HoopWorld (WiiWare)

Game Review

HoopWorld Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Jon Wahlgren

Fouled by the W-word

Streamline Studios' HoopWorld has been a long time coming. Originally announced as an Xbox Live Arcade title back in 2005 and looking like an odd Power Stone/sports hybrid, it's finally seen release on WiiWare in slightly scaled-back form as a 3-on-3 arcade basketball game.

There's a hokey backstory to do with primal energy or something, and as a result seven teams of caricatures decide to go play basketball in locales as diverse as the jungle, Olympian courtyards and somewhere that must be inside a volcano judging from the lava. Using an assortment of power-ups and elbows to the face, you and a friend can take on a four-round Tournament, play until you lose in Survival (and upload the result to an online board), or just jump in to Quickplay for a pick-up game, picking up unlockables as you go along.

The AI can be devious on the higher of the four difficulties and feels challenging instead of cheap, which is both unusual and appreciated for this type of game. Also welcome is the visual style; it's all very cartoony and exaggerated, befitting of the genre and looking very nice to boot. Each team is given a theme of sorts, and you've got your hardcore bikers, amazons, and even an emo team named Sylent Tragedy. The audio package is right there with the visual style, bringing bouncy tunes and satisfying swooshes.

For a quick fix of over-the-top sporting action, it's not bad. But that isn't to say that everything is peachy, or that we can wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone. So what went wrong?

The controls. They aren't near what they should be and fall victim to the most annoying tendency for Wii games. For starters, the button layout felt quite unintuitive and confusing to this reviewer. Changing players is done with Z whereas using an item is the A button's job; years of switching players with A is tossed out the window for no apparent reason. It's an issue that you might not run into yourself (depending on your wiring) and thus won't care, but one other thing you might care about is the incessant waggling. Passing, punching and shooting/dunking are all motion-based; passing isn't so bad and shooting turns out to be more satisfying than you might expect, but punching to swipe the ball is exceptionally annoying.

The problem is that it's your only real line of defense (discounting certain power-ups), so whenever your opponent has possession you'll swat and swat away until you (hopefully) knock 'em over. There's no guarantee that you'll even hit anybody or that your knock will have any effect either, and more often than not you'll go careening away from where you intended. If anything is worse than needless waggle, it's impotent needless waggle. These control issues don't make HoopWorld unplayable, but they're significant enough to add a lot of frustration to what is otherwise a pretty fun game.


HoopWorld is not a bad choice for a quick and cheap round of arcade basketball, and those blessed souls willing to overlook the flawed controls might find themselves having a pretty good time. For everyone else, especially the motion control averse, you're probably better off waiting for EA's NBA Jam revival.

From the web

User Comments (19)



fishman100 said:

If they decide to have a demo available I'll give it a spin. (pun intended-I'm sorry, I suck at making puns)



gaminguy said:

well, not one I think i'll get, unless i'm bored to death and I have spear points that I have nothing better to spend them on (not gonna happen)



Splat said:

Like I said in the thread on this game if NBA Jam wasn't coming out I would be interested but since it is not so much.



WolfRamHeart said:

Thanks for the review Panda. It sounds like a fun game but the controls are the deal-breaker for me. If only it had an option for different control schemes. I still might consider picking this one up later on. Is there much in the way of replay value such as unlockables? Any idea as to what kind of DLC will be made available?



dizzy_boy said:

does hoop world have a classic contoller option?
because that may sway my decision to get this when it comes to europe.



BulbasaurusRex said:

According to the official website, there are 6 unlockables tied to success in Tournament Mode: the ability to play on 2 of the courts and with one of the teams in Quickmatch Mode, a Crazy difficulty for Tournament Mode, and 2 surprises.



MikeyMikeMike said:

So sad when a game is ruined by waggle. Seriously, how hard is it to include additional control options....I wanted to get this game.....oh well, NBA Jam it is.



HiroshiYamauchi said:

Fair score. This game is very fun and you can get used to the waggle, i recommend this title instead of Furry Legends, for exemple.



Boonehams said:


It looks like a fun game. Hearing the gripes, however, make me wish that demos were available. It could make or break my decision as to whether I'd buy it or not.



jbrodack said:

Nicely done review. I looked into this game and it seemed a bit more interesting in its early xbla form with the courts more varied and much different than normal basketball courts.

Also, once I heard about the waggle controls I lost a lot of interest. Why not at least give an option of "classic" controls?

Anyway, still looks like a decent game but could have been better with some tweaks.



BulbasaurusRex said:

The waggle can't ruin the controls too badly if the game got a 7. I was expecting a 6 and would've understood a 5 after reading about the control problems.



CanisWolfred said:

@Bulbasaurus Rex

If that's what you thought then that's what it is. The score doesn't matter, all that does matter is how you interpret the review itself. If it sounds like a 6 to you, then that's what it is.

Anywho, I'm just waiting for NBA Jam, assuming I don't get the Genesis version beforehand (which I probably will).



BulbasaurusRex said:

I went ahead and got it. Personally, I don't mind the "waggle" used to attack opponents. The controls used for jumping (to block shots) and for precision shooting are the ones I don't really like, although they aren't too bad, and you call always just choose to make regular shots instead of attempting precision shots.



ClothFar said:

After buying the game I must say it's more fun than I expected. I've spent enough hours in complete it (the last difficulty it's really hard) it reminds me of a mix between Mario Kart, Street Hoops and NBA Jam, very fun to play with friends. It needs online!

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