If you’re looking for a basketball game for your iOS or Android mobile device that won’t try to reinvent the wheel but will also guarantee you hours of fun and excitement while competing against other humans, Basketball Arena might be the game for you.
The title is the creation of Masomo Limited, the same company that gave us Head Ball 2, and much like that soccer-based game, Basketball Arena offers you the chance to compete against “real players” — by that, they mean actual people and not AI opponents, and not real-life stars from the NBA or other professional leagues. You can earn a ton of rewards as you win more games/matches, and while scoring in a number of conventional ways, you can also outsmart your opponents by using the power-ups you’ve already unlocked.
While this can be considered a casual game as opposed to the mobile versions of console/PC titles such as the NBA 2K series, Masomo has also created another game that is deceptively deep and loaded with features. Sure, it may be very easy to learn and very easy to get hooked on it, especially once you’ve built up quite the winning streak, but we’re here to help you extend that win streak even further and dominate your opponents on the court.
So with that said, we now present to you our comprehensive Basketball Arena guide, which mainly contains tips for new and intermediate players, but a few that you might be able to utilize if you’re a long-time player looking for that extra edge.
1. Understand The Basics Of Basketball Arena
If you’re familiar with Head Ball 2 — another Masomo title with similar mechanics but covering a completely different sport — you should have little difficulty mastering the basics of Basketball Arena. As the game’s description states multiple times, the main selling point is that it features “real players,” and as anyone who’s seen this marketing tool used before should know, that does not mean real-life NBA stars but rather human opponents from all over the world.
For what it’s worth, there are some characters that are modeled after current NBA All-Stars and past legends, including James Harden, Stephen Curry, Shaquille O’Neal, and LeBron James. It’s all about outsmarting the other player in real-time, but how does this take place?
In the tutorial stage, you will be oriented on Basketball Arena’s controls and the basic setup of each PvP game. Games last one minute and 30 seconds each, and pit teams with (at least) two players each against each other — it’s one-on-one basketball, with one player on court and the other(s) sitting on the bench as a reserve. You can take two-point shots from close range or three-point shots from long range — as there doesn’t seem to be an actual three-point line, any shot that’s taken from beyond the half court line counts as three points.
Each player has an energy bar which you also need to monitor — three-point shots expend more energy than two-pointers, and once the energy bar goes from green to yellow, that reduces the chances of the shot going into the hoop. You can substitute players when they are low on energy, though substitutions can only be made right after either side scores.
On the lower part of the game screen, you will see several buttons, including left and right arrows that you can use to move your players backward and forward. To the right of those directional buttons, you will see a foot icon — that is the dash button, which you can use to sprint past your opponent. Next to it is the hand icon, which serves as the shoot button on offense and the steal button on defense, and on the far right you’ll see the jump button, which can be used for jump balls on offense (or to jump with the ball — apparently, there is no such thing as traveling in this game) and blocking shots on defense.
As for the middle part of the game screen, that’s where you will find the Super Powers, which can be best described as power-ups that could either make it easier for you to score or make it more difficult for your opponent to do so, or both. These may include power-ups to freeze your opponent, stun them with an exploding bomb, or turn yourself invisible, all for a few seconds with a momentary effect.
On the upper right, you will also find the option to use emoji to psyche out your opponent — emoji can also be used to react to the results of your match, and you can collect more of them over time as you keep playing more games. Take note, however, that using emoji does not have any impact on any of your players’ attributes or provide any special buffs to your team.
At the end of each game or match, the team with more points will be declared the victor. Just like in Head Ball, you will earn Fans, which allow you to unlock new features and advance in your league’s rankings — this time, though, you will add to your Fans total if you win, but lose some Fans if you suffer a defeat. Typically, in the first few leagues, you can earn about 100 to 120 Fans for a win and lose 25 after a defeat. You will also earn Coins for a victory, and these are the game’s common currency — if you lose a match, you won’t earn anything. Lastly, you will earn Season Tokens if you win a match, and these can be used to advance in a season and receive special rewards.
