Space Jam: A New Legacy 2021 Movie Review
Space Jam: A New Legacy – The Game is a free-to-play tie-in video game to the movie Space Jam: A New Legacy. It is developed by Digital Eclipse and published by Xbox. The most interesting thing about Space Jam: A New Legacy – The Game are some of the details surrounding it. Firstly, the game has a staggered release, releasing on July 1st for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members while releasing more widely on July 15th.
Secondly is the game’s origins. Before development started on the game, a contest was announced for players to submit their ideas and concepts. Then, one answer from a youth category and one from an adult category would be selected to influence the game largely. The result is an arcade-style beat-em-up featuring characters like LeBron James, Bugs Bunny, and Lola Bunny.
Unfortunately, the game itself is not even a fraction as interesting as its origin story. In fact, the game can be completed in less than 40 minutes. There is a hard mode that may add on another ten minutes or so and a boss rush mode, but that only adds on another three minutes if one plays leisurely.
Those 40 minutes are largely composed of hitting one button repeatedly. Rather than having light and heavy attacks like most games in the genre, each character has a four-hit combo that players execute ad nauseam. Other options include a slide attack, a jump kick, a spin attack that costs health, and throwing around a basketball, but all of those options take considerably longer than just punching four times over and over. This is exacerbated by the design of each of the characters playing functionally identical to one another. Each character has its own animations, but any differences between them are so minuscule that they are indistinguishable.
Players also can equip one card from a small selection that each has one Looney Tunes character on it and give players a chargeable ability. These feature abilities include increasing speed, power, dropping items, or filling the screen with gas that slows down enemies. Players start with a few cards and unlock more by defeating bosses, completing the game on hard mode, and finishing the boss rush mode.
However, one of the starting cards available to players is a card that sees Taz the Tasmanian Devil spinning through the map and killing all the enemies. Unfortunately, the card is so greatly overpowered in the story that there is no reason to use another card unless players want to make the game harder for themselves or are playing the boss rush mode.
The boring structure of the combat is only increased by how dull everything surrounding it is as well. The story is very simple, with the Toon Squad going to the digital world known as the Server-verse to take down a digital presence known as Al G. Rhythm. To do so, the Toon Squad has to fight through an army of digital enemies to find four pieces of legacy code to get access to Al G. Rhythm himself and defeat him.
This lays the groundwork for five incredibly short levels with three boss fights and a handful of enemy types for players to four-hit combo their way through. Each level plays out almost exactly like the ones that came before it, just with different backgrounds. Unfortunately, the levels are so short that they are over just when it feels like they were getting started.
The boss battles also flash by at an almost absurd speed, with each of the three bosses only having a few moves and very simple mechanics that take very little to adapt to. The simplicity of the bosses also hampers the boss rush mode, as replaying a boss fight plays out almost identically each time because of how simple each one is. Even the final boss is little more than dodging two attacks, doing four-hit combos for a damage phase, and then fighting a small wave of the few enemies players have already grown tired of.
Of course, Space Jam: A New Legacy – The Game is free, but it still does very little to justify players spending any time with it at all. Even if the barrier to entry is as low as possible, it is difficult to imagine why players would want to check it out. For fans of beat-em-ups, there are plenty of better options available that are not much more expensive, especially if players have Xbox Game Pass already. For Space Jam fans, there is so little of the characters or personality of the movie in the game that it does not seem as though it would justify the time investment. There are small bits of dialogue at the start and end of missions, but the humor never lands, and there is so little that Space Jam fans are better off just watching one of the movies or an old Looney Tunes cartoon.