NBA Jam is revived in this spiritual successor, though not everything's quite as you remember it...
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.
Considering legacy brands like NBA Jam and NBA Street are nowhere to be found this generation, NBA Playgrounds is a welcome hoops diversion for sports game fans
NBA Playgrounds stifles any above-the-rim action promised by placing condition after condition on the gameplay
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.
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.
Plus, it allows me to play out my dream scenario of "Kristaps Porzingas being teamed up with someone halfway decent," so that's exciting.
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.
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
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.
Fun on short bursts but plagued with little flaws that makes the game less funny than it should have been.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
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.
It's great to have a basketball arcade game back in the public domain, but it falls short of the successful heights of NBA Jam.
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 comes close to being a good arcade basketball game ... but it doesn't quite score the bucket.
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
There is no career or story mode, and really no options for customizing a game beyond how long it goes on for or how many points you need to win.
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 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.
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.