If you are looking for a basketball game where you can test your own skills or challenge friends, all without unnecessary additions or extras, HOOP might be a title to pay attention to in 2016! In this simple, neat looking basketball game you can play six different game modes either solo or with a friend, trying to get the highest score possible on up to eight different maps.
HOOP is a new high score based, arcade sports game released both for Android and iOS systems, created by the developer PixelTurtle for 2016. This studio is not extremely well known, but you might have heard of them before thanks to their other titles: MOON and Metaball: Episode One. If you are having trouble finding them on the Apple App Store, it’s because they are on there under the name Red & Grey Media.
HOOP is rated with an average of 4.2/5 stars on the Google Play Store, while the version on the Apple App Store is less updated and doesn’t have enough ratings yet in 2016. The game has been downloaded between 100,000 and 500,000 times so far, although the general player reviews seem to be rather mixed. What might be the reason for this? Is the game not addictive enough for everyone? Let’s find out!
HOOP is a game title that is very descriptive, even more so than you would think at first. Since the game is all about trying to get as many basketballs into the hoop as possible, it clearly indicates the focus of the game. It’s also a title that is very simple and straight to the point, just like the game itself. In this game you won’t be managing a basketball team or playing real time sports, instead you will be able to take on six different game modes in race for the high score.
The first game mode that you will get to try out is called One-Play, and this is the most basic game mode available. In this mode you will get to pick one of five locations on the basketball court, determining where you will be aiming towards the hoop from. Upon picking the location you like the most, the game will count down from three, then the action begins. You will have 30 seconds to get as many balls into the hoop as possible, then you will be given a score based on your performance.
The controls to get the ball into the hoop are just as simple as the whole concept of the game. All you have to do is tap the screen and hold your finger on it while a power bar gets filled below the ball, then release whenever you wish. Based on how powerful the throw is, the ball will fly towards the hoop, hopefully landing in it, giving you one point. You can keep throwing balls one after another without any delay, but balls can hit eachother, possibly knocking themselves in the wrong direction.
The secondary game mode in HOOP is called Two-Player, which is exactly what you would guess. This mode is one in which you can challenge a friend by playing on the same device one after another. Whoever gets the highest score under their 30 seconds is the winner. Endless is the third mode, in which you start with 30 seconds left on the clock as usual, but whenever you score a point it adds two extra seconds. This means that if you are good enough you can extend the clock for a very long time.
Up comes the fourth game mode, Arcade. This is a challenging game mode, in which you have to face the computer, throwing balls towards the same hoop at the same time. Your goal here is simply to get more points under the time limit than the computer. This might not always be easy, as you can pick from four difficulties, which decide how well the computer aims.
If don’t want to play against the computer, then why not try the fifth mode of HOOP, called Duel? This is most similar to the Two-Play mode, as in you have to play against a friend. In this mode the first player will be presented with a target score, which they have to reach. When this happens, it’s the second player’s turn to do the same. Whoever fails to reach the target score gets to be punished by something written on the end game screen, such as “Drink 3 cups of water quickly!”.
Last but not least, there is the Contest mode. In this mode you have a maximum of 25 balls, separated into stacks of 5 balls all around the court. You have to start by throwing the balls from the left, then move onto the next stack when the previous are all gone, all the way until you reach and empty the stack on the right. You have 60 seconds to get as many point as you can.
To make things a bit more exciting in HOOP, you can decide to play on up to eight different maps in the game. Only two of these are unlocked in the beginning, but the rest can be accessed by paying a certain amount of coins for each. Coins are earned in each game mode, based on your overall score. These maps differ in color, style and sometimes even weather. Some of these are the park, nighttime park, beach, snowy city or the farm.
Other than these customization options, you can also choose from a selection of 10 differently colored balls for free, right from the beginning. These only change the ball visuals, but don’t have any gameplay effects.
Even though the game features the currency of coins, there are no in-app purchases in place that would allow players to purchase more coins. Instead the game focuses more on video ads, which appear after every third completed “level”. Unfortunately, you can’t disable these at the moment either.
Cheats & Tips for HOOP
Because of the lack of in-app purchases, the players of HOOP are definitely hungry for cheats allowing them to get coins at a faster rate than usual. There are a few of these cheats, tips and tricks around that you can take advantage of, and because searching for these would take up your precious time, I listed them right below instead!
