With Space Jam: A New Legacy coming out tomorrow, it only felt natural to check out the tie-in game on Xbox. Digital Eclipse has been working on this project for a while now, and at one point even held a contest to suggest gameplay ideas. However things came about, it turned into this little retro-style beat ’em up title. Space Jam: A New Legacy – The Game is a free title, and while it officially launches today, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members have had access for the past two weeks. Is it worth checking out? Well as long as you don’t have high expectations, we definitely think so.
Space Jam: A New Legacy – The Game is a simple title that tasks players with gathering three disks of the Legacy Code. With this code, the Tune Squad can make their way to the villainous Al-G Rhythm and take him down. Of course, it won’t be easy, as he’ll send a plethora of robots and the Goon Squad to stand in your way. Playing as Bugs Bunny, Lola Bunny, and of course, LeBron James, you’ll use punches, kicks, and basketball skills to complete your mission.
Gameplay is pretty simple, but does a good job replicating the beat ’em ups of yore. The X button will be your standard attacks, which will allow you to combo. Pressing X and A at the same time will be a special attack that costs life on your health bar. The Y button will activate a Space Jam card, summoning a Looney Tune for a special ability like creating a fire wall or activating super speed. These cards require a bit of charging before use, so players can’t spam them. Finally, you have the basketball mechanic, which allows players to toss the ball into enemies. Players can charge this shot, delivering a powerful attack, or they can even pass it to other players in multiplayer. Jump with a charged ball in the air, and you can launch a slam attack as well.
While the combat isn’t the deepest there is in the genre, it’s still pretty fluid and responsive. Even with the simple controls, that doesn’t mean there’s no depth. The game encourages juggling enemies after launching them in the air. Practice it enough and you’ll likely be able to keep an enemy in the air for their entire health bar. Most enemies will be pretty basic, but some offer some additional strategy. One enemy will catch your basketball if you don’t give it a charge, and it’ll dish it back right at you. Another will drop bombs that will explode after some time. There’s not a ton of enemy variety, with only six enemies in the entire game. Regardless, it’s a quick little pick-up-and-play title.
As for bosses, there’s only three that you’ll have to face. This includes the two Goon Squad members The Brow and White Mamba, and Al-G himself. The Goon Squad doesn’t pose much challenge, and they go down quick to a few charged basketballs. Al-G is a much more challenging fight, only because he can only be attacked at certain points in the fight. If you feel like you can take them all on without issue, you can even jump into the Boss Rush mode. While the game has less than ten enemies total, a single playthrough will only take about 30 minutes. At least the game has local multiplayer for friends to play together, though an online mode would’ve been appreciated.
Visually, the game has some ups and downs. Going for the retro look, the game is well animated with the pixel art style. While characters and enemies look pretty good, some elements don’t hold the same quality. The Space Jam cards for example all have very flat looking pixel art, lacking highlights and shadow. This is unusual when the art for the main characters does have these extra details. Environments also range from high to low quality, with some areas lacking detail while others are much nicer. If you look closely, you’ll even see a couple Easter Eggs. With that in mind, the game could’ve used a few more references, given than the movie it’s based on is a smorgasbord of cameos.
As for sound, the game has short little voice clips for the three playable characters. This helps to give them a little personality, even if you seldomly hear them. Al-G and the Goon Squad also have a bit to say, though overall, the game doesn’t rely much on voice work. The story is all done through text boxes, which has a lot of little jokes here and there, though nothing that I would say is outrageously funny. The music itself is also pretty good, though it’s interesting that it avoids any licensed music. Each stage has its own music, adding to the production value, but there isn’t much more beyond that.
For a freebie, Space Jam: A New Legacy – The Game can help kill an hour or so with some friends. Better yet, it has a full 1,000 gamerscore that’s pretty easy to obtain. While it’s not the best looking visually, it’s polished enough and plays well, which is what counts most. It’s hard to say what the game would be worth with a price on it, but for the low price of free, there’s not a lot to complain about. The game is better than it has any right to be as long as you don’t expect a masterpiece. With that in mind, if you have an Xbox and a couple friends, it’s definitely worth playing through at least once.
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