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Review: 3-Point Skills Challenge for iPhone

3Point Skills Challenge for iPhone

As those of you who have read this blog for any length of time will already know, I ‘m a big sports fan, and a big fan of iPhone sports games as well.  Basketball has been a particular favorite “ to play and watch “ since I was very young.

I like following NCAA and NBA basketball “ and the 3-Point Shootout during the NBA ‘s annual All Star Weekend is always one of my favorite things to watch (along with the Slam Dunk contest of course).  So the 3-Point Skills Challenge app for the iPhone is just the sort of challenge I ‘m looking for.

What Does It Do?

Here ‘s a little slice of the App Store description:

3-Point Skills Challenge brings one of the most exciting events of the Basketball All-Star Weekend to your iPhone.  Stake your claim to the title as you compete in increasingly competitive rounds of tournament mode and see if you have what it takes to become the ultimate 3-point marksman.

Bring it on “ I love the sound of that.

And here are some of the app ‘s features:

  • Choose from 60 different players, each based on real NBA players.  See if you can figure out who ‘s who. 
  • Each player has a different shot rhythm, athletic ability, and accuracy.  See who ‘s the best and try to master different players.
  • 4 different modes including Quick Play, Practice, Exhibition, and Tournament for big-time re-playability.
  • Play with up to 8 of your friends in pass-and-play mode.
  • Easy one finger shot mechanic.

The game is simple and easy to get into.  The main screen lets you choose to view Records (your high scores), get Help (which you very likely won ‘t need), go to Options, or just choose your mode of play.

3-Point Skills Challenge

The modes of play are:

Practice “ where there ‘s no timer or limit on number of shots, and no score being kept.  This is where you go if you want to try to get used to the controls or work on your game 🙂

Quick Play “ if you don ‘t feel like having to choose which player you are, or who your opponent is, go for this mode.  It just fires up a new head-to-head game with those choices made for you.

Exhibition “ choose the player you want to be, and an opponent, for a head to head matchup with just one round of shooting each.

Tournament “ the ultimate test.  You ‘re up against 8 opponents and only the top four scorers from Round 1 make it through to the semi-finals and, if you finish in the top two, all the way to the final.

Tournament

You ‘ve got a wide range of players to choose from, with some funny nicknames for lots of them as well.  Some of them seem easy to match up with a real-life NBA player (current or from the past) while others are beyond my guessing ability.  So far, my favorite two to play as are ‘Rad Reggie ‘ (hoping it ‘s Reggie Miller) and ‘Rainbow Ray ‘ (hoping it ‘s Ray Allen).

ChooseaPlayer

Once you ‘ve chosen your player (or chosen Quick Play) you get a countdown timer (from 3 seconds) to let you know when you can start shooting. Then you move around the five racks of balls, trying to hit as many 3-pointers and rack up as many points as you can within 60 seconds.  Each rack contains five balls.  Just as in the NBA ‘s event, four of the balls are regular brown leather and count for one point each, and the final ball in each rack is red, white, and blue and is the ‘money ball ‘, worth two points.

To grab a ball from the rack, you tap once on the big ball icon in the bottom right corner of the screen. To jump, you tap and hold on the ball icon while holding the basketball “ and to shoot, you release your finger from the ball icon.  The goal is to shoot the ball right at the highest point of your jump, which will get you the best results.

One of the useful tips included in the Help section (which I only read when doing this review, but had pretty much sussed out on my own) is that you want to try to shoot quickly, but not too quickly.  If you go too quickly, your player gets fatigued and his shooting accuracy is decreased.

Trying to get a into a rhythm where I am grabbing the next ball very quickly, but taking time over each shot, is what seems to work best for me “ but I ‘m not a very good player yet, so you will hopefully find a better method.

What Does It Do Welll?

It ‘s very easy to play.  I ‘d never looked at the Help until I sat down to do this review.  It was easy and intuitive to just jump right in with 3-Point Skills Challenge. 

All of the game modes are named in an obvious way, and each of them are useful. I ‘ve used the Practice mode a few times to try to sharpen up my shooting.  My favorite mode right now is Exhibition “ as I ‘m just not good enough yet to get past the first round very often in Tournament mode “ my top scores tend to be right around the 20 mark “ while most of the time the top four in Round One of a tournament are all hitting 28-30 points.

Score

The controls work superbly.  This sounds odd to say, but the motion of jumping and then releasing the ball feels quite natural “ and the results really do go badly when you chuck the ball up as you ‘re coming down or mis-time things. The more I concentrate on getting the release just right, the better my shooting goes.

The sound effects are fun “ from the ball bouncing off the rim, to voices in the crowd shouting ‘brick ‘ when you throw up something ugly, to the sweet swish sound when you get it right.

The game is quite challenging (no pun intended) “ at least for me.  I ‘ve been playing it for a few weeks now (not every day and not in crazy long sessions, but often) “ and I ‘m not even out of Rookie mode, the lower of its two difficulty settings.  And I ‘ve yet to win a tournament “ so there ‘s lots of scope for more practice and more games.

What ‘s Not So Good?

Apart from my shooting under pressure

The Records section only shows your best scores.  There ‘s no ‘social ‘ element, no ability to submit your scores online or similar.

The game does not remember your place at all when you exit out of it, or offer any save option when exiting.  So any time you leave the app and then go back to it, you ‘ve got to start from scratch.

There ‘s also no way to save one or more favorite players that you like to use the most.  I think that would be quite a good feature “ as I ‘ve definitely found there are a few I like to play as much more than others, and it ‘s a nuisance having to choose them again every time I play.

Overall

3-Point Skills Challenge is a very good game.  The controls are comfortable and natural feeling, and the various play modes offer good and challenging game play.

If you ‘re a fan of the NBA 3-Point Shootout, and fancy yourself a bit of a hot shooter from downtown, this one is definitely worth a go.

You can find 3-Point Skills Challenge in the App Store, priced at $1.99.

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