Jamdat NBA 2005 «

I don’t envy Jamdat for trying to turn team sports games into serviceable mobile titles. With a number pad and little else, the company has to convey — in the case of NBA 2005 running up and down the court, playing both offense and defense, and managing multiple characters. It’s kind of shocking, but after untying the initial knots in my fingers, I found NBA 2005 to execute these tasks easily and efficiently, and made it better than a wireless b-ball game has a right to be.

This game goes the NBA Jam route, in that it’s two-on-two. All the league’s biggest and brightest stars are here, including the Texas studs, Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming. If only the Rockets had a cooler logo… When you have possession, you can pass or shoot. Depending on the distance to the hoop and your baller’s stats, you’ll have a green, yellow, or red ring around you. Green means it’s money, yellow means it’s a banana (nutritious but slippery), and red means you’d better pray to your deity of choice that the ball’s going in.

Defense lets you switch players, go for steels, and try to block. It’s actually as much fun to be on D as it is to bogart the ball. It seems like the defensive players are actually faster than the other guys, but I’m glad that’s the case. While running the floor is as easy as you could hope for when you’re using the 1,2,3,4,6,7,8, and 9 keys; you’d get smoked every time if both sides were equal.

A Super Dunk puts the Heat back in the game.

Jamdat NBA 2005 even has its own variation on the “on fire” theme. It’s much more forgiving, though the payoff is slightly toned down. Basically, after hitting three shots, you get one super move. If you’re on defense, hit the # button to get a near-automatic block. If you’re handling the ball, you’ll either do a super dunk or toss up an alley-oop.

Games can be as short as a few minutes — broken up into halves rather than quarters. Even then, though, it’s possible to have to halt the action to either answer a phone call or do something in the (gasp) real world. In clever fashion, NBA 2005 pauses action. When you come back, just hit “resume game” to start where you left off. That’s just great thinking on Jamdat’s part.

There’s enough challenge to keep any fan of hoops occupied. It’s really an addictive little game. My only gripe is the timing-based three-point shootout Jamdat showed at its junket for this title will be released as a separate product, when it should probably be thrown in — like what AG Interactive did with Copa Univision Soccer. As is, Jamdat NBA 2005 is easily a top-tier mobile sports game. It, along with a copy of “Johnny Got His Gun,” (a book, for the unitiated) is personally responsible for keeping me sane during a two-hour wait at the doctor’s office.

 

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