iPhone App Review: Bombshot Basketball

iPhone App Review: Bombshot Basketball

November 20th, 2011 by

The iTunes App Store just got a dose of three-point madness with the new game from Sage Games, Bombshot Basketball. Using the iPhone and iPad’s touch screen to aim and shoot, you can play in one of several different modes. From a classic game where you attempt to get the best of 25 shots, to arcade mode where you rack up points and use power-up balls, to several different individual challenges, the game features 3-D graphics designed by a Dreamworks artist and the ability to customize your player.

How It Works

After the game loads you are taken to the main menu. Along the top row are several choices:

  • Profile – adjust the appearance of your player (hat, skin, jersey, shorts).
  • Store – view the different basketballs available to unlock. Some are only available in the full version of the game.
  • Option – adjust in-game options like sound, music, vibration, etc.
  • How To – a gameplay tutorial that runs you through the basics.
  • Game Center – just your obligatory link to Apple’s Game Center.

Once you’ve explored those selection, you get to the gameplay itself. Challenges are a series of shooting challenges that each unlock a different ball, with different abilities, once completed. Only two of the challenges are available in the free version. Arcade Mode is a points-based challenge where you shoot as many baskets as you can in 90 seconds, though you have the assistance of the power-up balls that you have unlocked. Classic Mode is a standard 3-point contest that seems to feature only regular old boring basketballs.

Each game or challenge is roughly the same in structure: you have five racks of five balls each, for a total of 25 shots. After completing one rack your player automatically runs to the next rack. To shoot, you drag your finger upwards and release. The longer you drag the more power you use to shoot, and you can drag to the right or left to angle the shot in order to account for the effects of wind. There is an on-screen arrow to indicate power and help you judge your shots, and a close-up “hoop cam” with a top-down view so you can judge how badly you missed your shot.

Some balls feature special powers: for instance, there is a Windless Ball that is not affected by wind, and if you land it in the basket it will eliminate wind for the entire five-ball rack. You can also unlock a Time Freezer Ball that freezes time for ten seconds. There are also balls the multiply your score, add time to the clock, and more. Some balls can only be unlocked in challenges available in the full game.

Pros And Cons

The game overall is good fun, has good 3D graphics, and features sounds and music that draw you into the action without becoming overly repetitive or annoying (though possibly due to the fact that, because of the nature of the gameplay, you only ever play for bursts of several minutes at a time).

The graphics overall are well-done, though I couldn’t quite decide if they resembled original Playstation-era graphics that were an attempt at realism or handheld-gaming graphics that were intentionally cartoon-ish. There didn’t seem to be a clear choice made either way, so what they ended up with is a very colorful, and very polygonal, graphical style. Not bad by any means but a clearer choice would make the overall presentation seamless.

The gameplay and controls are very intuitive, allowing you to get into a rhythm of tossing basketballs quickly and accurately with repetitive swipes of your finger. It is exactly the way the game should be played, though I found that the band of sensitivity to finger motion is seemingly so narrow that at times it took several swipes to get the little street baller to start shooting again. At other times I was able to swipe almost continuously over and over again, shooting one after another without even giving the camera time to reset itself behind the player’s back. At those times the game felt exciting and visceral, like I was standing on the court myself shooting hoops.


Bombshot Basketball is a great casual game that actually has some depth to it, thanks to the ability to unlock basketball power-ups and customize your player. The gameplay is fun and fast, if once in a while frustrating. There is just enough gameplay offered for free to get you to enjoy the game, and plenty of rewards for paying the measly $0.99 to unlock the full game and further challenges.

Bombshot Basketball is designed for iPhone and iPad, and is free with the ability to upgrade to the full version through in-app purchase.

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