LadiesGamers Basketball Club Story

Basketball Club Story Review

Game: Basketball Club Story
Genre: Simulation, Sports, Strategy
System: Nintendo Switch (also on mobile)
Developer|Publisher: Kairosoft
Age Rating: EU 16+ | US Teen
Price: US $14.00 | UK £11.69 | EU € 14,00
Release Date: June 3rd, 2021

Review code provided with many thanks to Kairosoft

Masters of Mobile

Kairosoft has certainly made its mark on Nintendo Switch with over 30 titles (and probably counting) on the console. I first came across this company’s work with Game Dev Story, which I downloaded on my old iPod Touch back in the day. A clever little title where you developed video games for a variety of video game systems through the generations. There was something quite Zen-like about just tapping away on my new mobile device trying to create a best selling video game. The best part was that this was years before microtransactions would ruin the mobile market. Anyway, this is my first time trying Basketball Club Story and my first time trying one of these games on Switch. Let’s see if it’s any good.

LadiesGamers Basketball Club Story
Let’s play ball

The Ultimate Underdog Story

Basketball Club Story is essentially a management sim. You begin the game by creating your team name, colour and naming one of the players. From there you are placed at your home basketball court with your other teammates. Your main goal is to win basketball games to become the best team in all the land. In between managing the team during games you also can install shops, plant trees and various other features at your home base to generate revenue from your eager fans that come to watch you play.

So of course I created a team called ‘The Otters.’ And their basketball story is what I like to title ‘The Ultimate Underdog Story.’ It all started with their team Captain Ragnar Lothbrook, who had travelled from a mysterious land far away to make his mark in a new Country. So he gathered a group of Chaps and Chapettes together. All of whom clearly never played basketball before and set out to become the very best at the sport. It wasn’t an easy journey.

They lost more than they won but thanks to that one fan cheering them on from the sidelines, they didn’t give up. They trained harder until finally, they beat their rivals, the Shoppers! The Gardner’s and their ultimate foe The Seniors! It was a grand day when they went from one fan to ten and still counting. But with belief in their friendship and all that determination, they went on to win the beginners club. Of course, your Basketball Story will likely be much more successful than mine.

LadiesGamers Basketball Club Story
My thoughts exactly

Touch or Press

You can play the game with either the controls, touch or a hybrid of the two. With its mobile routes, it certainly feels more designed to play handheld and this is one of the few Switch games I mostly played with touch controls, a very rare thing for me.

Having the save feature mapped to the left shoulder was very convenient. But should you forget this the game does have an autosave feature. I will say I totally docked my Switch when the Otters were playing a big game so I could sit on my sofa and cheer like an utter loon at my characters playing basketball. It’s the most excitement I have had watching sport in a long time. The last time I felt this good was watching real life amateur basketball at my wife’s university which is now over ten years ago. Good times.

LadiesGamers Basketball Club Story
You know there’s another bench over there right?

Build Your Town, Win the Tournament 

The gameplay boils down to you tapping away at menus such as training your players, building more shops to generate money, finding new players, finding sponsors or doing community outreach programs. The game regularly drip feeds you more content to keep you engaged. Once you have finished training it’s time to enter into a match. When this happens you watch your players play in a sort of sped-up basketball game. During this time if things are not going to plan you can alter the player’s attack and defence tactics to see if it helps give you the edge.

You can also swap out players which is particularly handy in tournaments as players begin to tire. It may read as quite overwhelming but the game doesn’t really put any pressure on you to get things 100% correct. When I first played the game I had absolutely no idea what I was doing (to a degree I probably still don’t). I lost five matches until I finally seemed to come up with a win. When you go through consistent losses the game does try to offer some pointers on how to improve such as training specific stats to your players making it easier to win. The whole experience is quite relaxing, offering very little stress on the player.

LadiesGamers Basketball Club Story
Create the ultimate player

Pixels and Niggles

The graphics are colourful pixelated sprites. Kairosoft uses this style for all of their games and strangely it has not worn out its welcome yet. Something about the simple design is warm and appealing to all audiences. I liked the small attention to detail, like how your players and fans will commentate with little speech bubbles. 

The game certainly has a few niggles but nothing game-breaking. As mentioned it took me quite a bit of time before the ultimate underdogs ‘The Otters’ were competent enough to win a game. It felt like quite a chore constantly opening player menus to see what stats you needed to improve in training. In general, this game is a lot of pointless busywork. But ultimately that is the draw and the appeal that has made this game series so successful to date. I guess the final obvious niggle is this game series is a victim of the infamous Switch tax. All the games in the series sell cheaper on mobile, so unless you have to play it on Switch these all play fine on mobile. 

LadiesGamers Basketball Club Story
Moving up in the leagues!

Conclusion – Familiar But it Works

If you’re familiar with the Kairosoft formula by now you probably know what to expect. One can’t deny that they are masters of their craft.

Basketball Club Story was an entertaining sim that had me cheering for my AI-controlled video game players from the sidelines. If that’s not a sign of a good experience I don’t know what is. 

Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot

I like it a lot

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