The first and most repeatable of the cheats that you can find in the game is definitely the ability to watch an ad in exchange for 100 coins at any time. Just tap the little plus icon in the top right corner of the menu, wait until the video ad finishes playing, then enjoy the free coins!
Another similarly great cheat in HOOP is a one time bonus of 250 coins. To get this for free all you have to do is answer yes when the game asks if you want to rate it for a reward of 250 coins. The funny thing about this is that you don’t have to actually rate it, if you don’t want to. Just tap yes, then come back to the game right away, your reward will already be credited to your account!
Now, let me tell you about a trick that can be used against the computer. This is about the possibility of your ball and the computer’s ball hitting eachother, knocking themselves away from the hoop. You can actually use this in the Arcade mode to decrease the score of the computer by continously knocking its ball in the wrong direction. Just make sure you earn more points than the computer, then start denying his throws until the clock runs out!
The deceptively simple promise of HOOP is something that was probably the main factor for many of its players when deciding whether to give it a shot or not. A high score based sports game where landing basketballs in the hoop is all you have to do seems like a rather basic idea, but what if it ends up being extremely addictive? Because I had a feeling this could be a definite possibility, I chose to give the game a chance.
My first impression upon launching the game was that even though it was about simplified basketball, it felt very much like most other high score based titles. The Unity visuals and the uncomplicated menu design with only a few straightforward buttons didn’t leave much for the imagination. All that I had left here was to start the game and experience the gameplay.
I initially started out with the most basic One-Player game mode, but soon after getting the hang of the one touch ball throws, I moved from one mode to another, giving each of them at least one try. I must say I appreciate the fact that there are six different game modes to pick from, as even though not all of them differ that much from eachother, it’s still a nice variety. I liked both the solo modes that allowed me to challenge myself, as well as the two player and the versus computer modes, that were all about speed and precision.
The timed nature of HOOP also added to the excitement in each game mode, as 30 seconds is not a long time to score. This is why my favorite mode turned out to be Endless, as it allowed me to extend the clock by two seconds with each point. This is also the reason why I found this mode to be the most exciting, as being able to continue for longer depended on my throws only. I spent most of my game time playing this mode and trying to beat my high score, but I could imagine all the other modes to be rather competitive as well.
Now, for the customization options, this is something that I didn’t enjoy that much. The cost to unlock new maps is very high compared to how many coins can be earned in each game. Even in my best games I got around a maximum of 200-300 coins, while the most expensive map costs 5,000 coins alone. This means that if someone wants to unlock all of them, then it would take them quite a few hours. I’m not sure if the game would last that long, however, as the gameplay just doesn’t evolve over time.
The ability to pick from different balls is the secondary way to customize the gameplay of HOOP, but sadly the balls have no impact whatsoever, and since they are all free it also takes away any kind of possible progression from them. They are basically just reskins that don’t really matter at all.
Overall, HOOP is a very straightforward high score based basketball game, which has a good variety of game modes to play. The one touch gameplay is challenging to learn and even harder to perfect, which is great, but it can get repetitive after a while. So if you want a very simple basketball themed game, then this could be a good choice, but don’t expect anything fancy.
Artwork: The artwork of HOOP gets a 6/10. I wanted to like the visuals of this game for the most part, but sadly they are not that unique. They suffer a bit from the limitations of the Unity engine, which makes it look too similar to many other games released these days.
Music & SFX: The music and SFX of the game deserve an 8/10. The chill beat mixed with some synthetic sounds that plays throughout the menus of the game is interesting to listen to. The music stops when the actual game starts however, but fortunately the SFX are realistic enough to make up for it.
Story & Originality: For the originality of this title, I give it a 7/10. While the core one touch gameplay is nothing exceptional and has been seen many times before, the execution of the game is interesting to say the least, with six different game modes to play as a bonus.
General Gameplay: The general gameplay of HOOP gets a 6/10 from me. Thanks to the various game modes and the challenge rating of them, this is a game that can entertain most players for a while. Unfortunately, the high cost of unlocks and the core gameplay that always stays the same sets it back a bit.
Addictiveness: I award the addictiveness of the game with a 5/10. I can see this being addictive for the first hour, but after that most players will start wandering off. There are just no new things added over time, the gameplay stays the same, while the only thing that could change it up is too costy.
Overall Score: 6/10.