After almost 25 years, Space Jam's sequel is now here, and alike the case with the original, this new movie, known as Space Jam: A New Legacy has received a tie-in video game that is creatively named Space Jam: A New Legacy - The Game. Coming from Digital Eclipse, this title has been available for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers for around a fortnight, but is now also accessible to the masses, as a free-to-play beat'em up experience. I recently played through the game on a GR Live stream (which you can watch in its entirety below), and after completing it a couple of times during that stream, I thought it was about time I wrote up my thoughts on the game.
First of all, for those who aren't quite aware, this title is set before the big basketball game in the movie, and sees Bugs Bunny, Lola Bunny, and LeBron James working through a retro digital landscape, defeating different kinds of robotic enemies as they search for the Legacy Code that contains the information on where AL.G's (the big bad guy played by Don Cheadle in the movie) hideout is.
It's a traditional beat'em up, meaning the control scheme is pretty much limited to mashing one or two buttons, for a few different moves, but there are some pretty cool features that attempt to set it apart from competitors, including the fact that the three characters can dribble a basketball and use it as a weapon against oncoming threats. I won't lie, the limited number of inputs was a little disappointing, and means you can't combo many moves together at all. In fact, the amount of inputs you're given would make this the perfect title to play with an NES controller - it's that few.
This doesn't mean the gameplay itself is bad. For a small (and it is short, but I'll touch on that soon) beat'em up, it's fun, and features a reasonable amount of challenge that is never overwhelming to play, but won't hesitate to knock you down a peg or two if you aren't concentrating. And it serves up new challenges frequently, by sprinkling in new enemies, and boss encounters often to keep you engaged. Then to top that off, the game also features cards decorated with Looney Tunes characters that provide special abilities when used, and can include dropping a whole range of healing items, or instead buffing the damage of whichever character you are playing as.
It's worth noting that while LeBron, Bugs, and Lola all have different effects on their abilities, every move and its input is the exact same and is shared between the three.
As a final note on the mechanics, the use of the basketball as a weapon is by far the most stand-aside part of the game. Using the ball, you can charge it up to hurl it for massive damage, can leap and throw it for a splash damage effect, and the best part is that whenever the ball passes out of the boundaries of the screen, Tweety (the yellow canary) will pick it up and bring it right back to you. It's rather fun to abuse.
But, anyway, one of the biggest points that will probably surprise you: this game is very, very short. Granted it's free-to-play, meaning you shouldn't expect a sprawling 30+ hour experience, but I still managed to beat the game on normal in less than an hour, before deciding to run through it again on the then unlocked hard mode, beating it in 45 minutes. Considering the only other game mode is Boss Rush, which tasks you with defeating each of the three major bosses in one life, you probably get around 3 hours of gameplay at a stretch, which is significantly shorter than what I expected personally.
As there are three playable characters, you can play the game with up to three players at a single time, and you can even pass the ball around like a really rudimentary NBA game when you have multiple players connected at once.
All in all, for a free-to-play game that is very short in length, Space Jam: A New Legacy - The Game offers a decent, albeit very simple beat'em up. It's fun, has variety despite its short length, and is engaging to play, more so when playing cooperatively. Considering you can grab it and play it today, I would suggest you give it a go, because it's a pretty fun way to kill an evening at the very least.