When it comes to the matchmaking system, the game will typically pair you up with an opponent that is as close to your ability and league placement as you are. Sometimes you may end up with a much tougher opponent or, in some other cases, a cream puff, but in most cases, both human players should be evenly matched. It will also prioritize your nationality and pair you up against players from the same country, if currently available — that, after all, raises the stakes and increases the potential for interaction if you’re competing against someone from your own backyard.
Lastly, as far as the basics go, you can increase your Player Level by earning more experience points — you earn XP each time you play a match, or upgrade your Super Powers and characters. Leveling up allows you to earn more Diamonds, so keep playing and keep upgrading in order to stock up on that premium currency.
2. Manage Your Prize Chests Carefully
In addition to the fans, coins, and Season Tokens you can earn after each game, you will automatically receive prize chests that, at first, will only take five seconds to unlock. You’ll need to make sure you are actually hitting the Unlock button in order to kick off the unlocking process — this may take some getting used to, but that’s exactly what you need to do to open them.
These chests will mostly contain player cards, though they may also include Super Power cards, as well as other goodies that you can use to improve your team and hopefully help you win more games while playing Basketball Arena. The default Common chests take four hours to unlock, though others will take substantially longer than that depending on their rarity — a Rare chest, for instance, will require you to wait 8 hours before you can redeem the freebies contained within.
When it comes to storing chests, you can only store a maximum of four at the same time and you cannot concurrently unlock more than one chest — you’ll need to pay diamonds (the game’s premium currency) in order to immediately unlock a chest without waiting (or without waiting any further, if you’re midway through the process). You may sometimes have the option to watch a video to shave one hour off the wait time, though this wouldn’t always be available.
With all that in mind, it’s imperative that you properly manage your schedule when opening prize chests. Any chests you win when your queue is full will automatically be forfeited, unless you’re willing to pay diamonds in order to open them up right away! This might not be much of an issue if you only received a basic chest, but it will definitely be one if you get lucky and end up with a Rare chest or better!
3. Take Advantage Of The Watch And Win Offer And Daily Rewards
On the left side menu on the main screen, you will see a button with coins — the one in the very middle. Tap on that button and you will be directed to the Watch & Win menu, which simply allows you to watch four videos in succession in order to earn four different types of freebies. The types of rewards may vary — these may include coins, diamonds, prize chests (usually the basic Reward Chest, which contains only nine cards, or Rare Chests for the final video), and other types of free stuff. Watch all four videos and you get all four rewards guaranteed — after that, you will need to wait 12 hours before the rewards reset and you’re able to return to the menu to pick up more freebies.
Aside from the Watch & Win menu, the one right below that allows you to get more free stuff, and that’s where you can claim your Daily Rewards. These rewards reset every 28 days, and for each day you log into the game, you will earn progressively better rewards, starting with 200 coins on day 1, a Rare Chest on day 2, 15 and 25 Diamonds respectively on day 3 and day 4, and so on — at the end of each seventh day, you will earn a free Epic Chest, which, for College League players, comes with 28 cards, including at least one guaranteed Superstar Card.
During the final week, you can collect as many as 3,000 to 5,000 coins, and by day 28, you will get a Legendary Chest that promises up to 43 items, including six guaranteed Pro Cards, eleven guaranteed Superstar Cards, and 500 Season Tokens if you’re still in the College League!
4. Know Your Players And Their Stats
One of the good things about PvP sports games that come with fictional players is that you don’t need to familiarize yourself with so many real-life teams and players. That said, it’s advisable that you go to the My Team menu and take a look at the players you’ve already unlocked, as well as those that you may unlock once you open more chests, especially the rarer ones.
At the moment, there are 30 collectible players, six of them per tier, and they are divided into different rarities — Rookie, Pro, Superstar, and Exclusive. This is where you will see all the real-life references, as we mentioned above, but if you’re just starting out, you’ll need to be content with what you’ve got. (In case you’re wondering, Exclusive players can only be unlocked if you’re willing to pay real-life money!) You can manually select which two players you wish to use in your next game, though there’s always the Auto button to use if you want the AI to automatically select your best players in terms of Power.
