The NBA season doesn’t kick off until the end of October, but you can play some NBA action on your iOS device now with the release of NBA 2K17. Last year’s edition delivered the first sports simulation on iOS that was fully playable in its own right, and worth recommending. 2K17 builds upon the successfully release of 2K16, and enhances it in a number of ways, all while laughing at EA’s NBA Live Mobile.
NBA 2K17 starts off by giving you the full 2016-17 NBA schedule with all 30 officially licensed teams to choose from with updated rosters. You can play any individual game of the 82 game schedule of your favorite team, or choose to simulate any game along the way. You can also adjust the length of the season, and the length of the quarters to make a season that fits with the way you play on your iOS device. The game also continues the MyCareer mode allowing you to create your own player, and guide their path from college to the potential Hall of Fame. There’s also Blacktop mode to play a pick-up street game with any players ranging from one on one to five on five. The Blacktop mode allows for quick arcade action, and you can include legendary players on either team.
NBA 2K17 offers a great feature set with each mode delivering an entertaining and varied take on basketball. The heart of the game is the actual on court gameplay, and 2K offers all touch based new gameplay controls for 2K17. The major emphasis is the ability to swipe from the corner button to the smaller action buttons, so you can hold the sprint/dribble button, and then slide your finger to a pass or shot for a fluid offensive attack. The same works on defense, but you change from holding the defensive assist button to steal or block. You can also double tap a few buttons for special moves including post up, alley oop, and more. The touch system works quite well to control the action with the only hiccup being that the set screen button and pass button should be flipped for more distinct swipe pathways between pass and shoot. There are still times that you’ll look down at the on screen controls, or tap the wrong area. 2K17 does include support for third party controls for the traditional tactile feel.
What really stands out this year is that the actual game engine feels improved in a number of subtle ways. The biggest enhancement is that the on court action is just more fluid allowing you to pass to cutters, pull off fast breaks, and have some semblance of an offensive set. Last year, there were times that felt like you could only dribble around to try to create an opening, but this year you can drive and kick, post up and pass to a shooter, and draw a double team to pass to a cutter. There are a few times that a pass doesn’t go to the right player, but that’s an exception, not the rule. The player’s face models as well as the stands are improved as well to create an improved on the court experience. The MyCareer mode has the same behind the basket camera angle with great fluid motion for your player as you move all around the court. The Blacktop mode may be the most open to really see the smooth nature of the basketball gameplay.
NBA 2K17 ($7.99, Universal) is the best sports simulation on iOS which delivers a complete basketball experience for touch devices. The iOS version doesn’t rival the console counterpart, but fully stands by itself as a worthwhile experience that is a must have in the App Store.