NBA All-Star 3-Point Shootout «

Making a successful wireless game isn’t rocket science, people. Just pick a decent concept, and stick the execution. Exhibit A: THQ’s NBA All-Star 3-Point Shootout. This is, in my opinion, the best mobile representation of basketball yet — and that’s really saying something, as pretty much every hoops iteration I’ve played has at least been decent.

The title of the game says it all. You’re shooting three-pointers, and nothing else. Luckily, you’ve got enough modes, records, and players to be content with the subject matter for a long time. It’s the production and the gameplay that really makes you stick with it. I kept wanting to top my best scores or see how I did with someone new.

Reggie goes out with a bang

Gameplay couldn’t be easier, as you just hit the main button to pick up a ball, then hold it to start your shot, and release it at the appropriate time. You really want to let go as close to the top of your jump as possible, though it’s better to release a little early than a little late. 3-Point Shootout has two difficulty levels, so once you master Rookie, you can get a little more challenge in All-Star.

The major modes are exhibition and tournament. Exhibition pits you one-on-one with another sharpshooter in a one-round match. Tournament takes place over three rounds, where only the top qualifiers move on. In either one, you can assign as many human players as there are slots (up to eight-player in tournament).

3-Point Shootout‘s graphics are drop-dead gorgeous. A plethora of player models make every baller resemble their real-life counterparts. The arena is beautifully designed, complete with scrolling adds and interactive lighting. Even the physics of the ball are admirable, as it bounces off the parquet floor and the rim.

The game’s sound also immerses you in your sharpshooting task. Both the crowd and the announcer have varying sound bites. The audience roots you on with rabid enthusiasm when you’re doing well, and boos your misses. The announcer will holler that you’re “Unstoppable!” or call out your airball.

The stats and records that are kept will satisfy fantasy fans. You can view stats of each player, as well as all-time records in several categories (and each difficulty level), and get breakdowns of tournament performances. With dozens of players, you’ll always have someone new to put on the three-point line, too. The roster goes from Steve Francis and Walt Frazier to Antione Walker and Lenny Wilkins. Eclectic choices abound, such as Detlef Schrempf, and even Shaq makes an appearance. Lots of luck, big guy.

If there’s a failing, it’s that the game is only three-point shooting. However, I was fine with that, since it’s done so well. You couldn’t ask for better one-hand play, and all the production value icing keeps things tasty. I found one problem in the computer messing up during round-ending ties (I was omitted from the finals once, though I scored the same as the two guys who moved on), but it’s not like you can’t just try again. Still, with the simplicity of the subject matter, you’d hope those mistakes wouldn’t occur.

If you’re a hoops fan, pick up NBA All-Star 3-Point Challenge. No matter what your gaming proficiency or skill level, you’ll have a blast, and will keep coming back to it for every slot of free time. THQ and LavaStorm shoot, and they score.

 

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