Tap on any of the 30 players, regardless of whether you have them unlocked or not, and you can view their stats on the right side of the screen. Usable Energy refers to the amount of energy they can expend while on the court, Backup Energy is the amount of energy they can replenish while sitting on the bench, Energy Refill Speed is the speed in which the player can regenerate via their Backup Energy, Character Size simply refers to their size, Character Speed measures how fast they can move on the court, and Character Jump is also self-explanatory — this refers to their leaping ability.
Above each player’s stats, you’ll see their total Power — their current overall rating and their maximum. (In the above example, Mike’s default Power is 23 at level 1, though once he’s fully upgraded, that figure can go as high as 41.)
If you’re looking at a player you’ve already unlocked, you will see the Upgrade button on the bottom left side flashing, along with the amount of coins you need to pay in order to level them up. You’ll also see how many cards you currently have, showing you whether you’re ready to upgrade that player or not. Tap on the Upgrade button to level up the player, and you’ll see them get a slight statistical increase in certain attributes.
If a player has yet to be unlocked, tap on Get Cards and the game will direct you to the various options in which you can earn that character’s cards. Superstar player cards can also be earned by completing missions — tap on the Missions button while viewing a Superstar character and you’ll see a list of tasks you need to complete in order to earn a few of their cards to add to your total.
During your first few days of playing Basketball Arena, you will, as we said earlier, have to stick with the players you have, but eventually, you can isolate your most talented players in terms of Power and set them aside as the ones to prioritize when making upgrades. That means focusing on your Rare and Superstar players, given that it costs progressively more coins to upgrade players as their level increases. But even then, your on-court strategy will still be arguably more important than your choice of players!
5. Make Sure You Have Enough Coaching Contracts
Every basketball team needs to have a coach to call the plays and keep everyone in line, but in the world of Basketball Arena, coaches are essentially a resource that determines how often you can compete in multiplayer matches against those human opponents. You can refill coaching Contracts by paying Diamonds — it costs 15 Diamonds for one Contract, and you can ideally hold a maximum of 10.
However, bear in mind that you can also win Contracts as part of the rewards you can earn by opening prize chests — that means you can store more than 10 Contracts at any time and you may not even have to spend too many Diamonds on those manual renewals!
Aside from the Common Contracts, you also have Rare and Epic Contracts, and you can unlock the latter two types once you’ve accumulated 2,000 Fans and 11,400 Fans respectively. The main difference to take note is that Rare Contracts allow you to field a team with three players and Epic ones allow you to have four players.
That means you can have more than just one player on the bench as a substitute, thus allowing you to better conserve your energy and increasing your chances of outscoring your opponents! Players do, after all, get tired, and that could take its toll on their shot accuracy.
Even if it’s possible to earn new Contracts by opening prize chests, we’d still suggest that you alternate between different types of Coaches, in order to maximize your chances to play and earn more coins, Fans, and Season Tokens.
6. Familiarize Yourself With Your Super Powers And Use Them Wisely On The Court
Super Powers, as we mentioned in the first tip, are special power-ups you can use once per game, and they can give your team an extra edge on court, mainly (but not exclusively) by performing actions against your opponents, such as freezing them, turning the ball into a bomb. Aside from the ones we mentioned, there are also Super Powers that allow you to become invisible for a few seconds, a Power Breaker that temporarily disables your opponents’ powers, a Mirror that duplicates your opponent’s Super Powers, Extra Time to add a few seconds to the clock, Disorient to mix your opponents’ buttons and consequently “confuse” them, and lastly, Freeze Ball to freeze the ball “whenever you want” in an effort to disrupt your opponents’ playmaking.
New Super Powers are unlocked once you reach a certain number of Fans (Freeze Ball becomes available at 10,500 Fans, just to give you an idea of how many are needed for the final Super Power).
Just like your players, you can also upgrade your Super Powers with coins once you’ve collected enough cards that correspond to them, and we would likewise suggest that you focus on the ones you prefer the most, given the progressively increasing cost of leveling them up.
For each upgrade, you can add a few more seconds to the effective time of the Super Power — for example, upgrading Bomb from level 1 to 2 costs 250 coins and adds 0.50 seconds to extend the effective time from 1.5 to 2 seconds. For each upgrade you perform, you’ll get closer to unlocking more Super Power slots — at first, you will start with one, though you can have as many as 10 selected at any given time.
