Mascot Dunk is another entry in the endless runner genre that has seen an explosion on mobile in recent years. The concept behind this title from Crimson Pine Games is simple enough – control a basketball mascot, and use your finger to bounce the mascot off trampolines on their way to dunk the basketball. Mostly, the game does this simple task well. It is satisfying to watch the colorfully animated character fly around the court and ultimately land a powerful dunk. While players will likely find this game enjoyable enough to occupy their time for a while, the near-constant intrusion of advertisement ruins what is otherwise a decent time waster.
Firstly, Mascot Dunk is a respectable title, mainly because its controls work well. Players will find aiming their mascot up the court a simple, hassle-free task, and it is rewarding to keep up with the varying trampolines as the game slowly gets harder and harder. Like all endless runners, Mascot Dunk is designed for the player to fail. But unlike some games, Mascot Dunk makes it a rewarding experience. Not only does the actual act of landing a jump encourage progress, but players have the option to choose different mascots and unlock different dunks. While each mascot after the starting one costs $1 to unlock (which is itself an unfortunate drawback to the game), players can naturally unlock the remaining mascots by successfully hitting trampolines. In this way, the player will always be working toward a goal, which is essential for this particular genre.
Even though Mascot Dunk presents its gameplay and style well, there is an overwhelming drawback to playing the game: those pesky ads. Yes, ads are a necessary evil for any free-to-play game, but there are some games that do it non-intrusively (see Super Planet Defenders). Mascot Dunk abuses this already tedious system. After failing a jump or missing a dunk, players have the option to “revive” themselves to continue their streak. If this option is chosen, an ad plays. This isn’t entirely surprising, as continuing a winning streak for “free” surely comes at a cost. However, even if the player doesn’t choose this revive option, sometimes an ad still plays before returning the player to the main menu. Having to watch an ad even after a short run on the court quickly makes the player lose interest in the game.
It’s a shame Mascot Dunk takes this disenfranchising stance on ads, as the game itself is a perfectly playable, even enjoyable, time waster. Kids especially might be attracted to the colorful cartoon art style and easy pick-up-and-play gameplay. As it is, though, it isn’t easy to recommend Mascot Dunk for any considerable length of time – unless of course you play in airplane mode all the time. However, even if the player elects this option, the lack of internet connection - and therefore, ability to play ads – means the player will never be able to revive themselves to continue a particular good winning streak. With this annoying flaw in mind, players looking to satisfy their endless runner itch might want to look someplace else, unless persistent ads don’t bother you.
Mascot Dunk (Reviewed on Android)
Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.
For those who hate ads, it's hard to recommend this game. A shame, considering the solid gameplay hiding underneath.