NBA Infinite preview: Onto a winner

NBA Infinite preview: Onto a winner
Images via Level Infinite

Written by 

Joshua Boyles

Published 

31st Jan 2024 15:00

If you’re looking for a licensed NBA game to play on mobile, you’re spoiled for choice. Between offerings from EA, 2K, and Com2uS, there’s a version of portable basketball for pretty much any scenario.

So how does Level Infinite look to capture the market with its latest officially licensed NBA mobile game, NBA Infinite? The answer lies in slick gameplay, with an engaging gameplay loop that tasks players with building up their ideal fantasy basketball team. There are a few ideas that are clearly borrowed from industry-leading titles, but first impressions are that this latest basketball outing could be the game that breaks the mould.

Jack of all trades

NBA Infinite press art
Click to enlarge

From a brief preview play session with NBA Infinite, it’s clear that there are plenty of moving parts to its gameplay. Depending on how you’d like to play, there are various game modes to engage with, including PvP matches ranging between 1v1 to 5v5, or a simpler shoot-out style mode in which you need to score as many hoops as possible in a certain time frame.

Whichever mode you choose to play will earn you experience, levelling up a battle pass-esque progression metre that unlocks new items and, crucially, players to add to your roster line-up. This is where the collectathon mechanics come into play, which is easy to compare to the MyTEAM mode in the popular 2K games.

However, building up your dream NBA team seems to be tied much more intrinsically in Infinite, with each player having their own unique skill traits and abilities. With Infinite being officially licensed, all the players are perfectly realised, with accurate character models that enable you to clearly identify them on the court, even on the smaller screens of some devices.

We weren’t given a clear rundown of how the microtransactions will work in NBA Infinite, and we can imagine that if you want to pump plenty of cash into its unlock mechanics, then you probably can. However, from our brief play session, it did seem like we were unlocking new cosmetics and even new players at a fairly rapid pace.

Practice makes perfect

NBA Infinite Gameplay
Click to enlarge

As a fairly new player of basketball games, the mode I ended up finding the most fun in was the Training sessions. These serve as excellent tutorials for all the game’s mechanics, which have you passing, defending, shooting, and going for layups in quick succession.

There’s a dedicated one for each mechanic in the game, each ensuring that you pass a certain challenge so that you understand how it all works before allowing you to progress. It works fantastically, and by the time I’d worked my way through all of them, I felt like I was at least fairly competent on the court against other players in the room.

What’s also striking about the game is how tight its controls feel. Hardcore players may still wish to plug in a mobile controller, but the onscreen joystick and buttons felt natural to use, with my player always performing exactly what I asked them to.

Live the lifestyle

NBA Infinite player laying up a shot
Click to enlarge

Overall, I can see how NBA Infinite’s gameplay loop could fit in with the daily lifestyle of a mobile gamer. The matches and game modes are fairly quick, as you’re able to rattle through a fair few of them in the space of 10 to 15 minutes. The unlocks earned in those game modes then feed into the fantasy teambuilding aspect, which involves strategy and commitment over a longer period of time.

I find that the best mobile games cater to whichever amount of time you currently need to fill. Five minutes waiting for a train? That’s enough time for a quick round of shootout. Half an hour in a doctor's waiting room? More than enough time for a couple of matches and some tinkering with your fantasy team.

Final Thoughts

While I’m not a regular basketball player myself, I can see how NBA Infinite could slot right into my daily routine like a glove. It’s something that other mobile basketball games haven’t quite managed to capture, which is why it seems like NBA Infinite is onto a winner.

NBA Infinite launches on Android and iOS devices on February 17, 2024.

Joshua is the Guides Editor at GGRecon. After graduating with a BA (Hons) degree in Broadcast Journalism, he previously wrote for publications such as FragHero and GameByte. You can often find him diving deep into fantasy RPGs such as Skyrim and The Witcher, or tearing it up in Call of Duty and Battlefield. He's also often spotted hiking in the wilderness, usually blasting Arctic Monkeys.

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