Niantic has carved out a unique niche by creating video games that reward players for exploring the real world. They did it with Pokemon Go, and have had mixed success with other projects.
The next foray into creating geolocation augmented reality games is NBA All-World.
“Sports is a big part of people’s lives and a big part of pop culture,” said Niantic founder and CEO John Hanke in a news release. “Our version of the NBA basketball game starts with his exciting one-on-one gameplay and expands to include key elements of basketball culture, including music, fashion, sneakers, all of which are real-world. It’s integrated into the place.”
The best way to describe it is that it seems to blend some of the ‘Pokémon Go’ elements and add to the sports title. Just like in the flagship game, players can explore neighborhoods and visit real-world assignments to obtain resources such as energy to help the NBA player he hires his drink and gear.
Interestingly, NBA players are almost like Pokémon. It’s no joke. Professional athletes appear all over the world and beat them in competitions for the chance to earn experience, credit, and other resources. You can also adopt them for use in other competitions.
Players have 15 slots open to the team, with 75 players available so far, including Zion Williamson, LeBron James, Stephen Curry and more. Each athlete has their own stats and all of them can be upgraded as gamers use them in different events.
For drills and other contests, it relies on a shooting meter in which players must time their presses. On attack, he can also dribble left and right, juke opponents and reach the basket. On the defensive side, players can tap to steal or block and stop if they can do so at the right time.
Simple, quick to pick up and play for casual users. If players are interested in competition, they can participate in arena tournaments where a crew of gamers pits a rival recruit against him in a one-on-one contest. To enter, these costs are credits, which are picked up by exploring the game world.
Gamer NBA players are also tired from constant play and need energy drinks to restore their stamina. Playing with less than 10% energy lowers your skill and lowers your play. Going out and gathering resources is a loop that encourages players to explore.
It’s an interesting approach to adapting Niantic’s formula to the sports genre. The big question facing the game is whether this form of basketball play will be appealing to a wider audience.
Check out the game here for iOS and here for the Google Play Store.