Top Critic Average
NBA Playgrounds is a slightly less flashy, but more skillful version of NBA Jam that should keep fans of the formula very happy. A must buy for party gamers everywhere.
NBA Playgrounds holds it's own in the world of arcade basketball. It's challenging and very fun. Some gameplay could be tweaked and the addition of 4 players to it's online mode would really make NBA Playgrounds shine. As is, expect to have a blast playing as your favorite NBA players from yesterday and today.
Fussy shooting mechanics and some missing modes neutralize the overall experience to a degree, but the game's strong moment-to-moment gameplay keeps it afloat. With enough practice and patience (and patching), Playgrounds could be a perennial crowd-pleaser.
What you have here is a fast and fluid and for the most part fun two vs two arcade style basketball game for up to 4 players. Like Rocket League games are fast, with a 10 minute time period though you can tweak settings via the option menu if you so desire.
NBA Playgrounds doesn't try to hide its NBA Jams influences in the least, and that's just fine, because this arcade basketball title is one Jam fans and newcomers will both appreciate.
NBA Playgrounds follows in the footsteps of games like NFL Blitz, FIFA Street, and (of course) NBA Jam. It takes a simple premise — over-the-top arcade sports — and nearly perfects it. It misses an easy layup by excluding invitation options online, but hopefully the promised patch arrives to bring this game closer to an all-time great. Everything else, from the aesthetics and the music to the gameplay and the special wrinkle of wallet-free card collecting, is an uncontested slam dunk.
While it may not have the finesse of other NBA licensed games, it manages to be a structurally solid pick-up and play street basketball game with a lot of licensed players to choose from.
This is a fully licensed two-on-two NBA arcade title that does most things right. It'll be interesting to see what's in store for fans of the game via updates, patches, and DLC.
In summary, NBA Playgrounds is a really fun and quirky title. The lack of online play at launch is a big omission and although the game lacks replayability, the arcade aesthetics, easy to use controls and whirlwind gameplay make this game extremely enjoyable in short bursts. I found the game better on handheld rather than playing off a TV, due to its ‘on the move' vibe, and in that respect, it's undoubtedly a nice game to just unwind with and enjoy for what it is.
NBA Playgrounds is not the new NBA Jam replacement. It adds just enough complication to the basic mechanics so it isn't a game that anyone can pick up and play without experiencing one or two matches. The game is fun once you get used to the quirks, and even if the roster unlocking process isn't optimal, it ensures you'll have a reason to keep coming back. For arcade sports fans, NBA Playgrounds is worth a look.
NBA Playgrounds isn't as deep as NBA Street or as beautifully simple as NBA Jam, but the gameplay is still well paced and the controls are still tight. It mixes this gameplay with cartoonish qualities and a retro style that fits an arcade basketball game, and earning new packs of random players is always rewarding. That said, I've taken some bad beats from the random power-ups system, and the online options are slimmer than I'd like. But as long as Saber Interactive delivers on its post-release updates, Playgrounds will have enough going for it to keep me coming back for more.
For $20, NBA Playgrounds has a lot to offer, especially if you have a few friends who remember the glory days of NBA Jam. While it doesn’t quite capture lighting in a bottle, it makes a valiant effort, and deserves a look.
Playgrounds does alright for itself coming off the bench, hopefully we see Saber continue to refine this and perhaps we'll see some kind of semi-annualized franchise here that gets progressively better.
NBA Playgrounds is not perfect, at this moment the game could offer us a deep variety of game modes and there are some mechanics like precision in perfect shots that are difficult to understand. On the other side, is a very fun experience when you are challenging other player on your own platform or in the competitive online matches.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
A bit more demanding than usual, NBA Playgrounds fits in the right line of NBA Jam and NBA Street, without a constant comparison. The game may be arcade in looks and gameplay, but it tries to compensate for a slightly more demanding timed control schemes, which might not be fun for all. Too bad that the solo as the multiplayer part have been shipped almost half-baked at launch, and I really hope that the updates and patch will be coming fast to keep the momentum.
