NBA 2K12 for iPhone Review
As the NBA’s billionaire owners and millionaire players continue to argue over money with no end in sight, the league’s fans are left without any professional basketball to turn to. Though it may seem like a poor consolation prize, NBA 2K12 is still coming out this year for all of the platforms you would expect. This year, 2K has taken their award-winning basketball experience on the go with an iPhone version. Will this portable solution be enough to sooth your desire for an actual NBA season?
NBA 2K12 on the iPhone tries really hard to cram the basketball simulation experience onto a portable platform. If you wanted to, you could play a full 82-game season with 12-minute quarters and take an active role in managing your roster from a GM’s perspective. For me, I just want to play some basketball on the go.
I loved NBA Jam on the iPhone because that game fit the pick-up-and-play nature of the platform. This game, by nature of it being a basketball simulator, doesn’t work as well as a pick-up-and-play type of game. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re really craving a more realistic experience, just go into your games knowing that there aren’t many places you can cleanly stop your game.
Having played NBA Live on the iPhone in the past, this is definitely a step up from that. The game does look noticeably better and features far fewer bugs than the EA equivalent. Most notably, the game does force you to play it like a real game of basketball. If you try to rely on your star player and just have them run to the hoop on every single play, the AI will shut you down. For a portable experience, this feels pretty good.
Unfortunately, the package does have a few kinks. There are two control types: one of which gives you on-screen buttons and the other is billed as “one-finger control”. The former has some issues with the button design and layout, as I felt their placement and size made it more difficult to trigger actions than it should be. As for the one-finger controls, they’re virtually useless. They never gave me the sense that I was controlling anything.
There are a few technical hiccups here and there, though none as heinous as the Gatorade mini-game. As someone who works in the advertising industry, I’m usually not one to cry foul about in-game advertising as long as it makes sense within the context of the game. On the surface, Gatorade being involved in a basketball game is kosher in my books. However, during my first game, NBA 2K12 stopped my game at three different points and presented a Gatorade drinking mini-game, which I could not skip. Not only is this a dumb way of forcing consumers to interact with your product, but the mini-game doesn’t even work. On all three occasions, I followed the on-screen instructions and my guy just sat there. I really hope he wasn’t thirsty.
Although NBA 2K12 may be the only basketball simulation available this year on the iPhone, it is at the very least a good one. For the most part, the experience is solid and should appease the basketball purist on the go. Assuming that 2K comes back with a 2013 iteration, I’d love to see a bit more polish and a bit less poorly done in-game advertising.