|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Data Design Interactive||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Bold Games (Destineer)||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan.2, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
Kidz Sports Basketball brings neighborhood 3-on-3 hoops to the Nintendo Wii. This is a budget title that uses the motion controls of both the Wii remote and the Nunchuk attachment. The game is rated E for Everyone, but don't let the rating fool you. This game was designed exclusively for young children. Adults and teenagers alike will find it to be painfully boring and frustratingly inaccurate. However, youngsters will probably love the cute presentation and mindless gameplay.
The emphasis on simplicity is apparent throughout the title. This makes menu navigation and gameplay easy for anyone. I just wish that the menu selections weren't so close together. The item proximity mixed with the jittery IR of the Wii remote complicates things a bit. Other than that, the straightforward layout and game design is a plus for children. There are only a few modes of undemanding play so there is no need for kids to worry about trades, rosters, substitutions, bling, and salary caps. This is more or less driveway basketball that's set on a full court. It's wholesome entertainment about which parents won't have to worry.
The Exhibition Match is a quick play mode where you can take on either the computer or a friend and set specific parameters. The Knockout Cup is a traditional, single elimination, playoff -style tourney. The Tournament Cup has you take on seven other teams in a round robin format. You'll accrue points for draws and wins against the competition. The top two teams then advance to the final. Finally, there is a Mini-games mode where mini-game content will be unlocked as you progress through the tournaments.
The Exhibition Match will probably get the most use for the majority of young gamers due to the multiplayer aspect and the ability to modify the game parameters. Sadly, playing against the computer really isn't any fun, and having to slog through six minute quarters is truly painful. You'll have to devote nearly a half an hour to complete one game of kiddy basketball. To top it all off, the A.I. is atrocious. The competition will constantly heave up half court shots only to have them drop three feet short. You can select the level of difficulty, but all this really modifies is shot accuracy. The A.I. will still make bonehead plays, but somehow they'll be able to pull it off at higher levels.
The Knockout and Tournament Cups are good for a single play through, but again you'll be forced into playing 24 minute games. This makes winning tournaments challenging indeed. If you're eight years old or a freelance videogame writer, upon completing the tournaments you'll receive points that you can then use to open up new teams. This is a nice idea, but the game loses all of its novelty long before the vast majority of gamers can build up enough points to unlock their second squad. Maybe a child could bang his head against the wall long enough to open up more of them, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. Speaking of knocking your head against the wall, the mini-games are an abomination that literally can't pass for fun. Passing, not throwing, a set of basketballs weakly into a pyramid of bottles, stacked boxes, and TV sets is no one's idea of a good time no matter what the age.