Basketball is fun in itself, let alone arcade basketball where high-flying dunks are commonplace. With beat ’em up aspects like special attacks and other zany antics, Dunk Lords by Story Fort looks to revitalize the format made famous by the classic NBA Jam. Dunk Lords has its own spice with unique power-ups and a cash system to buy special items between quarters to ensure that no two games are the same. The question is: does it sink its shot from distance or shoot an airball?
Dunk Lords‘ story is a fairly basic but enjoyable one. You play as Slice and his friends as he goes on a quest to become a Dunk Lord, this game’s version of champion. You play 2 vs. 2 matchups against the whole roster of characters as one zany event follows another. Over the course of your journey you will look for a great legend, deal with a pirate, find a hidden basketball arena, and so on. With decent difficulty, the story won’t take you down any introspective paths but the story hits all the right notes for an arcade basketball game.
Here’s What I Liked:
A Diverse Roster – Dunk Lords boasts a roster of 16 unique characters with their own abilities, basic attacks, and charge attacks. You have your tall, guard-the-goal types all the way to your sharpshooters, so you can build a team around your play style. Each character has a great personality and really hits home with how they speak on the court and handle their issues.
Dunkworthy Gameplay – The beat ’em up elements added here do not diminish the gameplay of this a single bit. As far as arcade basketball titles go, they normally try to stick to traditional power-ups like super speed. Dunk Lords turns that premise on its head and includes power-ups that slow down time, zap your opponent from across the court, and more. It makes for a random, yet strategic, element that feels nice.
Here’s What I Didn’t Like:
Lack of Online – No online play is a hugely missed opportunity here. I would have loved to have a wild matchup with my friends online. I can only imagine the mayhem that would ensue with four of us duking it out on the court with all the abilities. Maybe it’ll be a consideration for future titles but I would have loved it here.
A Little More To Do – After finishing the story, your only options for continuing play are arcade mode and gauntlet. While gauntlet can add a difficulty spike, especially if you choose to not buy items between quarters, it’s essentially a hard mode that is replayable. A mode to add some more diversity in gameplay could have really put this over the top.
Dunk Lords is a very solid title with great gameplay at its heart. It takes that old school NBA Jam torch and runs with it and, more importantly, adds its own spin. It’s a fun time, especially if you have people to do couch co-op with. It’s an overall great time.
Score: Highly Recommended
Dunk Lords was developed and published by Story Fort LLC. The game released on July 16th, 2020 for $19.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.