Category: iPad Sports »
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S
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I’ve haven’t played many sports titles on iOS with good reason; like fighting games, the gameplay is all dependent on latency. For developer Mobage, Inc., the solution for translating fast-paced hoops to the non-buttoned platform is to remove the ability to play basketball all together. Instead, we are left with a situational analysis app, an almost coaching approach, where every player action is dictated by the statistical probability of its outcome. From passing to shooting to playing defense, each action is a timed decision where players must choose the best course of action to score a bucket.
The way Showstopper sets up this grand experiment is placing a 5-member squad against an opposing team in league play; the catch is that I didn't actually play but rather governed the team of stars. After the opening tip, it is up to me to decide the actions of the team ,as every two seconds the players pause and I am given five seconds to decide whether to dish the rock or shoot the pill. This may seem to be a lengthy process but as each game takes less than three minutes to complete, I am hungered, like looking for seconds on Thanksgiving with none to be found. Upon loading the first match-up, my first thought is, “this is different." However, by the tenth league game, I'm sure that I'm not enjoying the basketball portion nearly as much as the collectible card game (CCG) component.
Did I utter basketball and CCG in the same sentence? That I did. How Mobage came to the conclusion to unite the two is well beyond me but what I do know is that it feels compelling enough to stick with (even if basketball gameplay is non-existent). At the conclusion of every match-up, the standouts from my team level up and continue to gain xp that translates into new abilities on the court. So, instead of continually shooting jump shots right under the basket, new window options of “layup” or “dunk” appear at my coaching disposal. Customizations are also the rave, as new gear equates to in-game attribute bonuses. With the gamut of CCG depth for such a simplistic sport, I could not help but imagine what could have been if this type of CCG were layered onto a different genre.
Is Showstopper Basketball a great sporting experience with excellent b-ball gameplay? Absolutely not. Is it worth a glance to imagine what cool CCG and sports could possibly become on iOS? Absolutely.
Version Reviewed: 1.3
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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The beauty of this age of sports with social media is that we can connect with friends, celebrating our teams together. Who are we kidding, sports is a black hole of despair: everyone loses eventually and sadness fills our souls like darkness upon the earth as the sun sets.
Other than that, sports is great!
SportStream has an interesting way of approaching the sports app and social media. Users start by logging in with Facebook or Twitter, then selecting their favorite teams, which offers some selections based on likely choices. I’m not sure how the discovery algorithm works, but the app gave me the San Antonio Spurs, Texas Rangers, and Houston Rockets as suggested teams to follow. Well, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. It is possible to add teams manually as well. Then, users search for the games they want to follow, and can receive alerts about scores. As well, game scores, stats, even TV information is available for games. A social feed of relevant Twitter accounts is available for each game including official team accounts and analysts that can be favorited, retweeted, and replied to. I’ve already used the app to call out a beat writer on something stupid they said, because that’s the beauty of Twitter: we’re all on equal footing.
It’s possible to check-in to games, as much as one can check-in to a virtual construct than a physical location. Thankfully, it’s at least limited to checking-in on the day of the game, and it is used to also create a chat room between those who have checked-in. It serves a useful secondary purpose. It’s possible to get people to join in with the app via Facebook, Twitter, and email, and to post about the game with suggested hashtags and links where necessary.
The app supports logging in with Facebook or Twitter through the iOS native logins. Frankly, I’m impressed: too many apps have been not supporting iOS-native social networks. It is infuriating to say the least. So kudos to SportStream for taking some initiative on this.
Whether SportStream is making a comment on college football realignment or just using outdated info, it’s humorous to see the Texas A&M Aggies back in the Big 12 in the app. We kicked you and your creepy all-male cheerleaders out, now stay out! As a side note for those who don’t follow college football: The Big 12 has 10 teams and the Big 10 has 12 teams. Don’t try to make sense of it; college football never does.
What I think SportStream really succeeds at is that while social interaction is a core part of the app, it never forgets about the games. It works as a scoreboard app, along with being a way to sample the opinions floating out there on social media. Come gameday, this could prove to be extremely useful as a second-screen app.
It's also available for iPhone as a separate download, also free.