I expect weirdness from the sequel to Barkley Shut Up And Jam: Gaiden, but even I was taken aback by the discovery of a turn-based basketball mini-game.
We recently learned the Kickstarter-funded sequel won’t arrive until early 2016, but a playable version was being shown over the weekend at PAX Prime in Seattle. The line to play the real game was taking too long, so I shuffled over to different screen to watch two people slowly work their way through a different approach to playing basketball.
Despite Barkley Shut Up And Jam: Gaiden being full of basketball references and famous players, you never actually play the sport in question. Barkley 2 addresses this by putting its own spin on basketball, applying some of the same JRPG flare that influenced the first game.
Consequently, it means shooting, passing, and other moves are now defined by player statistics, class, and percentage chances. It makes for a much slower approach to basketball, but one that allows you to set up some really ridiculous strategies that wouldn’t be viable in real-time.
Lemme break down a basic turn for you. When a player is selected, there are a few options: move, act, post, and done. (The last option concludes the current turn.)
Movement, as one might expect, is based on shuffling from tile to tile.
If you choose to post up, there are a few options, including the ability to automatically pass to another player, should the ball head your way. (If you have the ball, you can choose to shoot.)
It’s also possible to set a pick, in which you place your body in front of another player, in hopes of blocking their movement and creating an opportunity for either A) the ball handler to move towards the basket or B) helping a player get open for a pass.
The amount of control you have over an individual player gets nuanced enough that you’re even setting which way they’re facing at the end of a turn. (Presumably, this influences percentages for catching a pass or making a shot.)
Once you’ve set up your players, it’s time to execute a a play.
There are even more options when that happens, including choosing multiple passing paths. (It’s ridiculous and hilarious how much thought has been put into fleshing out this “mini-game.”)
The end result is what you saw in the GIF above.
If you want to watch these turns play out, I recorded a few minutes while standing around.
Please finish this game ASAP, thanks!