Freeverse’s Skee-Ball has made a major impact on the App Store, topping the charts consistently since its release. Due to its widespread success, it was inevitable that the publisher would follow up with a similar arcade game. However, NBA Hotshot is underwhelming despite the familiar license.
The original arcade Hotshot is a basketball game where you must make as many baskets as you can in a certain amount of time. The iPhone version offers two modes: Classic Play gives you 40 seconds to make as many shots as possible, and Three Strikes allows you to keep playing until you miss three shots. A twist in Classic Play is that after 20 seconds, the hoop moves back and shots become worth three points. Similar to the bonus multipliers in Skee-Ball, sinking a glowing ball nets you bonus points.
Unfortunately, we don’t feel that NBA Hotshot controls very well. While the touch controls are responsive, we never felt that the game registered the strength of our “throws” correctly. This may also be due to the game’s unpredictable physics, which often result in the ball oddly bouncing away when it hits right above the basket.
We do like the NBA license, even if it’s only noticeable in the unlockable basketballs. Depending on how well you do, a gauge fills up and, when full, you can pick between prizes chosen at random. The basketballs you win can then be used in the game. We prefer Skee-Ball’s ticket system, as it gives the player more choice and bragging rights as far as the expensive items go.
Even with Plus+ integration, NBA Hotshot was not as fun as we had hoped. You may get your $0.99 worth of arcade nostalgia, but we still feel this game lacks the extended appeal of Skee-Ball.