If you did any console video gaming in the mid-1990s, you’ll likely have fond memories of the arcade basketball title NBA Jam and its over-the-top slam dunk gameplay. Years later, EA Mobile has ported the game to the iPhone with stellar results, upgrading the graphics and features while maintaining the core mechanics and, most importantly, the fun. It’s this week’s best game, but it’s not alone -- we’ve got four more great titles for you to check out.
NBA Jam by EA Sports ($4.99)
EA Mobile’s revisiting of the classic 2-on-2 arcade basketball title of the 1990s is just as awesome as it always has been -- expect a few tingles of delight running down your spine upon hearing “Boomshakalaka!” and “He’s on fire!” coming through your iPhone speakers as you dunk, shove, steal and shoot your way to victory. EA has done some pretty great things with updating this title and making it work on the iOS platform, including adding a quick play mode, so you can just jump into games fast, and a classic campaign mode that will have you unlocking characters and secrets throughout the game. NBA Jam’s only downfall is its lack of multiplayer, but the single player modes are a ton of fun that will impress fans and non-fans alike. Plus, it looks great on the iPhone.
The popular and acclaimed PC puzzler is a great fit for the iPhone, and its interesting premise and 8-bit art style help to make it a whole lot of fun. Across 50 puzzle platformer levels, your goal will be to help Karoshi, an overworked and miserable Japanese office jockey, find ways to end it all -- using spikes, electrified floor panels and flame jets. Some of the puzzles will really bend your brain, requiring you to restart them to reveal new elements or jump around and make platforms or blocks appear that change the rules. It’s all pretty intuitive and kind of funny, and will keep you busy with its smart puzzles and cutesy art style.
Bop It! ($2.99)
Four single player modes and four multiplayer modes adorn Bop It!, a virtual version of the Hasbro handheld toy that quickly instructs you to manipulate different pieces of it. You’ll tap, swipe, twist and pull different objects on your screen as you receive instructions in classic mode, trying to see how long you can keep it up before you fail. Extreme mode features not four, but six objects for you to track and mess with. In blitz mode, speed is your goal, and in basic mode, you’ll play with a single object to get a feel for the game. Get good on your own and you can take your game online to challenge others.
Kick Buttowski: Loco Launcho (Free)
Daredevil Kick Buttowski has a goal: get as far in his cardboard stunt machine as possible. Your mission is to help, by boosting his speed as he goes down a giant ramp, managing his vehicle while it flies through the air using lift to keep it airborne, and upgrading it as you gain more resources through the course of the game. For a free distance-launching game, Kick Buttowski is surprisingly deep. You’ll need to be smart both about your upgrades and about your performance with the vehicle mid-flight -- push too hard to rise through the air and collect power-ups and points, and you’ll sacrifice speed and distance. Fail to push your vehicle high enough, and you’ll fall into a dive and smash into the ground. It’s a tough balance to strike, but Kick Buttowski does a good job of keeping all its elements juggled and interesting. Best of all, it doesn’t cost a dime.
Cardboard Castle ($0.99)
Part platformer, part point-and-click adventure, Cardboard Castle has you working through side-scrolling stages in which you need to clear a path from one end of the level to the other for a knight on his way to fight a monster. The puzzles are intuitive but tricky. If you come to a gap, for example, you’ll need to build a bridge. If you find an axe on the screen, you can drag it over a tree to create lumber, and drag the lumber over the gap to build a bridge. Each level is a puzzle like that, with multiple elements. The game also has an interesting, cool, crayon and cardboard art style that makes it kid-friendly and unique-looking. Cardboard factors into a lot of the puzzles, too, as does fire and water: burning some elements will remove them, and pouring water on others, then drying them, can be the key to moving forward.