If aliens came down to Earth, stole talent from some of the best NBA players and challenged Looney Tunes characters to a basketball game…well, that would be the plot of the 1996 movie Space Jam. Combine that with an endless runner for iOS and it makes NBA Rush.
The game from Renren, a company once set on becoming the Facebook of China, is the latest popular iOS title to use the endless runner gameplay style made famous by Temple Run and Subway Surfers. Its unique spin is the official NBA license, meaning characters are real NBA players. Beyond that though, NBA Rush offers little innovation to a packed genre.
NBA Saves the World
NBA Rush centers around an alien invasion. Obviously, the people of Earth would immediately turn to the stars of the NBA if aliens attacked the planet – mostly because of their ability to jump.
With the world in chaos, it is up to NBA players to dribble, jump and dunk their way through alien-infested cities in order to save the earth. Of course, players will have to dodge additional targets, including crashed UFOs and vehicles fleeing the city.
Alien Dunk Contest
NBA Rush is not a typical endless runner. In some ways, it is a dunk contest with aliens. Players have to swipe, flick and tap their way through a generic city, destroying aliens, collecting coins and finding diamonds along the way.
Coins can be used to purchase upgrades while diamonds can be used as continues upon death or to buy new players. The significance of coins and diamonds to NBA players is unknown but then again, those players are saving the world from aliens. Still, it would be nice to see some more creativity.
Hopping or dunking on aliens will fill up a meter, which will trigger players to sub out for another NBA star and add a score multiplier. While dribbling through the city, players also must avoid traps set by aliens, road blocks and oncoming vehicles.
Instead of a few generic characters, players can choose to play as actual NBA stars. Every NBA team is represented in the game and each team has three players to choose from.
Diamonds are Forever
Diamonds are spread throughout the city but they are few and far between. The NBA prides itself on its stars but superstars like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Durant are priced so high they are nearly impossible to obtain without forking over some real-world currency.
NBA Rush is free to play but acquiring big name stars will require either a large time commitment or paying steep prices. In-app purchases involving diamonds start at $4.99 but NBA Rush offers purchases of up to $99.99 for a Champion Coin Pack. While it is not necessary to pay large sums, the game highly encourages players to spend money.
The highlight of NBA Rush is the animations. Players move through the bright, cartoony environment without picking up their dribble – performing crossovers with every lane change and keeping the dribble alive when sliding under barriers. Dunks are equally impressive, with a variety of tomahawks, reverse jams and windmills to perform on aliens. A comic book-style introduction is also a nice touch, albeit irrelevant to the game.
NBA Rush is a quick time-waster perfect for mobile devices. It lacks depth but its wackiness makes it worth using a few spare minutes on. If nothing else, NBA Rush serves as another example of how basketball and aliens make a winning team.