A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
It's not overt, but this basketball game has a positive message about teamwork, athleticism and codes of conduct. The MyCAREER mode lets you make choices, sometimes moral ones, which could affect the outcome of the story.
Positive Role Models
The basketball players from the NBA are mostly positive role models for kids. Many come from modest backgrounds and have become successful after years of hard work -- so the video game versions of these star players might also be considered good role models. There are exceptions, including recent items in the news about players ejected from games, fined for violence, inappropriate gestures or profanity, and more. The game also lets you create your own character in the MyCAREER mode and make decisions to could change the story.
The game is diverse as the actual NBA, which is predominantly black (roughly 75 percent). But this is good for persons of color who might feel they're not as well represented in other games. The MyCAREER mode also lets you create a character from scratch, including skin color, eye shape and color, facial hair, body weight options, and more.
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Ease of Play
This Arcade Edition version of NBA 2K22 can be played with fingertips on the iPhone or iPad's touchscreen, but it also supports an optional game controller, as well. It doesn't take too long to learn how to perform basic and more advanced moves. You can practice at any time on your private court in the MyCOURT mode.
Products & Purchases
While not as much as its console counterpart, NBA 2K22 Arcade Edition does show some brands on the players, the court (lined with a State Farm banner, for example), and in the stadiums -- but mostly of the NBA logo and team names, names of the facilities, and apparel worn by the players (such as Nike jerseys). This Apple Arcade version of the game does not allow microtransactions or in-game advertisements.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know NBA 2K22 Arcade Edition is a basketball game exclusively for Apple Arcade. It's similar to NBA 2K22 for consoles and NBA 2K Mobile Basketball Game for iOS/Android, but it's only playable through the $4.99/month Apple Arcade subscription service, which is available for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac. As with all other Apple Arcade titles that do not allow in-app purchases or advertisements, NBA 2K22 Arcade Edition doesn't contain any purchasable micro-transactions. This game doesn't contain any controversial or inappropriate content, although players will see some logos on uniforms, arenas, and on facilities.
Is It Any Good?
This is a great game, especially for NBA fans, that gets it mostly right, and adds a lot more content than last year's version. For example, In NBA 2K22 Arcade Edition, Association mode is new this year, which allows you to play as General Manager of your favorite NBA franchise, and build your own NBA dream teams. Like NBA 2K22's Franchise mode, your goal is to manage trades, scout and sign free agents, handle your team's finances, and aim to take your team to an NBA championship. Being able to do this on your iPhone or iPad is just plain cool, not to mention all the solo and multiplayer modes to indulge in. Association gives you so many options, like Season and Quarter length, Fantasy draft settings (or none at all), trade deadlines and much more. Along with Association, MyCAREER is where you'll spend most of your time, and this time, you can create multiple profiles and characters. Controls have been tightened over last year, for both touch and gamepad support, including the addition of the abovementioned "Casual" option that simplifies the offense and defensive moves for younger or more novice players (by letting the game's A.I. do some of the heavy lifting). Either way, sinking three pointers is incredibly gratifying.
This year's game is also the first to offer MyCOURT, to practice hoops on your own private court. Like last year, you can enjoy cross-platform support through Apple's iCloud, so you can mix and match who is on iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV (unlike NBA 2K22 for consoles, which does not support cross-play). There isn't much to complain about with NBA 2K22 Arcade Edition. While not too different in the gameplay and production values over NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition, it plays smoothly and looks great. The music soundtrack is perfect, and there are several modes to indulge in. The only issue is questionable A.I. here and there, when playing a single-player mode, such as players who might perform the odd strange move (like pass instead of shoot) or a rival player who repeatedly makes some impossible shots, but overall these aren't eye-rolling issues that mar the experience. If you're an Apple Arcade subscriber and a sports fan, this is a no-brainer. It's impressive that NBA 2K22 Arcade Edition packs so much good content into a portable game.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.