Fans of sports games from a simpler era, like NFL Blitz or NBA Jam, might want to pay attention to today’s announcement of NBA Playgrounds. Saber Interactive released the game’s first trailer to IGN, and it definitely evokes the feelings of Jam or NBA Street:
The comparisons to NBA Jam, which is owned by Electronic Arts, are obvious: two-on-two basketball, with characters that have slightly exaggerated features, in some over-the-top gameplay that is far more in line with an arcade-style game than a serious basketball simulation.
Saber CEO Matt Karch says they made the game accessible so anyone can pick it up and play, but the team made sure it would still have “a lot of depth for hardcore pros.”
The game features a lineup of current NBA stars and all-time greats, with players like Lebron James, Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson and Steph Curry confirmed (no word on Michael Jordan, who appears in the NBA 2K series, though). It features a colorful and simplistic art style that looks like it would be right at home along games like Kinect Sports Rivals, and will feature local multiplayer as well as online multiplayer capabilities.
It’s the latest game to take advantage of a push for more cartoony, arcade-like sports titles like Mutant Football League and Old Time Hockey, albeit with an official pro-league license, while the other two games are firmly set in their own fictional worlds. That could give Playgrounds considerably more marketing power to fans young and old.
NBA Playgrounds looks set to please fans of arcade-style basketball titles that haven’t had a new title in this particular genre since NBA Jam: On Fire Edition was released on the PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360 in 2011. NBA Playgrounds is set to hit PS4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch as a digital download in May for $20.