Personally, we prefer the Invisible Super Power among the more basic ones, as that can seriously throw off opponents, especially when you’re using the Dash button to speed past the opposing player. Disorient is also a lot of fun, as it could throw off many opposing players, especially the newer ones who haven’t unlocked it yet. However, your choice of Super Powers will all depend on your preferred play style — each of them can be useful if activated at the right time, so try as many of them as possible until you find the ones that works for you the best!
7. Use The Dash Button To Make Big Moves On Offense And Defense
The Dash button will come in handy during many an occasion in Basketball Arena. Essentially, this is like a “turbo” button that allows your player to move much faster than they normally could, and the game will show you during the tutorial stage that it can be used to set up a thundering dunk.
All you need to do is to tap on the button while handling the ball, allowing you to rush past your opponent. Once there, you can either tap twice on the Shoot button or tap once on Jump — either way, you can dunk the ball for an easy two points, though the drawback here is that this move expends more energy than the average two-pointer.
Although Dash is very useful on offense, it can also serve an important purpose on defense! You will need to act faster than you would on offense, but use Dash while moving backward in order to chase your opponent down and attempt to block their shot, or go for the steal if the opportunity calls for it. Timing will still be important, but at least if you’re dashing backward to counter your opponent’s presumable use of the button, you can catch up with them and be in a much better position to prevent them from scoring an easy two or three points.
8. Try Keeping The Score Low Against Tougher Opponents
Although it’s tempting to run up the score and shoot at will, especially if you’re facing weaker and/or less experienced opponents, it may also be a wiser decision to keep the score low once you’re facing more talented and/or more experienced human players. It’s pretty much the same logic that applies in real-life basketball — if you’re facing a high-scoring team or one of the league’s leaders, you’ll often have a better chance of winning by slowing down the tempo and bearing down on defense.
What does this mean in Basketball Arena and its 90-second, naturally fast-paced games? Simply put, that means taking as long as possible before taking a shot — instead of dashing past your opponent and hitting the Jump button for an electrifying dunk or firing away at will from three-point range, take a few more seconds than usual to take that shot. If you’ve got enough space separating you from your opponent, take advantage of that gap and wait it out a bit before shooting.
You can also stall for a couple of seconds if you have the chance — just stand there or hit the left/right buttons to go backward and forward without any intention of moving past the halfcourt line. Be on the lookout, however, for the possibility that they might use a Super Power. And don’t be shy about using your Super Powers as well!
Aside from doing your part to slow down the tempo, you’ll also need to focus on your defensive techniques, hitting the Jump and Steal buttons (as they appear on defense) at just the right time in order to make a successful block or steal. It might not be easy during the first few tries, and defense may not be as important in here as it is in other games, but having a stout defense and playing at a slow pace just might be what you need against the top teams.
In addition, stalling and slowing down the game can work to your favor if you’re trying to preserve a narrow lead, so that’s another instance in which you can utilize this strategy!
9. Closely Monitor Your Energy And That Of Your Opponent
Yes, we know how fun it is to run up the score and drain those open three-pointers. But as we’ve already established, attempting shots costs energy. Once your energy levels are low, you will sometimes be warned that you’re taking a low-energy shot attempt, and what that simply means is that you might not be able to score as easily as you normally would! That’s why we advise you to make full use of your bench, especially once you’ve unlocked the Rare and Epic Coaches and are able to utilize more than two players in a single game.
If you notice your energy is running rather low, just tap the avatar of the player you wish to field in order to replace your current player on the floor — always do this after someone successfully scores, as that’s the game’s equivalent of a dead ball situatiion.
Also take stock of the Energy-related attributes in each player’s profile, particularly their maximum Energy and the amount of Energy they can recover while sitting on the bench. And when it comes to choosing your shots, you don’t have to make each and every one of them a three, and not every two-pointer should be triggered by a dash to the opponent’s hoop!
10. Keep Playing Matches And Adding Fans To Get Promoted To The Next League
All players of Basketball Arena are placed in certain leagues depending on how well they’ve performed in the previous ones, and if you want to get promoted sooner rather than later, you’ll need to place among the top 20 players once the current season ends. Fans are the main metric when it comes to deciding the league rankings, and that simply means you need to keep winning in order to improve your chances of finishing in the top 20 once everything is said and done.
