I’m still not sure what to make of the whole Xbox Live Indie Game scene. Sure, the games are dirt cheap, but honestly, the majority of them are shockingly bad. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few diamonds in the rough (Cthulu Saves the World is especially fantastic) but for the most part, you’re getting exactly what you pay for……..or not if you consider the fact that you can get largely superior content at an even cheaper prices on iOS.
Personal issues with Xbox Live Indie Games aside though, if you insist on getting a new game for your Xbox 360 but don’t want to hand over any serious cash, you could do worse than picking up Avatar Street Basketball 2. Now, before you go running off to download this bad boy, let me make one thing very clear……this isn’t a very good game. It’s actually quite bad to be honest, but for 80MS Points, or 70 odd pence in old money, Avatar Street Basketball 2 does have enough in the way of charm to make it just about worth a punt.
The thing is, despite Avatar Street Basketball 2’s best efforts, basketball has always lent itself well to videogames. Heck, even after developers, Bionic-Thumbs, went and did away with actual competition, the simple pleasure of shooting a basketball at a hoop is still strangely compelling. There are actually five game modes to get through including Free Style, Survivor, Master, Obstacles and Bull’s-Eye but each one amounts to just about the same thing – stand on a certain spot and shoot the basketball.
Amazingly enough, Bionic-Thumbs couldn’t even get that totally right. With a single button press used for shooting, you’re likely to spend most of your time throwing the ball two inches in front of you or twenty metres past the basket thanks to the game’s extreme sensitivity to basic inputs – believe me, you’re likely to come away from quite a few sessions with zero percent accuracy, regardless of where you are shooting from on court. In fact, you’re probably better off shooting from the other end of the court as shooting from right under the basket is all but impossible….lay up you say? Yeah, you can’t do that.
As bad as things are though, struggling with the game’s awkward sensitivity and suspect physics actually becomes a strangely compelling experience after a while. Rather than giving up, I found myself working around the game’s faults and somehow gaining a fair degree of entertainment from the product in the process.
This is all helped by the game’s solid visuals that include an array of themed locations ranging from Japan and Omaha Beach to hospitals and graveyards, all of which are rendered with a fair degree of quality thanks to the game’s bold colour scheme and cartoon- style design. Of course, as the title suggests, it’s your Avatar running around these themed courts shooting hoops like a blind, one armed chimp which, in the company of friends, can be rather amusing, thus helping to drag Avatar Street Basketball 2 into the so bad it’s good category.
Avatar Street Basketball 2 is a bad game, but one that can still be enjoyed if you are willing to submit to the sensitive controls and wonky physics. It’s a good looking game with a fair bit of content for 80MS Points. Sure, all the modes essentially add up to the same experience, but get a few friends involved and you might be surprised just how addictive an experience it can become.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox 360 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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