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No Recommendation / Blank
May 10, 2017

NBA Jam is revived in this spiritual successor, though not everything's quite as you remember it...

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IGN

Top Critic

7.4 / 10.0
May 9, 2017

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.

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7 / 10.0
May 12, 2017

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

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Polygon

Top Critic

4.5 / 10.0
May 14, 2017

NBA Playgrounds stifles any above-the-rim action promised by placing condition after condition on the gameplay

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6 / 10
May 11, 2017

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.

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May 9, 2017

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.

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7.5 / 10.0
May 9, 2017

Plus, it allows me to play out my dream scenario of "Kristaps Porzingas being teamed up with someone halfway decent," so that's exciting.

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7 / 10
May 18, 2017

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.

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7 / 10.0
May 12, 2017

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

8 / 10.0
May 9, 2017

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.

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7 / 10
May 10, 2017

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

May 9, 2017

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.

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7 / 10.0
May 15, 2017

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.

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50 / 100
Jun 30, 2017

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.

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May 12, 2017

NBA Playgrounds comes close to being a good arcade basketball game ... but it doesn't quite score the bucket.

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6 / 10.0
May 11, 2017

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

65 / 100
May 22, 2017

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.

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Ken McKown

Top Critic

7 / 10.0
May 17, 2017

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.

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May 12, 2017

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.

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7 / 10
May 11, 2017

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.

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