E3 2012 First Look: NBA Baller Beats
Over the course of the Kinect era, we have seen a ton of innovative ways to partake in controller free gameplay. Dancing, exercise, and music games have been a big draw, and Majesco entertainment is taking these genres to a whole new level with NBA Baller Beats.
The game uses a real basketball and requires players to dribble the ball to the beat of pop, dance, and hip-hop songs. Not only does this game tone your basketball handling skills, but it works up quite a sweat as well. It’s the first Kinect game to use an object along with your movement. In fact, the game tracks the ball, not just your body when playing.
At first, I was sucked into this game. The concept is really intriguing, the music is perfect for the game, and it just looks incredibly fun while still being challenging. But as I continued to watch the demo, it dawned on me that it was being played on a hard surface to resemble a basketball court. This left me with one big question: How will this game play on carpet in someone’s living room?
Other demo areas for the game had carpet set up to show how it works, but the carpet was very thin and was something you’d find in a hotel room rather than a home. Not to mention, anyone that has tried bouncing a basketball on carpet knows it requires much more effort. A three minute song can become torturous for the arms in a matter of seconds, and the game doesn’t take this into account.
When you think about it, this is a pretty significant issue. Although the game is technically still playable on any surface, there are a lot of factors that come to mind. For example, if you are playing in your room upstairs or in an apartment, at some point the people below you are going to get annoyed. There is one solution to this problem however. The kinect will pickup movement on any type of ball that is relatively the same size as a basketball. But this brings up another issue. Although a red dodge ball is about the size of a basketball, it is much lighter, which would theoretically make the game easier. The kinect doesn’t take this into account.
Overall, NBA Baller Beats is a really cool concept and would be perfect for a home gym or an arcade. But putting it in the homes of everyone who has a kinect is a little unpractical.