NBA Playgrounds is a good modern take on the old-school arcade basketball game genre. It brings enough new ideas to the court to keep things feeling fresh, but at heart, it still retains the charm and accessibility that made NBA Jam such a beloved franchise. There are a few kicks with the shooting mechanics and rebounding is less than ideal, but the gameplay is strong enough in other areas to ensure it's still an overall slam dunk.
The handful of complaints I have about NBA Playgrounds don't really take away from fun this game offers as a whole. There's definitely good times to be had, the progression system is worthwhile, and online can be incredibly competitive despite the potential for connection issues. NBA Playgrounds is the new king of the cartoon court, even if there isn't much competition anymore.
NBA Playgrounds were quite good game which will be able to tighten as the fans of serious simulation, and people who have never played virtual basketball at all. If you are not indifferent to arcade basketball, then this game is definitely worth your attention, but if you are an owner of Nintendo Switch, in the best case, you will have to wait for the next patches and fixes the above problems.
Review in Russian | Read full review
The debut installment of NBA Playgrounds gets the fundamentals right, but fails to impress elsewhere. From the shockingly feature poor online play to a single-player campaign that can be completed in a few hours, there just isn't enough content to support the gameplay. It's exciting to think about what a potential sequel could offer, but what's currently being sold is a good, but definitely not great, arcade game that doesn't manage to outdo its fantastic predecessors.
NBA Playgrounds goes all in on the arcade style, the charisma and the fame power of the NBA stars, and it almost hits the jackpot. Some minor problems prevent the game from reaching its full potential, but if there's a sequel planned, there's a solid groundwork to begin with.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
My one gripe with the game is that every now and then, the controls would feel off. I'd be playing and doing great, and then the opposing team would steal the ball and my player was way out there off screen and wouldn't run fast enough to defend. The blocking is also another issue since it didn't trigger properly even after I followed the instructions perfectly. Hopefully the game is patched soon to improve these two things.
NBA Playgrounds is fun, of that there is no doubt. It’s just that the fun doesn’t last all that long. After playing a few matches I simply had no motivation to have another without taking a break from it first. If you’re a huge basketball fan and you’re planning on playing a lot of local multiplayer, it’ll be far more appealing to you. If all you want is a game that will ease the itch for an over the top street basketball game in the same vein as NBA Jam then this will satisfy it somewhat. Just don’t expect it to become your favourite ever basketball game, because it has some way to go.
With the latest update, NBA Playgrounds becomes an enjoyable arcade-style basketball game that is not as arcade-heavy as most of us thought it would be, but that is definitely a much, much better game than it was at launch. With the first massive patch out of the way, the game is probably going to get more patches for the rest of the year to add more players, more courts to play in, and hopefully, even more, improvements to the game's performance and resolution. If you want a basketball game to play at home or on the go, then you can certainly give this one a go.
Despite of having some gameplay issues, NBA Playgrounds is a very entertaining and funny game that will make us play for hours thanks to its 2 vs. 2 matches.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
NBA Playgrounds is a flawed game, but a fun one. Single player modes are playable but can feel like a bit of a slog for all but the most hardcore fans. Multiplayer fares much better, delivering an enjoyable local multiplayer experience that we're hopeful can be recreated well online. If you're thinking of picking this one up, then, we recommend you do your homework and proceed with caution; perhaps wait until the online multiplayer is live, too.
NBA Playgrounds gets so much of the setup right, often reawakening the spirit of the NBA Jam series, but it fumbles some of the finer details with needless complications and lacklustre AI. As a solo experience there are much better ways to spend your money, but when it comes to multiplayer NBA Playgrounds is so very nearly shooting nothing but net.
NBA Playground feels straight out of the 90s arcade scene, with crazy maneuvers, and fast-paced two-on-two NBA action. The dueling commentators do make the occasional cringe worthy joke, that sadly will get repeated throughout the match based on the players competing. Saber has proven they are willing to improve the online experience and with regular content updates, NBA Playgrounds could keep fans clamoring for this type of arcade sports game playing for quite some time.
