A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that NBA Playgrounds is a downloadable arcade-style, two-on-two basketball game. While the matches can be extremely competitive, the game's atmosphere and fun style encourage teamwork and sportsmanship. There's no inappropriate content, although there are plans for additional downloadable content featuring NBA legends and teams, all of whom have their own merchandise and memorabilia that can be bought and used in the game.
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- Kids say
What's it about?
NBA PLAYGROUNDS brings basketball fun back to the streets for some high-flying, over-the-top, two-on-two street-level arcade fun. Leaving behind the hardwood of the big stadiums in favor of the blacktop streets of the neighborhood courts, players slip into the high-tops of their favorite NBA superstars, past and present, as they dribble, pass, jump, and, of course, dunk on their friends in both local and online play. Unlock and collect all your favorite NBA stars and teams, build up your skills, and learn the hundreds of unique dunks and moves toearn your crown as king of the playgrounds.
Is it any good?
This arcade-like basketball game may be fun with friends, but if you're playing by yourself, it's a bland experience. Still, most of the fun in this arcade sports game comes from watching the outrageous moves your players pull off. Whether you’re pulling off impressive picks, tossing an alley-oop to your teammate, or jamming the ball with an authoritative dunk, you'll fill up a gauge to earn a "lottery pick" play. These random power-ups can make shots unblockable, be worth extra points, or create other game-changing opportunities. These can be a blessing or a curse, depending on which side of the game you're on. On the one hand, it can be frustrating to do everything right and still watch an opponent pummel you due to a series of lucky lottery picks. On the other hand, it helps to know that you're never more than a couple trick shots away from making an impressive comeback. Plus, in multiplayer matches, filling up that lottery gauge is a great incentive to work together as a team.
The real question is, under all the flashy moves and gimmicky "lottery picks," does NBA Playgrounds really have much to offer? That's going to depend on what you're looking for. The arcade style and controls are easy to pick up and play, making the game easily accessible to players of any skill level. Plus, the two-on-two gameplay makes for quick matches, perfect for when you want to have some fast and frantic fun with friends. Those looking to go solo, though, are likely to quickly get bored with the game. The main single-player Tournament mode quickly gets repetitive, and it's not long before you feel like you're just going through the motions, especially when teaming with and playing against the AI. Worse, you're forced to grind your way through these matches to earn packs and unlock new players. With friends, NBA Playgrounds is a great sports night waiting to happen, but play alone and this arcade b-baller can't help but come up a bit flat.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about competition and sportsmanship. What are some ways to enjoy competition without getting carried away? What are some positive ways for kids to react whether they win or lose a competition?
Talk about teamwork and communication. What are some of the traits that make up a good team? How can good communication between teammates and working together make a winning combination?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Mad Dog Games, LLC.
- Release date: May 9, 2017
- Genre: Sports
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Great Boy Role Models
- ESRB rating: E for No Descriptions
- Last updated: March 16, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.