NBA All-World review: An ordinary attempt to create an engaging basketball experience

A new open-world title with a similar idea

The recent release, NBA All-World, an open-world sports title by Niantic has been in the talks for drawing similarities with the company’s popular title Pokémon Go. In the game, players would have to take a real-world journey to progress, which is tracked by their phone’s GPS. Most would love to hear the initial impressions about NBA All-World before deciding whether to play it or not. In this review, we shall let you know our thoughts about the first impression of the title as well as our ratings for NBA All-World.

NBA All-World presents Pokémon Go with NBA players

As harsh as it sounds, it is true to some extent. People already have been walking around swiping their fingers at imaginary Pokemon, and with NBA All-World, they’ll wander around to claim those flashy NBA star cards. The idea behind is also the same, players need to travel around to find gears, and matches, which is a repetition and not a unique idea.

Gameplay comparsion between Pokemon Go and NBA All-World
Image via Niantic

This also goes against the idea Pokemon Go introduced to us, as now we have two options. Most would prefer the finished product Pokemon Go if they had a choice. Implementation of the GPS is okayish however, the tracking of player movement and updating is a headache. But we give it a pass since it has just been launched and there is a scope for improvement, which we believe Niantic won’t miss.

The fun is in the travel. Most of the work is done by the player so a lazy person would have to add some extra effort into travelling. Friends and adventures are nice to have, and NBA All-World doesn’t fall behind in providing them.

Okayish gameplay elevated with a stunning soundtrack

The gameplay is not polished and cannot be called a finished product. Most of the gameplay features the start-up animation before each game takes too long and is unskippable. It isn’t bad at all, but a simple skip button for those who want to jump directly to the game would be very helpful. The graphics are nice, but the generated face of a few players are not convincing.

Graphics in NBA All-World
Image via Niantic

The soundtracks in the game are top-notch, with no complaints. Every song thumping in the background is very catchy and Niantic has done a good job of putting together some good tracks that are nice to listen to when scrolling around the menus and playing the game. Additional sound effects during clicks and moves are also well-composed and it does well for creating a gaming ambience.

Unappealing game modes with limited controls

Gamemodes aren’t impressive. It has limited options and one or two minigames are repetitive in most of the events or quests. Every event is the same, and the fun part is collecting gear and engaging in AI battles which are monotonous.

Controls and Gamemodes
Image via Niantic

Controls are really limited which takes away the fun of the “basketball” element. 1v1 minigame is a fail when you see the control options and the reaction times of the controls. The steal and block buttons during defending are a shame, with automated player movement it feels very unfinished. Dribbling controls are okay, but it still lacks that convincing factor.

A sluggish UI spoils the experience

A big complaint is the lazy UI from Niantic, which is a frustrating experience for any player. It is irritating to play such a slow-loading UI, which includes forceful and unnecessary transitions which add more to the problems. There are also a few bugs that are included for free in the game with the release, which we feel the users aren’t happy about a special feature of sudden freezing of the game.

Gameplay NBA All-World
Image via Niantic

Loading time is too long too, and the game goes on expanding and eating space with in-game downloads the player doesn’t have control over. As mentioned earlier, the control options are snail-paced, and the reaction time is awfully slow for a basketball game that works majorly on timing. The Discord copy chat style you can find in Campfire is even worse.

The responsiveness in the game needs a serious tweak. It is seen in the top-end devices too, so Niantic should reduce those transitions and smoothen the experience of the UI. It feels not needed at many places, where you sometimes wonder whether you are watching a visual novel given the addition of an unwanted effect in every click.

No ad disturbances is a positive

For players who are worried about ads, do not. There isn’t a disruption from an advert or notifications diverting to a completely different app. This is a plus for all the players who get annoyed with lots of ads eating their game time.

However, if in-game purchases are concerned, the game has pay-to-win elements where players can buy items to bolster their players which cost real-life money transactions. People can purchase in-game Cash, Credits, Energy Packs, and exclusive event tickets. This is an added advantage to players who would like to upgrade their team in a jiffy.

NBA All-World Review: Final Verdict

If you have come to this point while reading our review, you know what our opinion is. The game isn’t outright bad at all, there are positives but those are overshadowed by the bugs and problems currently in the game. It also doesn’t help that a “better, finished, and enjoyable” game of a similar kind is already existing in the market by the same maker.

A basketball game with limited controls is also a disappointing factor, guess there’s no changing that. You won’t get that “gaming feeling” when playing. But, there is room for other improvements. Niantic will definitely take inputs and work on them, like any update. They should consider feedback from the fans, especially on the gameplay part and work on it. The initial impressions won’t change, but the final might.

NBA All-World review by Gamingonphone

Gameplay Mechanics - 6.5
Graphics and Music - 7.5
Controls and UI - 5
Gamemodes and Content - 6
Free-to-Play Elements - 7



NBA All-World banked on the success of Pokemon Go but falls flat in providing that excitement level. The sluggish UI and the repetitive game modes don't keep a player hooked enough.

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