148Apps Network Post
Developer: PikPok
Price: Free
Version: 1.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Playtime Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

I’m generally not one for sports games, and I’ve yet to be taken in by the Casual Swiping genre. I am, however, a big fan of fun. And Slam Dunk King is very, very fun.

Think about those other games that involve swiping the screen to cut up produce. Slam Dunk King is kind of similar to that, only instead of cutting anything players drag and dunk balls that are tossed into the air to grab points. And, of course, watch out for the bombs. There are a lot of tricks available from the get-go, including rebounds, windmills, corkscrews and more. From what I can tell, the methods involved with pulling off these tricks are revealed little by little as players gain ranks but can be done regardless. In addition to all the court-side fun, good runs will earn crowns that can be used to purchase new balls and courts for some visual variety. Mascots with special abilities (mostly to boost scores) can also be purchased, but they cost real money.

I was honestly surprised by how good Slam Dunk King looks. The basket (backboard, rim and all) is incredibly well-represented and animated. The balls and bombs all move and spin in a blend of cartoonish realism. But more than anything, there’s just this great sense of feedback when pulling off tricks as the points erupt out of the basket and the multiplier climbs sky-high.

There are a couple of downsides to the experience, however. For one thing, the mascots feel somewhat useless. I mean, they aren’t a total waste, but it takes time to build up that special meter and by the time it’s full the game is usually almost over. My other issue is more mechanical. Oftentimes I’d accidentally dunk a bomb or flick away a ball I’d been comboing because the game registered my tap on the wrong object when they’re in close proximity. At first I thought I was just screwing up a lot, but it happens way too often for that. Of course, it might also have something to do with the way the game always seems to toss a bomb exactly where I don’t need it. Like it knows or something.

As annoying as the occasional slip-up can be, it’s really a small frustration that’s vastly overshadowed by just how much fun this game is. I’m honestly shocked that PikPok isn’t charging money for Slam Dunk King. There’s more than enough content and fun here for a non-freemium game. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. It just seems weird.

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