NBA Playgrounds is a fun addition to the arcade basketball genre, especially on the Nintendo Switch. The game isn't without some flaws though. The AI is unfair and the shooting mechanics are very tough to master. Releasing the game without its online mode is also a strange choice. That being said, the game offers more than enough to allow fans of NBA Jam and NBA Street to have a good time. Let's just hope that Saber will soon fix the game's issues.
Review in French | Read full review
NBA Playgrounds scratches an itch I didn't know I had. Growing up in arcades I spent many a quarter on games like NBA Jam. Outside of the failed attempt by EA a few years back to resurrect the franchise, we really haven't had a good alternative. Playgrounds fills that void nicely, even with its shortcomings. Anyone wondering if it had to be the shoes would do well to check it out.
NBA Playgrounds feels like an experiment to bring the arcade basketball style back into action. It might have an enjoyable gameplay system that is casual friendly but it lacks in content and gameplay modes, not to mention it is simply not fun to play against the dull A.I controlled opponents.
NBA Playgrounds takes inspired elements from its predecessors and re-purposes them for the current generation. While it's far from perfect, the game's mechanical inconsistencies are easily outshined by its simplicity and precision. Not as beginner-friendly as expected, but addicting fun for the dedicated player.
NBA Playgrounds is a game that is instantly playable - but the more you chip away at it, the more you're disappointed by the lack of content at release. It can be fantastic to pick up and play when you’re with a group of friends, but the lack of online multiplayer at launch means you’ll find yourself enjoying Playgrounds less and less very quickly.
NBA Playgrounds aims to bring the best elements of NBA Jam into the modern era of basketball, but falls short in some areas. The core of the high-octane gameplay is there, but it's not enough to push past all of the game's shortcomings.
If you like NBA Street and NBA Jam, you will enjoy NBA Playgrounds. Just be warned though, that unless you happen to be lucky with your location and can join random opponents in the online matchmaking, you are going to be playing this by yourself until future updates expand the game.
If I had to compare this game to current NBA teams, it would be Minnesota Timberwolves. They've got bright future and promising players, they showed what they can do in last season, but... it wasn't good enough.
Review in Polish | Read full review
NBA Playgrounds is a game that you will undoubtedly enjoy playing better against your friends than against AI, if you are a BasketBall fan and want to test your skills against your friends give it a try, you may be interested.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
Bland and generic against the computer, Playgrounds is infinitely better with friends. Priced competitively at around the $30 AUD mark, depending on console, it's worth a bounce if you go in with your expectations set at the right point.
The smattering of flaws aside, NBA Playgrounds manages to be a fun multiplayer street hoops experience that is at least partially successful in recapturing the charm of NBA Jam. Player decks and lottery pick meter are subtle but effective elements to help give the game a bit of its own character.
... the apparent lack of content paired with the difficulty spike in the solo Tournament mode means NBA Playgrounds is just two big steps away from being a great game. Right now, it’s merely pretty good.
An excellent idea, a not so excellent execution. A great filler for a play night with friends, but its charm rapidly fades, mostly because of some prominent balancing issues.
Review in Italian | Read full review
As a spiritual successor to NBA Jam, NBA Playgrounds really does a great job of recreating that zany arcade feeling of streetball two versus two action. As a huge fan of the genre who recalls dropping a lot of quarters into the NBA Jam arcade cabinet when I was younger, I am the target audience for this title. The slick visuals and over-the-top action are a lot of fun, but some inconsistencies in the gameplay and a lack of depth limit this to title to a status of fun filler of must-play hoops action.
Even if Playgrounds' single-player mode lacks the unbridled merriment that makes multiplayer so enjoyable, finally getting the upper hand in a tournament is rewarding and exciting in its own way. But even at its best, Playgrounds doesn't offer enough variety to keep you engaged for long.
NBA Playgrounds has potential, but it just leaves too much in the locker room to be considered anything more than unpolished. At least there's no micro-transactions in this one.
Playgrounds sure isn't an NBA Jam, but it feels okay for a return to arcade style basketball. I'd like to see EA try again in the future, hopefully taking some of the bare minima they've learned from Playgrounds to make a more enticing experience.
