NBA 2K MyLIFE review

NBA 2K MyLIFE is a new Facebook game from 2K Sports. It’s the first time the prolific console sports game publisher has released a social game, and the new title is designed to integrate tightly with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of NBA 2K13. Players are able to link their NBA 2K13 in-game accounts to Facebook either using their console or via the official website, and this allows them to play NBA 2K MyLIFE to unlock additional content and rewards.

NBA 2K MyLIFE is a game that focuses on all of the aspects of a pro basketball player’s life except the actual playing of basketball, which is covered by the console games. Instead, players will be spending their time throwing parties, schmoozing with guests and attempting to earn lucrative endorsement deals.

Basic gameplay involves throwing an event, which lasts for a certain period of real time, and then attempting to make it as successful as possible. This is achieved by clicking on fans who show up to the event, which earns stars. When sufficient stars have been earned, a VIP shows up, and they may then be interacted with in the same way. Interacting with VIPs also builds up the player avatar’s friendship with them, and when this has reached “Best Friends” status, the player may add the VIP to their entourage, which gives them bonuses to their earned “Rep” and “Skill” points, the primary measures of progress in the game. Finally, when the party has reached a certain number of stars, an agent arrives with an endorsement deal, which usually asks the player to earn a certain amount of rep, skill or money in a particular time period, with bonuses on offer if they successfully achieve it.

The player may customize their home with a variety of different objects, many of which can be interacted with to earn additional stars, rep and skill. Most items (and party attendees) have a “cooldown” period before they can be interacted with again. These delays may be bypassed using the game’s hard currency, and are not combined with a play-throttling energy system — it’s possible to continue playing the game indefinitely in a single session, though it will probably eventually reach a stage where there is nothing to interact with.

Aside from the schmoozing with party guests, it’s also possible to take part in “tip-off” basketball matches. These are not depicted visually; instead, the player simply picks a tactic for each of the game’s four quarters and is then immediately informed of the final result, with rep, skill and money awards for victory. A tip-off match may only be played once per day — though again, this restriction may be bypassed with hard currency.

It’s a good idea for a game to explore the aspects of a professional athlete’s life off the court, but unfortunately NBA 2K MyLIFE just isn’t implemented particularly well. Characters regularly walk through solid objects; it becomes incredibly difficult to click on the right thing when a lot of objects or characters are crowded together; and the game regularly confuses dragging to scroll the screen with dragging to move an object. On top of that, it’s just not very fun, either. You get little sense of interactions actually happening — instead, it becomes little more than a case of looking out for little icons and clicking on them until things pop out. It would have been nice to see more personality — perhaps some “dialog tree”-style conversations with members of your entourage or agents, or some minigames when clicking on various objects. The latter do pop up occasionally, but not with any apparent consistency. As it stands, unfortunately, NBA 2K MyLIFE is a title with a lot of unrealized potential that just ends up being rather dull.

NBA 2K MyLIFE currently has 50,000 monthly active users and 20,000 daily active users. Follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for social games and developers.

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A good idea unfortunately wasted by sloppy, boring implementation.

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