iPhone App Review: Tip-Off Basketball

iPhone App Review: Tip-Off Basketball

January 18th, 2012 by

If you think you’ve played every basketball game the App Store has to offer, IOPixel has something new for us casual hoops fans. Tip-Off Basketball is an arcade-style basketball game that challenges you through dozens of solo levels, offers network play through OpenFeint, forces you to master trick shots in order to earn coins for court and ball upgrades in the store, and just generally takes over your life with an obsession unmatched by few other games I’ve played recently.

How It Works

Tip-Off Basketball is one of those “shoot a bunch of baskets for points” style of games. You tap and hold the screen, then drag your finger in order to angle the ball’s trajectory and power, then release to shoot. The game recognizes and tracks different types of shots, including the swish, bounce shots, and the ball even turns into a rocket if you’re shooting a direct basket from far away at top speed.

Combos can be earned for lining up three different shots in a row, such as three bounce shots, and earning combos and doing trick shots increase your “power bar”. Once this fills up you enter Frenzy Mode, where you simply tap a series of buttons on the screen, DDR style, while flaming balls fly into the hoop. If you succeed in Frenzy Mode you get increased time, a ton of points, and a satisfying smashed backboard for your troubles. Making truly terrible shots, like an airball, reduce your power meter.

Each level has a set of achievements that must be completed in order to pass. These are sometimes typical, like making a bounce shot or completing a combo, but at the higher levels start to vary. Intentional airballs are sometimes required to move on to another level,  as is buying something in the game’s store (using game coins, not real dollars).

Pros And Cons

Don’t even get me started on how addictive this game is.

First of all, IOPixel nailed the aesthetics and the artwork for the game. The physics of the ball seems spot-on, as is the responsiveness of the touch-screen finger control. Even though you’re playing in a back-alley street court, the graphics are gorgeous and show amazing attention to detail. The train that comes by every so often is a welcome and familiar sight. The music and sound are good as well, with sound effects putting you in the mindset of late-night hoops on a city court.

What sets this game apart from the the other basketball shooters are the achievements. They are neither too hard nor too easy, always offering an appropriate challenge for your current level of skill. My personal favorite set of achievements is “Do 1 Downtown” along with “Accuracy over 70% and 2 airballs”. Other levels feature fun and interesting sets of tasks you must complete, giving your skills a workout in different areas throughout the game.

The in-game store features some very pricey items, though each item has a “rent” and a “buy” option. You can also purchase in-game coins with real-world money if you are so inclined, and there are offers that you can complete in order to earn free coins as well. The store has different artwork for the court and backboard, as well as balls with different abilities. My only complaint about the store is that it’s organized in one big carousel, forcing you to spin all the way around in only one direction to get to the other end. A more boring but easy-to-navigate series of menu options would be easier to use.


What looks on the surface like another arcade-style basketball shooting game reveals hours of intense, addictive gameplay, as you progress through over 40 solo levels and master the skills necessary to compete in network play and try to enter the Hall of Fame. Tip-Off Basketball is a highly playable casual game that shouldn’t be touched by anyone with an addictive personality. Play it at your own peril!

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