App Reviewed on: iPhone 4s
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Dunk Dreams is a free-to-play basketball game that is more about strategy than the action of actually playing basketball. As a turn-based role playing game, this isn't what most would expect from what otherwise appears to be a sports game, making it somewhat intriguing for those who aren't so keen on basketball. That being said though, Dunk Dreams seems more compelling than it actually is.
To make its basketball RPG mechanics work, Dunk Dreams has players face off in one-on-one basketball games. In these games, the player on offense picks an approach and the defender chooses a defensive move. From here, the players play a super simple mini-game while the characters animate, and some stats (plus a little dice rolling for an added element of "randomness") determines if the ball goes in the basket or not. As players play they can level up their character's stats with points as well as purchased gear in a store, and these choices determine a given player's "class." Classes are simply the five main positions played in basketball, and specializing toward a particular class adds additional advantages when it comes to particular offensive and defensive moves.
While this all sounds a bit complicated, Dunk Dreams does a good job of simplifying the game. All players really need to know in the heat of a match is what move they wish to perform and what their opponent may be thinking of choosing. This, however, creates the problem of making Dunk Dreams actually feel a little too simplistic. The fun of the game is really in making deep decisions based on character builds, but that stuff is hidden so well in the middle of a match that it seems to hardly matter.
On top of this, any players truly dedicated to fine-tuning their characters for online will probably have to spend some money to get their character up to snuff, as all of the ways to progress in Dunk Dreams are locked behind a pay wall. Of course, players can always be patient and upgrade their characters for free, but when grinding out experience and currency is also behind a pay wall, it can be frustrating.
Otherwise though, Dunk Dreams can prove to be quite compelling, even for players not interested in multiplayer. Included in Dunk Dreams is a fairly robust single-player mode, complete with comic book-like narrative. For what it's worth, anyone can try their hand at Dunk Dreams. After all, it's free! Just know that as it sucks players in, it starts asking for money.