I miss the links with the films. It didn’t seem like that long ago that with every hit movie that hit theaters, there was some kind of half-baked, tangentially bonded bond that tried to capitalize on the inevitable success of the film. Granted, most of them were a bit cheesy, but sometimes you find gold among the wrecks. Spider-Man 2 is still considered one of the best wallcrawler games ever made. Escape from Butcher Bay was a fantastic first-person game and a tie-in to Riddick, and although the movie launched almost 30 years before the game, Rockstar’s The Warriors was an absolute banger.
This is why the news of a link from Space Jam: A New Legacy, the aptly named Space Jam: A New Legacy – The Game was so interesting to me, especially since it is not actually of a basketball game: it’s an old-fashioned rhythm ’em up. The game sees LeBron James teaming up with Bugs and Lola Bunny to knock down some bots ‘snot and the Good Squad in a 3-player co-op beat’ em up. If you have two friends to play with locally, this could be a good distraction for about 45 minutes. Hey, it’s free with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate right now, and will be free to play on the Microsoft Store when it fully launches on July 15, so it’s hard to really complain about the length of the game.
The gameplay itself is decent, although it is a bit basic for the most part. Crushing the X button will launch combos that will cross most enemies in your path. There are other options, like the quick attack and jump kicks, which will allow you to create more improvised combos, although the main one that I have found is to just throw the opponent in the air and then juggling him with a jab until he dies or another enemy interrupts you by hitting you on the back of the head.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the game is the way it incorporates basketball into the beat ’em up game mechanics. No matter which character you’re playing with, you’ll always have access to a basketball, which you can pick up and throw at your opponent. In co-op, you can even pass the ball between players and hold down the attack button charges your throw which deals massive damage. It’s a unique perk that makes Space Jam feel somewhat connected to the movie it’s related to, and hitting a double-jump dunk on some fools is always quite satisfying.
Granted, it’s not the best beat’em up ever. In a choice between Space Jam: A New Legacy – The Game and Streets of Rage 4, I’ll be taking SoR every day of the week, especially with this new DLC on the way. Aside from a Hard Mode and a Boss Rush, there’s little replay value, and there’s not much depth in the overall gameplay, but again, it’s a free-to-play game that’s offered as a Game Pass Ultimate benefit. It’s about as optional as a game could be.
Still, it would’ve been easy to make a silly bonding game that’s not even good just to try and build hype for a new movie, but it’s clear that Digital Eclipse has put in some love and love. be careful in this game. This is not going to come close to the game of the year awards, but hey, if you are looking for something short to enjoy on a light weekend of gaming, the Space Jam game is not. not a bad cry.
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