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A jam submission

Basketball 2View game page

The sequel to everyone's favorite street game!
Submitted by Some Brothers Studio — 1 hour, 52 seconds before the deadline

Play game

Basketball 2's itch.io page

Results

CriteriaRankScore*Raw Score
Community Choice#273.4213.900

Ranked from 10 ratings. Score is adjusted from raw score by the median number of ratings per game in the jam.

Judge feedback

Judge feedback is anonymous.

  • Basketball 2, the sequel to Basket Ball, and not to be confused with the other Basketball 2, is an isometric tactics game that pits two teams of elite... Basketballerinas? in a potentially non-death-defying dual to score ultimately at most 6 points I guess. This game has some legs to it that it misses out on capitalising on - you should check it out, as it's an idea that I'm sure people would like to see more of.

    Liked

    • Pleasantly quirky aesthetic
    • Presents a non insurmountable challenge to the player
    • Theme usage is decent

    Needs Work

    • Control optimisation
    • Needs more wrapping around the game modes
    • Game Balance regarding aggressiveness

    There are 2 big barriers to this game when you first get into it. The first is controlling your team feels like a lot of hard work. I feel like this would feel much better as mouse/touch control with drag-to-move - Basket ball is a fast sport and it felt like I was clodhopping around the controls trying to work out which guys had moves left and if I was worth my time to try and use them - I wanted shorter snappier turns. The second is that the guy with the ball can move an extra space, which means that you simply can not chase them down and aggression can be literally unbeatable as a tactic as you can often set yourself up to be behind the enemy line on the first turn. Perhaps you could look to using Passing more mechanically?

    After the tutorial, you're dropped right into your first game, and you are really not prepared for it - I'm going to say most people will lose that first game. I think you really want to work on this opening because it feels super harsh. I had a lot more fun on the modes where there were obstacles I could try and use to my advantage and the team members were more spread out. I also found it easier to formulate plans in these modes. If I restart the game to play again though, I have to start back at the beginning of the cycle, it would be nice to be able to chose a level from the content that is there at least, with a dream to maybe have a little story/progression (2 on 2 going up to the big leagues, perhaps).

    I really want to sing this game's praises, it's a cool idea and I like tactics games, and it seems pretty well made - it really has a lot going for it, but I think something just isn't quite there with it gameplay wise. Maybe the playfield needs to be bigger or model the flow of match a bit more closely rather than the more sudden death 3 period style, but unfortunately something feels a little off which hurts that fun factor. I can tell you wanted to get sillier with it, and I certainly would have loved to see you lean into the TTG genre with a futuristic fantasy world where basketball warriors face of with this as the defacto solution to conflicts.

Elevator pitch
BASKETBALL - but i's only dunking, turn-based, and made by amateurs.

Describe how your game adheres to the theme
Nobody asked for an isometric, turn-based game that sequelized basketball. And yet, we made it.

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Comments

Submitted

This was pretty enjoyable, although I ran into some bugs.  I liked that I was actually planning 'plays' after a while, though I never got the hang of defense. The AI really was done well.

Issues i ran into (Mac version on High Sierra on a pretty old laptop):

Some animations went way too fast - dribbling was crazy, and I think some transition screens flashed by too quickly too; I'm not even sure if there was something to see. The tutorial also had problems of this sort; I couldn't quite follow it. Luckily I could figure out the game easily enough.

On defense, one of my players got pushed into the lava, and then the game never switched to my side. It was as if waiting for the AI to terminate its move, or maybe trying to start my move with a dead player.

Developer

Hm, thanks for the feedback. I've never played the Mac build. One of our developers kind of made it on a whim. I wonder if there was some weirdness there. 

I found the game takes a little getting used to but I had a surprisingly decent time playing turn-based Basketball! I'm not very good at tactical games so I may not be the best judge of this, but I felt like the AI was brutally difficult in the first game then it kind of was a pushover in subsequent levels. 

My thoughts on what might it better include better or more consistent feedback that any player on the field still has remaining moves. It seems like its meant to be that dudes that are brighter and jigglin are the ones with moves left but this system seems to break randomly.

While the AI is very difficult, it does feel very well made. I imagine its gonna be a rarity to make a comment on a game-jam game that the AI is too good lol. 

Interface was solid, though I was initially confused how to actually start a move on a selected player. Cancelling also needs to be clearer, I'm not sure anywhere indicated that hitting escape would cancel a move, Some kind of undo feature might be appreciated too for accidentally confirming bad moves.

Developer (2 edits) (+1)

Hey, thanks for the feedback and thanks for playing!

I agree with your comment on the AI difficulty. I think I may have over-tuned it to the level 1 stage. It's essentially applying the same tactics no matter what stage it's on, but the impassable terrain on stages 2 and 3 definitely mess with their plans. It feels kind of weird, but I wonder if I should have swapped level 1 and 3. At one point I considered making the AI a little less aggressive on offense in level 1 because you have to make basically no errors or they will dunk on you (literally). 

The player move indicator was a struggle for us in development. You weren't seeing a bug; you were seeing an edge case. Essentially players can move and "attack" once per turn, so we turn off the highlight once they've done both. However... technically you can move and have no options to attack right now. But if another teammate pushes an opponent into you, you can then take a push attack action (or a pass if you're passed the ball). So we can't really turn off their highlight after just moving. Or, rather, we could, but we lose some strategy and potentially frustrate players the other way. It's an annoying issue. We talked about adding color coding or icons, but I didn't like the increased complexity of adding weird iconography.

