You couldn’t beat a traffic ticket.
*PARENTAL ADVISORY WARNING* This game may cause unrelenting noise and serious irritation, which may result in severe injury to children, due to the lashings from a belt. There’s a reason why parents say "don’t bounce the ball inside". I’ve never fully dribbled a basketball in my house until now and probably won’t ever again. NBA Baller Beats is a true dribbling simulator that is meant to help with ball-bouncing skills, along with eye and hand coordination. For those who have never dribbled a ball, let alone played a game of basketball, fear not, for Baller Beats is here to teach.
From beginners to professional ballers, this is one for everyone. Initially it can be easy and fun to pick up if played in the perfect setting. Mind you, in the “perfect setting”. In order to enjoy the full experience you need only a few things: a Kinect (mere 100 bucks), ball (comes with a full retail copy), plenty of space, secluded place to dribble (wouldn’t want to disturb anyone), most likely a big screen TV (got to see the patterns), and a whole lot of patience. Okay, so you need a lot of things. Once you’ve gathered all that, have at it and soon enough you’ll be trying out as a point guard for the Warriors (not likely, but we can dream).
Truly it’s a great idea for a game. Not only is it entertaining, but it teaches kids and adults alike how to better themselves as ball handlers. (Insert "what she said" joke here.) If you spend time playing, I promise you will get better. But with such reward, there is risk; mainly running the risk of destroying your house before reaching max skill with moves such as fake passes and pump fakes. I can’t tell you how scary it is watching my roommates (much lesser skilled hoopers) fake ball pumps towards the TV.
Even dribbling is hazardous. Higher difficulty settings will force players to crossover quickly, which may result in lost ball control. Too many times the ball would go crashing into cabinets and all things fragile. Kind of weird actually... it’s as if the ball knows what’s breakable in the house.
As for the Kinect, it tracks your moves fairly accurately. The motion sensors work wonders and react with almost perfect precision as you bounce the ball, attempting to stay on beat. But while dribbling to the beat, make sure to keep your eyes on the screen or else seeing your next move will be impossible. Point guard training has never made so much sense. I wonder how well a guy like Steve Nash would fair with difficultly level set to “Baller”.
The simplicity of NBA Baller Beats is what makes it so appealing. It doesn’t try to confuse or overcomplicate game modes. There are only a few to choose from to begin with, but everything is self-explanatory. Everything isn’t 100% self-explanatory, but the quick tutorial that is available will come in handy, mostly for understanding what moves are illustrated in each move picture. There are around 15+ moves to learn, of which only a few moves are used in a serious game of basketball, while the rest are for the fun-flash style And-1 basketball so magically captured way back when.
For what it is, NBA Baller Beats is a decent title that succeeds in what it’s trying to accomplish, which is helping folks become better dribblers. Also if you get really into it, you will break a sweat, and might want to grab water after each session. But is it worth the $60 and the headache that may come for those not playing? Definitely not. It would be nice to see the price knocked down. Maybe even turn it into a download-only arcade game. Whatever the case may be, Baller Beats has already bounced to a store near you, so you can now get to work on your hands and annoy the hell out of your neighbors.