NBA Playgrounds is one of those downloadable games that was watched with some interest in recent weeks. The first trailer that appeared in the title invited to remember arcade-style sports games, such as the mythical NBA Jam and the fact of having the license of the great American league also pointed to good manners. Finally, Saber Interactive published this week on


PC , Playstation 4 , Xbox One and Switch this two against two street, casual and simple title that offers nothing more and nothing less than what we expected, although it falls short in ambition and mechanics. It’s Showtime.

The NBA Playgrounds proposal is clear from the start. Once you start the game you open some envelopes that some players come out to be able to use. These have different categories, they can be active or they can be some legends, and we make up a team with the coupl


e that best feels us looking sideways at the statistics they have. We say sideways because they are not especially decisive . Done this – the envelopes are won by winning tournaments and rising in level, without micro-payments – we started with the exhibition, the only unlocked start mode.


That’s where the basis of the title is taught. During matches of a few minutes we played two against two with some peculiar rules. The controls are divided into shots, passes, dunks, alley-oops, elbow to protect the ball, ask for a block and the sprint. In defense w


e can try to steal , push, stop and run . With this cast of mechanics are two things clear: we have no referee, so the blows and fouls are the order of the day; and the show is greatly enhanced. The mates are the real protagonists of the game.

As you can see from his visual section -head-busting players- we are facing a basketball arcade that seeks to have fun in a spectacular way and


without too much depth. The mates are generated with impossible jumps, the Alley-oops are marked with a slow-time and the dribblings and feints -with right stick- make fast movements, almost impossible in real life. It is i


mportant to emphasize that being the mates one of the star elements of the game, they are not executable automatically. Let me explain: when we start the action of the mate we have to stop pressing the shot button at the right moment; if it is not done lik


e that, the ball will not enter the basket. It is something that is appreciated, as it requires the player who also has to control the plugs and blows of the defenses to prevent it. The same goes for thealley – oops , if we do not calculate well when passing the ball at the right moment of the partner’s jump, we will fail.

NBA Playgrounds (NSW) screenshot

On the contrary, there are other mechanics that do not work so well. One is that of the triples, excessively simple to score when it is not a type of game -the street basketball- that lends itself to it. The other are the plugs and the rebounds. There are certain inaccuracies in that mechanics that makes it difficult to go rebound a lot, since we jump and move towards the ball but


we do not get it right. This is noticed when we go to the basket, the ball is fired and we see that the control is not at all prices when trying to hit where the ball falls. At least the enemy AI alone accustoms him to pass.

To all this we add some elements that are worth taking into account. We have a spectacular bar that is filled by doing actions, and once to stop, allows to have enhancers of all kinds. Electric shots that do not fail, double score in dunks, speed boost, cut the opponent’s shot seconds, shots with multipliers from anywhere, etc. It is a bit complicated to understand the o


peration of this bar, which sometimes empty for no apparent reason (fill is filled with locks, alley-oops, thefts, etc.), but the mechanics itself provid


es intensity: it forces us to quickly manage the attacks to use the power-ups before they run out. All this is not missing other options such as extra points to score first in a game or the perfect shots (three and matt) that give us more points for doing it, although they have a very demanding timing .

NBA Playgrounds (NSW) screenshot

The games go solidly without much fanfare. Especially against the CPU , the feeling that we have is that there is something of a trap. We have a tournament mode where we go to different tracks, win elimination matches and reach the final. We can walk around winning easily and suddenly, in a final, we are rivals who do not miss a single shot, whether or not they are f



ree or we plug them ‘in your face’. It does not leave the feeling that there is an AI that progresses in difficulty but, simply, abuses in some moments a percentage of unreal success. As we advance in the game we are unlocking players, there are more than 150, as well as power-ups and new game courts.

An online with room for improvement

One of the most important hooks that NBA Playgrounds has to convince is its multiplayer. At the local level we find a proposal that allows you to enjoy games of up to four players, two per team. It is the best way to have fun with the game, since the control of both


players alone sometimes does not allow us to cover or defend as we would like. The problem comes in online mode: it turns out that at the moment we c


an only do one-on-one games, and for the moment there is no option to invite friends. Something that is expected to be added soon, according to Saber Interactive. The online gaming system has its markers where we go up as we play and win.

NBA Playgrounds (NSW) screenshot

A review of Switch is missing

In this sense, it is important to emphasize that the Switch version comes with some other limitation. Probably because the port was decided later, this edition does not have online mode although the tab is in the menu and it has to be activated soon. In addition, there


are some elements that can be improved. For example, the incredible buzz of the vibration at certain times, some of them without coming to mind the action


of the game, which is also working to improve it. What Switch does have is the possibility of playing locally with a joy-con for each player, something that facilitates multiplayer games in the same console.

Both Switch and other platforms, the great attraction at the moment are the local games. If you have the opportunity to play four at a time, the e

xperience improves and much. Simple to play – anyone can begin to master it minimally – and with hilarious situations from the first minute.