Space Jam: A New Legacy – The Game Review

Space Jam A New Legacy Game Official Trailer Xbox

Space Jam: A New Legacy – The Game is an arcade-style side scroller video game, inspired by the upcoming Space Jam: A New Legacy film releasing later this month. The game is exclusive to Xbox, with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members available to download it now.

In December 2020, Xbox invited real-life game fans to submit their ideas for a Space Jam: A New Legacy-inspired video game. In the end, Xbox ended up blending the ideas of two gamers to create the arcade-style side scroller video game. Despite Space Jam: A New Legacy – The Game not being the greatest of games, the concept of Xbox taking fan inspired ideas and mechanics is a hugely promising sign for future video games to come. 

The game adopts an arcade beat ‘em up style, where gameplay primarily comprises of button-mashing to defeat enemies and advance through the levels. It’s not exactly ground-breaking, but for the most part, the gameplay feels fairly responsive and is reminiscent of classic arcade games of the 90s. Being Space Jam inspired, the game tries to incorporate a few elements of basketball, but other than throwing a basketball at enemies (which more often than not misses its target), it feels like more of a gimmick to tie basketball into the game. 

space-jam-a-new-legacy-gameplay
Single-player gameplay

Despite its simple gameplay mechanics, the game is surprisingly difficult! It’s no boss battle in Dark Souls, but more often than not I found myself getting into a loop where I would be hit and stunned by one enemy and before I had chance to move out of the way, I would get hit and stunned by another! Whilst it did frustrate me, it’s not a major issue, at worst you have to replay a level as you run out of lives, but given the fact the game has an option to play through in ‘Hard mode’, I certainly could see a few damaged controllers!

Players can play as either LeBron James, Bugs Bunny or Lola Bunny. Each character plays near enough the same, but each character has unique animations for their attacking moves which is a nice touch. Players also have access to a number of unique Space Jam cards which provide one-time power-ups at various times through the game. Each of these cards are inspired by Looney Tunes characters such as Taz and Yosemite Sam and each have a relevant power-up to their card, for example Taz will spin on screen and damage all nearby enemies.

space-jam-a-new-legacy-character-select-screen
Playable characters

Nowadays, movie tie ins are something of a rare breed, but Space Jam: A New Legacy – The Game manages to capture a lot of that classic Looney Tunes charm in its game. It does this through the game’s fairly humorous onscreen narrative and its charming character designs, which give the game so much personality. Without the Looney Tunes/Space Jam face to it, I absolutely would have lost interest in it sooner.

Whilst I agree that arcade-style beat ‘em ups should certainly be a thing of the past, movie tie in video games definitely need to make a resurgence and Space Jam: A New Legacy emphasises that. With that said, I don’t know why they didn’t just make a basic 3v3 Space Jam themed basketball game which undoubtedly would have been more popular? Nevertheless, the game did get me excited for film, which releases later this month.

The Verdict

Despite encapsulating some of that brilliant Looney Tunes charm, Space Jam: A New Legacy – The Game offers far too basic gameplay and begs the question, why not just make a 3v3 Space Jam themed basketball game?

Rating: 5 out of 10.

5/10

Space Jam: A New Legacy – The Game is available for free for Xbox Game Ultimate members, with a general Xbox release arriving 15th July.

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