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Space Jam: A New Legacy 2021 Movie Review Poster Trailer Online
Director: Malcolm D. Lee
Stars: LeBron James, Don Cheadle, Cedric Joe
I miss movie tie-ins. It didn’t seem like so long ago that for every blockbuster movie releasing in cinemas, there was some kind of half-baked, tangentially related tie-in that attempted to cash in on the film’s inevitable success. Granted, most of them were a bit naff, but you find some occasional gold amongst the wreckage. Spider-Man 2 is still considered one of the best wallcrawler games ever made. Escape from Butcher Bay was a fantastic first person game and Riddick tie-in, and while the movie launched nearly 30 years prior to the game, Rockstar’s The Warriors was an absolute banger.
This is why the news of a Space Jam: A New Legacy tie-in, the appropriately named Space Jam: A New Legacy – The Game was so interesting to me, especially considering it’s not actually a basketball game: it’s an old school beat ‘em up. The game sees LeBron James teaming up with Bugs and Lola Bunny to knock the snot out of some robots and the Good Squad in a 3-player co-op beat ‘em up. If you’ve got two friends to play locally with, this could be a good distraction for like, 45 minutes. Hey, it’s free with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate at the moment, and will be free to play on the Microsoft Store when it fully launches on July 15th, so it’s hard to really complain about the game’s length.
The gameplay itself is alright, if a little basic for the most part. Mashing the X button will launch combos that’ll power through most of the enemies in your path. There are other options, like dash attack and jump kicks, which will allow you to create more improvised combos, though the main one I’ve found is just launch opponent into the air, then juggle them with a jab until they die or another enemy interrupts you by smacking you in the back of the head.
Perhaps the game’s most interesting aspect is how it incorporates basketball into the beat ‘em up gameplay mechanics. No matter which character you’re playing as, you’ll always have some access to a basketball, which you can pick up and throw at your opponent. In co-op, you can even pass the ball between players, and holding down the attack button charges up your throw which deals massive damage. It’s a unique edge that makes the Space Jam actually feel somewhat related to the film it’s a tie-in of, and hitting a double jump dunk on some fools always feels pretty satisfying.
I’ll grant you, it’s not the best beat ‘em up ever made. In a choice between Space Jam: A New Legacy – The Game and Streets of Rage 4, I’ll take SoR every day of the week, especially with that new DLC on the way. Aside from a hard mode and a Boss Rush, there’s little in the way of replay value, and there’s not much depth to the overall gameplay, but again, it’s a free game that’s being offered as a Game Pass Ultimate perk. It’s about as optional an extra as a game could get.
Still, it would have been easy to just create a silly tie-in game that’s not even any good just to try and build hype for a new movie, but it’s clear that Digital Eclipse put some love and attention into this game. It’s not going to come close to any game of the year awards, but hey, if you’re looking for something short to enjoy on a light weekend of gaming, the Space Jam game isn’t a bad shout.