NBA All-Star 3-Point Shootout is the most polished and playable example of a generally boring type of game. The shoot-out genre's single-button gameplay is theoretically the perfect fit for mobile--its games have just unfortunately never been particularly engaging or fun. THQ's All-Star 3-Point Shootout sets a new standard for this lackluster category by packing enough depth to offset the inherent simplicity and repetitiousness of a shoot-out game.
3-Point Shootout lets you choose from a wide selection of players, past and present. These players vary in skill, and their personal stats affect their respective field goal percentages. It's possible to achieve high scores with any player, but it's much easier to do so with Larry Bird than it is with Shaquille O'Neal, who's not known for his 3-point game. After beating out a range of competition, you'll play in the shoot-out semifinals and finals, the latter of which is really just a face-off between you and a single opponent.
During a shoot-out, you'll make buckets from up to five locations around the three-point line. Each location requires a specific jump height, which is determined by how long you hold the shoot button. Making several baskets in a row will cause the stands to catch on fire, NBA Jam-style. The need to adjust your shot, depending on your position on the court, is a no-brainer gameplay mechanic that's missing from most shoot-out games.
3-Point Shootout's sprite-based graphics are excellent. The character models don't look exactly like the players they're meant to represent, but you're only seeing them from behind, anyway. The highlights on the court and bald domes of most of the players look beautiful, and the few animations required of a shoot-out game run smoothly on our LG VX8000. When you remove a ball from your caddy, the other balls realistically roll forward. Most importantly, you won't experience any slowdown and can therefore shoot as quickly as your fingers can manage.
The game sports sound exactly where you'd want it. Congratulatory and conciliatory vocal clips occasionally play, and a swoosh sound accompanies each flawless toss. There's no music, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Games are short and intense--an electronic beat wouldn't add much. In general, the game's audio is a great fit.
NBA All-Star 3-Point Shootout is still a simple, unambitious game that won't hold your attention forever--such is the nature of the shoot-out genre. Ideally, a shoot-out mode is a minigame within a full-on basketball game, not a stand-alone app. Still, if you want to test your timing with some of the NBA's shooting greats, this is the best way to do it.