NBA 2K is the name in basketball simulations on consoles, and has really been the only choice on iOS. Each year we hope for the best and 2K has yet to really deliver the full flavor of a basketball sim on iOS. NBA 2K16 is another attempt, and there are quite a few changes in this year’s installment. It’s always interesting to look at our review from last year’s version, find the critiques, and see if 2K worked on those particular areas. Right off the bat, you can see a number of fixes for 2K16 to balance what the console version offers, and how iOS is played.
The biggest missing piece last year was season mode, and NBA 2K16 launches with the full 82 game season for all 30 teams for the 2015-16 season. The best part is that there are settings made for iOS allowing you to see the simulation quarter length for 12 minutes, and play game quarter length as low as 4 minutes if you want. You can customize the length of the season, but the best feature is the ability to save in-game progress so that you could quit with 3 minutes to go in the third quarter if something comes up, as often the case when playing on iOS. The progress saving is also included in the MyCareer mode, which was the best version from last year and continues the quality in 2K16. The season mode emphasizes five on five gameplay with a side perspective and nice flow, while MyCareer mode offers a third person behind the back perspective focusing on your player.
The modes are in place for 2K16, and it ultimately comes down to the basketball simulation gameplay. 2K16 is familiar to year’s past on iOS, and yet there’s an improved flow to the players with new individual animations. The biggest change is the inclusion of a dribble stick allowing you to pull off ankle breaker moves separate from the main movement control stick. There are on screen buttons for shot, pass, block, steal, and they get the job done to control the NBA action. The game still has some hiccups in tapping the wrong on screen button, or not having much control around the rim. With that said, the shooting system is improved to really give the player control for timing up the release of a shot. There are also a lot of little improvements, like being able to tap the pass button to fast forward the delay in between free throws and quitter breaks, which make it a self contained enjoyable basketball game on iOS.
NBA 2K16 ($7.99, Universal) is the first year that truly brings a basketball sim experience to iOS making it well worth picking up.