoops in comparison to Classic as a way to encourage you.

Anyhow, points accumulated in either of these two ways enable you to unlock virtual prizes, which consist of items such as hot dogs and drinks, and, more symbolically, branded balls from NBA teams that you can use in-game. There's also integration with the Plus+ social gaming network so you can see where you rank compared to the rest of the world.

I should also point out that the game's graphics and audio are also fairly polished, although it's hardly Peggle in terms of its celebratory excess. There's a five-player multiplayer mode should that sort of thing interest you, too.

Still, even for someone who only has a vague inkling of Kobe and hopes never to watch a game of basketball in his life, by far and away the point of NBA Hotshot is the sheer pleasure of flicking those ball into the basket. And then doing it all over again. And again....
NBA Hotshot
Reviewer photo
Jon Jordan | 7 January 2010
In many ways a very simple game, the tactile pleasure of flicking basketballs into a hoops makes NBA Hotshot a joyous experience
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