As this game shows rather clearly, a puzzle game is only good if it's, well, puzzling. In NBA Ball Stars, you play basketball, except that unlike most basketball video games, you don't move players on the court, pressing buttons when you want them to shoot or pass. Instead, you're presented with a board full of colorful gems, and have to tap on ones that are both in clusters and match the color of a player. By doing so, you improve their chances at having a better shot when you're on offense, or blocking them when you're on defense, while also charging up their special skills. Frequently, that's just in time, too, as players are not only about to take a shot, or block one, but you'll find that it's the end of the game, and the score is really close, so they're going to shoot even if you don't do anything.
While this may sound like something fun to fiddle with when your team calls a time out during an actual basketball game, there's sadly nothing puzzling about the puzzle part of this title. Unlike similar games, you don't have to draw from one gem to another of the same color, or really do anything save for tapping one gem that's in a cluster of them. Sure, tapping large clusters does create special pieces, which can, for instance, take out a row or column. And yes, some knowledge of basketball strategy is helpful, like when you level up enough and can switch the formation from "Big Man" to "5 Out." But since the basic gameplay offers as little challenge as, say, LeBron James would have if he played one-on-one against a four-year-old, NBA Ball Stars is ultimately less fun than a commercial break.