There are plenty of basketball themed games on the AppStore, but none as addictive as Godzillab’s new dunking MMO…
On the face of it Stardunk is a simple 2D hoop shooter. You have 2 minutes to dunk as many balls as you can, with points awarded for clean baskets. Unlike most games of is type on the AppStore the game doesn’t use a flick dynamic, instead you drag a trajectory line, shown as a half arch, around the screen and then lift you finger to shoot. If you have lined up correctly, the ball will follow that line and score a basket. It sounds easy, and for the most part you will rarely miss, but it’s how you score and how many you can score in the time limit that makes it challenging.
Shooting a perfect dunk will give you most points, but you can also score by bouncing off the back board and into the basket. While this doesn’t net you more points, it does allow you two gain special power ups. The back board is made up of four sections, and if you can light up all four sections you activate a random power up generator in the top left corner of the screen. Much like Arkanoid, these power ups offer you super powered balls, or increase the width of the basket for a limited time. My personal favourite is the multi-ball which gives you 3 or 4 balls at once which, if you can land them, increases your score significantly.
While this is a fun pick-up-and-play single player experience, it’s not until you take the game online that it really comes to life. The single player game is really just a practice session, a lobby if you will, as you wait for the multiplayer contest to begin. Any minute the game will throw you into an online game against multiple opponents from around the globe. It is here where you skills are put to the test, and the only place where your score counts for something. Not only does your score rank you in a contest and on the global leader boards, it also allows you to unlock achievements and more importantly new balls (something you can’t do in single player). The better you get, and higher you rank, allows you to unlock new balls with special powers. These include Speed Balls which increase your bonus; Robo balls for less bounce; Star balls which up your multi-ball count by one, and offers a higher chance of getting that power up; and infinite balls which allows you to tap the screen to bounce your ball into the basket…plus many more. There’s even a special Moki ball, from their game iBlast Moki, which gives you x2 score multipliers on your second perfect dunk in a row.
Multiplayer doesn’t allow you to see you’re opponents play directly, however, it does track their scores in realtime as well as their location. This information is presented to you on a spinning earth in the background, allowing you to glance at the high scores you must beat as you play. It’s a cool effect, and similar to how Smule displays players in their Ocarina App.
Visually, the game has a cool neon look to it. Particle effects spew from the balls as they fly like comets into the baskets. It runs beautifully smooth, zooming in and out as your ball is placed in random positions in relation to the basket. During your last shot when the timer hits zero, it all turns slow-mo, as your ball floats towards it’s target, much like the winning shot in Peggle.
Despite loving their previous game iBlast Moki, when I read the description of this game I was unconvinced it would impress me. The thought of another hoop shooting game didn’t exactly have me jumping for joy. That was until I started playing it though, and I can honestly say that it is one of the most addictive budget titles I have played. Part of this is down to it’s easy to grasp gameplay, but the main reason is the primal urge to best other players. It doesn’t help either that the game never really ends, bypassing any continue screen or menu and kicking you straight into another single player game, while you wait for another online contest.
If you want quick, high energy and high scoring action on a shoestring budget, then this is the game for you. Stardunk is out now for $0.99. Get it on