Slam Dunk King iPad Review

We're huge basketball fans. We also have a lot of trouble dunking, so picking up PikPok's recently released Slam Dunk King made a lot of sense. Finally, vertically challenged folks would have a quick and easy means of throwing down the rock on the go. Even better? It's free to play.

Well, Slam Dunk King does indeed feature rim-rattling slams. It also wants your money. Lots of it. The game's MC offers encouragement by telling you to "Never stop ballin", but what he really means is never stop buying. PikPok threw a bunch of cool stuff into this app, from different types of balls to flashy courts and mascots that offer power-ups to boost your score, but all of these things cost a sizable amount of dough.

Case in point, the USA themed basketball is 100 crowns (crowns being the game's currency). The moon ball? One thousand.

Then we have those aforementioned mascots, which you can buy for a reasonable 250 crowns, but there's a catch. You can only use that mascot three times. To go unlimited, you'll need to shell out in excess of 1200 crowns and higher; the most expensive mascot, Leon, costs 5000 crowns.

PikPok even gives you the opportunity to disable the in-game advertising. That'll run you $2.99, though the ads are so unobtrusive you'll barely notice them.

Thankfully, crowns won't break the bank. Two thousand cost $0.99, 20,000 $4.99 and 40,000 $29.99. Five bucks goes a long way.

Choose to grind it out, and...well...you'll collapse from boredom. It takes forever to amass enough crowns to buy the cheapest items.

That's a shame, because Slam Dunk King's moderately enjoyable. Each of the three modes, Time Attack, Arcade and Sudden Death offer slight alterations to the formula, which tasks you with grabbing basketballs as they fly through the air and then sending them through the hoop with authority to earn points.

PikPok encourages creativity, allowing you to execute corkscrew dunks, Dwight Howard style power slams and moves where you throw the ball off screen and catch it on the way down. You can even bounce the ball off the backboard.

Perform well, and you'll climb the OpenFeint/Game Center leaderboards while earning achievements along the way.

It all comes down to how much you're willing to invest. Personally, we grew tired of grinding and may never play Slam Dunk King again. PikPok went a little overboard with the prices, and it remains to be seen whether users will fork over the cash.

That said, it's still a fun arcade style basketball game, and since it's free, there's little to lose except time, so go ahead and show Michael Jordan how it's done.

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later.

Download Slam Dunk King

What's Hot: Addictive arcade style hoops, three different modes, lots of stuff to buy, universal, Game Center and OpenFeint support, free to play, mascot power.

What's Not: Money talks.

3/5