AR-Basketball ARKit Game Review

AR-Basketball is a simple Augmented Reality Basketball game for ARKit compatible devices. This is among the first AR games that I’ve got to play on my brand new iPad 9.8-inch (2017) which I bought intentionally for creating these type of review.

I wanted to try out a simple game, not something too flashy, just to see what’s the fuss about the AR technology is all about. AR-Basketball is a great game to start your way into AR gaming and you can download it for free from the App Store.

I’ve played the game in my living room, but you can play it everywhere you like. I personally recommend playing it outdoors because you have the option to spawn a real-size basketball. I’ve tried putting a real size one in the room, but it was way too big. I’ve decided to try out the two other default ones: the table size and floor size, both fitted nicely in the room.

Here is a gameplay video that I’ve recorded earlier today using my iPad.

When you first launch a game mode, the game scans the environment where the camera is pointing at (after you authorize the camera permissions). Now all you have to do is just click on the place where you want the hoop to spawn. You can also drag and move it to the desired location and It’s very easy and intuitive to do so.

Once you all set up, you just click start and start playing. As of the time of writing the game only supports single-player mode, the multiplayer mode is locked as of the time of writing this review.

The game features various game modes like Time Runner (set time limit, try to score as many possible points during that time), Try Runner (set the attempts limit, try to shoot as many points as possible with this amount of tries),  Hit Counter (set the points goal, try to score that with as few tries as possible), Time Counter (set the points goal, try to shoot this amount in few time as possible) and Around the World (try to score with less attempt as possible while shooting from the highlighted positions).

The physics of the ball first seemed to work around the basket, but once the ball hits the plane it’s a completely different thing. It happened to me that the ball spun on the hoop and even sometimes was just stuck (if that happens, just tap to re-spawn the ball). On the other hand, the ball acted kind of strange on the detected surfaces. Sometimes the ball bumped over the other surface really nice, even from one surface to the other, other times is just moved in a weird way into a wall or on an empty space. The other thing that I didn’t like is that the ball sometimes didn’t bounce on the surface after it hit the basket. So that part didn’t work well. It would be nice if the ball could just behave realistically in all situations. I thought this can be enabled by default in the game engine, especially for a simple game like this, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. Look how the ball reacts when it hits the surface of the table.

The graphics are really simplistic, nothing to be excited about. The shadow and the lighting worked well to make the basket blend nicely with the real environment, it looked really nice in that aspect. I would have liked to see some more cool particle effects, something more flashy with better sound effects to make this game stand out from the rest. Maybe the developer focused on making it more realistic than arcade-style, which is fine by me.

Overall, I enjoyed playing the game, but I can’t ignore the fact that weird ball physics works against this game. Sometimes it seems to work well, other times it doesn’t. I think this is a very important thing to nail the physics right, especially for a basketball game that doesn’t aim to be “too” arcady. I hope those things will be fixed before the multiplayer is released and I wouldn’t mind trying it out again.

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