Rival Stars Basketball
Does this card collecting game swish or air ball?
Card collecting and battling games seem to be all the rage when it comes to mobile devices right now. Rival Stars Basketball is no different from the rest of the pack, an energetic arcade basketball title from PikPok that's a ton of fun when you're getting started, but eventually falls victim to frustrating timers.
Rival Stars Basketball finds you collecting cards that correspond to your basketball players, and like Pokemon, you can combine and evolve them to play better and give them extra abilities. Whenever you're in a match you need to pick a card and hope that it can outdo your opponent's choice. It's not always easy, but it's certainly fun.
Every so often, you'll get a quick time event where you'll have to catch the ball, pass it, or perform another basketball-related task in order to complete your turn. The game doesn't always solely rely on cards to get things done, and that's part of its charm, especially for the campaign mode that pits you against other AI-controlled players as your rank slowly rises.
While arranging your cards and creating a formidable team is fun, as is collecting them, you have to worry about energy bars and timers that get in the way of having fun. It's a common pitfall for these types of games, but they're absolutely intrusive here, frustratingly so. When you're in the middle of a headed series of matches and you're forced to stop what you're doing in order to wait for your energy to fill back up. It's no way to ensure players will continue to come back, and no way to build a game that relies on keeping things snappy.
Rival Stars Basketball has plenty going for it, but it's wrought with frustrating mechanics that make it a pain to soldier on through. And it's a shame, because PikPok's excellent card battler is extremely fun when you're in the thick of things. It just needs to ease off on the freemium trappings to truly flourish.