Blacktop Hoops Review-In-Progress: A Baller's Paradise

Blacktop Hoops offers a satisfying take on VR basketball with entertaining gameplay. Read on for our full review-in-progress.

I believe the best VR sports games tend to be those that aren’t based on real sports. Nock and Racket: Nx certainly have their basis in the real world but they’re very much things you can only do in VR. You’d struggle to play bow-and-arrow football for a plethora of reasons, yet VR makes it work. 

Blacktop Hoops – The Facts
What is it?: An arcade basketball game with offline campaign modes and online PvP.
Platforms: PC VR, Pico, Quest (reviewed on PC VR using Quest 3)
Release Date: Out Now
Developer: Vinci Games
Price: $30

However, there is a range of sports that many of us can’t really play in real life either. Soccer is a game where many of us can go out and give it a fairly good try, albeit on smaller fields and for a tenth of the time, but some sports simply aren’t realistic for most. A big one is arguably basketball because most of us can’t jump into the air like gravity forgot about us for a few seconds. Plus, frankly, I’m not particularly tall. 

So, there’s a bit of a throughline for me with basketball and Nock. Naturally, I understand that basketball works in real life but it’s really not that much more realistic for me. Blacktop Hoops is a new arcade-feeling basketball VR game with the body proportions of a season of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and the heart of the early Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games.

The controls take time to get used to. They’re not bad, it’s just an interesting mix of real-world movement and controller inputs. You walk around with the left stick, grab using the trigger, and you jump with a push of the A button. For everything else, you’ll have to stick to movement. You can dribble normally but also pass it between your legs from hand to hand, and throw as often as you wish.

Throwing also needs time to adjust to. You need to hold the trigger, perform the motion of the throw as you let go of the trigger, and then flick your wrist for momentum. In the early stages of Blacktop Hoops, you’re probably going to be terrible at free throws. Maybe you’re built differently, so you’ll be fine, but it can be tricky. Dunking, however, is both incredibly easy and incredibly satisfying. 

Well, it would be easy were it not for your opponents. You’ll likely end up mostly playing Blacktop Hoops against real people, in which case your mileage will vary, but there’s a decent single-player campaign mode as well with multiple difficulties. You try and save basketball for your sister because it’s been cut from her school because of budget issues.

Ignoring the almost painfully possible but good storyline, it’s a cool setup that brings your character into a world of basketball with the aim of winning money to resolve this. It’s wholesome, and the characters you meet and play against on the way all show off different skills and preferences. They will also comment on what you’re doing. It feels exactly like an arcade game campaign mode should feel: it’s fun, it’s varied, and you can turn up the difficulty if you’re finding it too easy.

Comfort

Blacktop Hoops offers an array of comfort options. These include selecting your dominant hand, whether to hold or toggle the grip, snap, or smooth camera turning. Motion vignettes with adjustable strengths when moving and jumping are also available.

Blacktop Hoops’ biggest draw is the online multiplayer. Along with being able to compete against other players in different team sizes, you’ll also be able to win new clothes as you go. It’s a nice way to encourage logging in and dunking on some people each day, and when combined with the ranked mode, is a good excuse to do so. Naturally, people online will usually be considerably better at high skill levels than any AI opponents you encounter. That’s par for the course in a game like this and not a complaint; it’s just something to be aware of if you’re jumping online and unprepared for the sheer skill of some of the players. 

Blacktop Hoops Review-In-Progress – Current Final Verdict

Blacktop Hoops is an incredibly cool way to play basketball in virtual reality. I’m sure it’s great fun to jump in and flex on people in real life basketball, but as someone who can’t do that, it’s a nice chance to pretend that I can jump and shoot some hoops after hours of practice. The character customization suite is excellent, it has a solid and heartwarming story, and the gameplay feels amazing. I’ll return in the near future to see if anything changes, but for now, it’s hard to ask for more.

UploadVR uses a 5-Star rating system for our game reviews – you can read a breakdown of each star rating in our review guidelines. As a review-in-progress, this is currently unscored to reflect our approach to covering post-launch updates and we’ll revisit this review with a star rating.

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