NBA Playgrounds scratches that arcade basketball itch we've had since NBA Jam. The gameplay and progression are simple and fun to mess around with but unbalanced power-ups and a shallow online multiplayer offering keep it from being as consistently fun as the classics.
NBA Playgrounds is a conflicted game, it tries to cater to two different audiences at once, but in doing so weakens the overall experience and therefore appeals to neither. It did succeed in making me want to play an NBA game; just not this one.
The best analogy for NBA Playgrounds is that it's like a leaky ship. The exterior, with its charm and aesthetically pleasing look, hides an interior rife with small missteps and annoyances.
NBA Playgrounds will absolutely fill the void left behind by NBA Jam in regards to a strict 2-on-2 basketball experience. However, there isn't enough here to really keep gamers coming back for more after the initial newness period wears off. It can be fun in extremely short bursts, but the boredom kicks in quick.
Although there are pieces of a good arcade basketball game here, it lacks polish, and seems to have been rushed out the door. Playgrounds is inherently fun because it lets you play out outrageous dunks, but it just doesn't do enough to stand up to the greats of its genre, let alone push the bar in any way.
If there's never another arcade-style hoops title for Switch, then Playgrounds certainly meets my bare-minimum needs. It could have been so much more though, and as such I'm hoping Saber Interactive comes back with a fleshed-out second attempt (maybe another sport?) sometime down the road. In the meantime, Playgrounds delivers the outrageous exhibitions you're looking for - just don't expect it to provide much else.
NBA Playgrounds plays well to the strengths of the Nintendo Switch, providing a fun multiplayer basketball game, with authentic players and commentary. Difficulty spikes in solo play are too steep to ignore, though, and the current absence of online play greatly diminishes long-term viability. A great game is here, but not yet at the surface.
Saber Interactive plays homage to NBA Jam and even a little bit of NBA Street with NBA Playgrounds, and does so with enough changes to the formula to make it interesting, even if the attitude and enthusiasm is a bit subdued. NBA Playgrounds has some erratic difficulty swings during exhibition and tournament modes, but the arcade basketball is fun and easy to pick-up-and-play solo, local, or even online.
Overall, NBA Playgrounds could’ve been the next NBA Jam. It nails everything from the look of the characters, to the lighthearted commentary. While it’s fun at first for a few rounds, as time goes on the cracks start to show and you realize that this game is more of an attempted layup than an actual slam dunk. If you’ve never played an NBA Jam game before, you can give this game a shot. Otherwise, for a true arcade basketball experience, stick to the classics.
There is a fun game here in NBA Playgrounds, but this is by no means the best version of the game. The other issue is that the game is a little on the shallow side. It is a shame really, because there is a fun title to be had here, but issues hold it back and the end result is a merely average sports outing.
I'd say it's a little steep paying $20 for this one. If you're a hardcore NBA fan you might have an enjoyable time with Playgrounds, I'd recommend most other players stick to the 2K series. It's hard to even recommend the Switch version because 2K seems like it's just on the horizon. If you're looking to play NBA Playgrounds I'd suggest at least waiting until online is available. But if you've really got a basketball itch, this game does a decent job at scratching it.
NBA Playgrounds is let down by several little things, but most chiefly by the singular mode on offer. If they launched with some more fun modes to embrace the irreverent tone the game clearly wants to go for, or add them later for some added value, then the game might have some staying power.
NBA Playgrounds is fun with friends...and that's about it, playing this on single player mode is nothing short of disappointing due to the unasked for "players on stickers" mechanic, enormous loading times between matches which also affect the multiplayer mode and the for time still absent online mode make this a game that will not appeal to those looking for an intense and action-packed arcade basketball game.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
The Nintendo Switch version of NBA Playgrounds is probably the most inferior. While an entertaining romp with fun mechanics, a lack of content and fundamental patches keep this from being a slam dunk.
NBA Playgrounds is an average arcade game that's best enjoyed in local multiplayer with friends. Otherwise, there's not much to offer compared to the competition.
Review in Czech | Read full review
I'm sure the developers went into NBA Playgrounds with the most noble of intentions, but this game is not the NBA I remembered. This game is one that young me would never have considered to be worth my allowance.