Once you get promoted to a new league, the prizes will improve — you’ll be able to unlock a new stadium, earn more coins for a victory, and get more cards in your Prize Chests. Of course, that will also mean a tougher set of opponents to deal with, so be sure you’re upgrading those characters and Super Powers in order to remain up to speed with the rest of the competition!
Also pay attention to the League Missions at the bottom of the League screen — you can win Diamonds, prize chests, and more once you reach certain Fans milestones — as well as the 2x Fan Boost option on the right side of the screen. For the latter, you can watch an ad video to get a free five-minute boost, or pay 120 Diamonds to get a healthy 30-minute boost where all Fans you earn for a victory will be doubled!
11. You Can Earn More Rewards Via The Season Pass
Aside from the rewards we mentioned earlier, you can collect more goodies via the Season Pass section, and that’s where you can make use of the Season Tokens you earn for each victory. If you’re playing for free, you can collect these prizes via the Free Pass section of the Season Pass menu — for each Token milestone you reach, you can earn coins, Diamonds, chests, emoji, as well as new gear such as jerseys and shoes.
Keep in mind that the gear is only in there for aesthetic and collection purposes — they do not actually improve your characters’ skills nor give your team any special buffs! At the moment, there are 34 different milestones you can reach, though not all of them will come with prizes if you’re playing for free.
Now if you opt for the Season Pass, which costs $5 USD or its local equivalent to activate, you can win yourself even more free stuff, and in some milestones, you may end up with more than one reward — for example, for the third one in Season Pass, you get both a Rare Chest and a Power Chest.
You can also unlock rare gear if you’re paying for the Season Pass, as well as dunk animations that, once again, are only there for aesthetic purposes and nothing more! Still, it would be nice to see your players perform multiple types of dunks, so if you’re willing to pay five bucks for additional rewards, those animations are always interesting to pick up.
12. About The Game’s Social Features
The second button in the left-side menu on the main screen allows you to access Basketball Arena’s social features — after all, what’s a PvP sports game without some sort of mechanics that allow you to make new online friends? The main draw, however, would arguably be the option to connect your game to Facebook.
This, in itself, could benefit you in multiple ways, as you will first be able to save your progress across multiple devices, or in the event you choose to delete the app and reinstall it at another time. Aside from that, you will get an automatic reward of 50 Diamonds once your game has been connected to the platform, and you will be able to add Facebook friends who may be playing the game, as well as people you may have faced in previous matches.
Once you’ve added a few friends, you would be able to request gifts — usually character or Super Power cards — from them, though if you do, you should always be sure to return the favor by sending them gifts once they need your help. But we’d say the main benefit of adding friends is the ability to play Friendly Matches against them.
Here, there aren’t any stakes whatsoever to take into account — it’s a no-pressure game with the same 90-second time limit, and more importantly, it’s a good way to practice your skills without having to deal with the pressure of winning in order to add more Fans, unlock new stuff, and earn more currency.
13. Participate In The Limited-Time Events
Basketball Arena currently doesn’t have any Achievements menu where you can earn rewards for accomplishing a certain in-game task, such as accumulating a certain number of characters, scoring a certain number of points across all your games, earning so much coins over those previous games, etc. What it does have, however, are limited-time events, which can be accessed via the Events button in the main menu.
These events tend to reset once per day, and the current one as of this writing allows you to collect bonus rewards once you reach certain milestones in terms of Fans. For example, you can earn 100 coins once you’ve reached 100 fans, a Reward Chest once you’ve hit the 350-fan mark, and progressively rarer chests until the Rare Chest becomes available for hitting the 1,750-fan milestone.
And if you finish among the top 10 players in the world once the event expires, you can win even more prize chests. Being that in this event, you cannot win any more prizes after hitting 1,750 fans, you have the option to pay 50 Diamonds and reset it, bringing you back to zero as far as the prize tiers are concerned and allowing you to win the same prizes yet again for your next 100, 350, 850, 1,150, and 1,750 Fans.