Good point on pressing Esc to cancel out of movement options. Definitely it could make sense to include the text "Press Esc to Cancel" in the bottom left when you're choosing. I agree with your opinion on Undo as well. It's annoying to make a bad move by accident or whatever. Since there's no RNG, it should technically be allowed to just totally go back to the beginning of your turn if you want to play it differently as well as going back player actions. This feature idea crossed my mind during development, but it was a touch too annoying to code so I didn't get around to it. RIP.

Thanks again for your time and feedback!

Submitted

This is a really nice game. The AI is good and the game play works well. Everything feels polished and well thought out.

Developer

Thanks, Tom.

Submitted

This game is great - really like the aesthetic, the gameplay is challenging and (as cyrus mentioned), the AI seems really well done and fair. I could seriously see this being ported to a mobile device fairly easily, since having selection / movement as touch might even make it more intuitive and avoid the confusion with movement direction. A couple things I felt were missing might be a level select screen - I'm not great at these types of games and being able to go back and pick up where I left off would have been appreciated. Also, the tutorial didn't explain the selection process / controls exactly, so it took me a minute to figure out how to select (I was originally trying to select with the mouse. Doh!).

All in all, great job!

Developer(+1)

That's a fair point about selecting a player. I think the tutorial should probably explicitly have a line like "Hover the cursor over xyz and press space to select". I saw a tester or two struggle with that for a moment, but I was maybe too quick to write it off like "Well, people have played Fire Emblem and know how to handle these types of controls, hopefully.." But I think it's an actual point of friction that could be smoothed away fairly easily. 

A few people have said that about a mobile device, but I don't see it. Part of that is because originally we had mouse controls and you would click on the character then click the space to select it or what have you, and it was actually kind of visually weird to be trying to click on a tile behind players' sprites. That's part of why we ended up going with cursor control at the end of the day. I've said it to other commenters, but, ugh, I feel very burned by the isometric perspective in a lot of ways. 

Thanks a lot for giving our game a shot, though! 

Submitted (2 edits)

I never thought I would love an isometric turn based tactical RPG version of basketball, but here we are! The concept is silly, but the mechanics actually end up being rather interesting. A strong focus on positioning and planning which tickles the right parts of my brain.

My one request, is please make it so I can use the numpad, I alway have trouble wrapping my brain around the keys being rotated 90º, and being able to use 1,3,7,9 on the numpad to directly translate to the directions would have helped me a lot. If you add that let me know so I can download it again, I do enjoy it!

Developer

Thanks for the kind words. I went back and forth on the keyboard controls. At one point, I had it set so that up was always "towards the net" on both offense and defense but some testers were confused by that. And then some testers were confused by the current implementation as well, where the perspective never changes.. My main takeaway is to avoid isometric in the future, ha.. 

Submitted (1 edit)
Pros:
  • Interesting mechanic and take on basketball 2.0
  • Colourful, energetic and mechanically sound makes a quite engaging experience
  • Nice introduction to a narrative which establishes the use of theme
Cons:
  • Camera angle is a tad steep and at first makes distance or coverage difficult to gauge
  • Music a bit repetitive for length of the game as a whole
  • Can't move through holes in the ground while selecting, have to traverse around them
Here & There:

I really like this take on evolving basketball into a dunktacular (in contrast to basketball's trend of the last few years) and the turn-based strategy mechanic really suits it. I lost my first game because I couldn't stop the other team and so we tied, but I managed to get a shut-out by game three which I was quite happy with. By the end of it I was totally used to the controls and had strategy in mind thanks in part to the very simple and straight-forward tutorial at the start. In what I know cannot be intentional because no one knows about it, this reminds me a lot of a certain Ukrainian cartoon I watched several times in my childhood called the Like the Cossacks where they played futbol against national stereotypes and was sorta implied turn-based. You can watch that here if you want, it's a thing... no dialogue. Anyways, ignoring that weird tidbit this was a solid entry with clear goals and mechanics that made sense, and despite the CPU surprising me a few times with its intelligence, they were also predictable enough to figure out how to beat and that was satisfying. Very well done!

Developer

Thanks for the write-up! 

Originally this was going to be more like basketball. So, like, any given time you had an X% chance to score if you take a shot minus X% from nearby defenders, etc. So I had that totally coded out before I realized, wow this isn't fun. So I ironed out the game rules with a friend on a checkers board. 

Wish we could have had more narrative. That was a run-out-of-time issue. I don't think we leaned into the ridiculousness enough. 

Totally agree on the camera angle. We used Final Fantasy Tactics as a camera angle base, but I think it doesn't work super well in a game where it's totally flat. Makes you realize how much those games used terrain verticality. Early on I was cursing that isometric decision, but we already had so many sprites. We tried things like making the tiles larger, but nothing really alleviated the issue. If I had a magic wand I would probably do a top-down view. Make it more tactical, or whatever. 

I would have totally added a cursor "jump across holes" feature, but we added that stage literally on the last day, and I was scared to, ha.. 

The AI I think might be too cruel on newcomers. I thought about making it a little stupider on offense turn 1 level 1 because, as is, they will go absolutely ham and you basically have to make 0 mistakes on defense. The AI isn't quite as good when holes or lava are involved, though. I may have coded around the level 1 too much. 

Submitted

this rocks, really a big fan of the polish and the art style. i was surprised by how smart the enemy AI felt, thats tough to do under time constraints I imagine.

Developer (1 edit)

Thanks! I had never done this type of AI before. I had a lot of fun making it. Generally my AI are "walk at player" types. It was cool doing more of a behavior tree implementation.