A new Space Jam movie is coming out soon for some reason and here's a new video game to mark the occasion so let's check it out.
I love Bugs Bunny and beat 'em ups. You'd think the former's cunning shenanigans would blend well with the latter's visceral sense of action but after playing Space Jam: A New Legacy - The Game; perhaps it's not a good mix. At least, it might have been if it was a full-fledged game but we'll get to that later. Its story involves a rogue AI known as Al-G Rhythm that captures LeBron James in a server. What? 🤔 Anyway, you play as Bugs Bunny, Lola Bunny, or LeBron James and it's your job to fend off the AI's henchmen known as the Goon Squad as well as their many robot soldiers. All of this comes together in a decent-looking package complete with colourful old-school graphics that are rather appealing and charmingly-animated. Of course, all of this is secondary so what's the gameplay like?
Space Jam: A New Legacy - The Game plays like you would expect from a classic beat 'em up as you run around, line yourself up with enemies, and beat the crap out of them. You can also double-jump and use a special attack that drains a little health à la Streets of Rage 2. With that being said, a couple of gimmicks stand out which are the fact that you can use your equipped character card for a boost and throw a basketball at enemies as well as charge your throw. These are definitely promising elements except the card system is a bit superfluous and the basketball isn't all that useful as you can simply mash the attack button to take care of enemies much faster. You can play cooperatively with a local chum, too, but the only added mechanic is that you can pass the ball which is disappointing.
This incredibly basic gameplay could have been enjoyable if the campaign within Space Jam: A New Legacy - The Game contained a decent amount of variety but it unfortunately does not. There are only a handful of enemy types that range from walking punching bags to robots with flamethrowers yet none of them require any sort of strategy to defeat and the few bosses are downright boring as they require very little skill. Aside from fighting, you'll also have to leap over barrels, dodge falling rocks, and avoid bombs but all of these moments are more annoying than fun although I guess they add some variety. However, even that falls apart due to the fact that these scenarios are repeated throughout the campaign to pad things out but they don't really because it still only takes about 30 minutes to complete the entire game. It boggles my mind that such a short game can be this repetitive and tedious. How is that possible? 🤯
Last up; let me discuss something that drives me nuts. It's an aspect that movie tie-in games have been implementing for decades and they still are. Basically, the characters say voice clips from the film once in a while yet these lines almost never match the action and on top of that, they repeat far too often. To reiterate: it's a half hour game and you'll end up hearing the same lines about a dozen times each. Why even bother adding these clips? They're more cringeworthy than funny and actually take away from the fun because you'll frequently turn to your partner and say "What the heck did they just say?" because on top of everything else, the voice clips can be muffled and cut poorly. If they really had to add these clips, why not hire a sound-alike or simply have grunts and stuff?
If Space Jam: A New Legacy - The Game was given a lot more time in the oven, it could have been a pretty good beat 'em up. As it is, it feels like an alpha demo that still has a long way to go before it's ready for the general gaming public.
- + Old-school graphics are well-done and feature some decent animations
- + Basketball mechanic and card power-ups add a bit of much-needed variety
- - Extremely short campaign that's filled with tedious repeating scenarios
- - Very few enemy types / boring bosses
- - Voice clips don't fit the action