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NBA JAM by EA SPORTS, the classic 2-on-2 arcade basketball game, has been brought to iOS by Electronic Arts and is now available from the app store. A faithful interpretation of the exhilarating game we remember from our youth, NBA JAM brings all the sound, fury, and raw excitement that one can expect from a manic, larger-than-life game of monster dunks and fiery hoops.


  • Awesome arcade action
  • Great graphics with recognizable player faces
  • Terrific audio with Tim Kitzrow’s signature play-calling
  • Easy-to-use controls
  • Campaign mode and challenges to unlock hidden players and cheats


  • Lack of multiplayer functionality

NBA JAM contains two modes: Play Now to get you right into the action and Classic Campaign for methodically picking apart 2-man teams from the entire league with the added bonus of unlocking hidden teams, players, and privileges. All 30 teams are present with a selection of current stars and locked stars from days gone by. Completing Challenges allows you to unlock some of these players, as well as special cheats and balls. There are 4 difficulty levels to choose from, giving you the opportunity to tailor the game to your abilities. Gameplay is fast and furious, as you take control of one of the two players on your team. The CPU-controlled player handles his business while you handle yours, though you can call for passes and alley-oops as you see fit. Quarters last 3 minutes each, so games last less than 15 minutes altogether. The focus of the game is on dunking in the most acrobatic and exciting fashion possible. You can also pull up for jumpers and lay-ins, too, but the real rim-rocking, backboard-shattering fun is in the dunking. Catch a hot streak and you’ll literally set the rim on fire, which also improves your accuracy and ability to remain on your hot streak.

Graphically, the crisp look, recognizable player faces, and smooth animations make for a very appealing and familiar style. The soundtrack contains upbeat music, but the real steal is that Tim Kitzrow reprises his role as the announcer extraordinaire, with a ton of awesome catch phrases. There are 2 control schemes, one with a button focus and the other with a gesture focus. A virtual pad on the left side controls movement, while context-specific buttons on the right control passing/stealing/shoving, turbo boost, and shooting/blocking/dunking/alley-ooping. Spin moves can be achieved by shaking the device. Gesture controls use similar mechanics for moving, but all other functions utilize swipes on the right side of the screen for shooting, rebounding, shoving, and spinning. Tapping the screen will pass the ball or steal, and holding the screen gives you a turbo boost. Shaking the device allows you to spin and throw elbows. Both input methods work well and give you the opportunity to focus on the fun gameplay without worrying about how to perform the maneuvers.

Replay value is great, as NBA JAM hits that spot in our brains that craves more and more. The Challenges act as an achievement system and the Campaign should take some time to complete. Unlocking legendary players and fun cheats also gives you good incentive to keep playing. It’s rare that a game comes along that so completely enthralls us, but NBA JAM has done just that. Our only wish is that some type of multiplayer functionality will be included in the future so that we can team up with others to throw down on the court. Regardless, the game is still extremely solid as is and a terrific investment for $4.99. NBA JAM is a 5-Dimple dunkfest that’s hot, hot, hot!

NBA JAM by EA SPORTS Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2011-02-11T03:27:30+00:00 rating 5.0 out of 5

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