In the thick jungle of mobile games meant to capitalize on the popularity of basketball, newer titles are meant to tread the path carved by giants NBA 2K and NBA Live. Although it’s generally a paved road already with controls, commands, and options all figured out and just waiting to be copied it’s a space that is simply hard to box out one’s own area for success; the competition is simply tight.
Miniclip, the studio behind titles such as 8 Ball Pool and Mini Football decided to take a smooth swerve away from the saturated zone, creating something that still presents the competitive spirit of the much-loved sport, but giving it a straightforward, user-friendly, casual touch. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why we have Mini Basketball.
Mini Basketball is fitted with presets that are obviously geared to get you playing in just a few taps. The controls (direction pad and the three basic commands) will be introduced right away when you first launch the game and after a few introductory drills, you’ll be pitted in a quick match.
Despite having a handful of game modes, there are only two general play types (matches and daily slam dunks). As for duration, every match is faithful to just one format: 150 seconds default running time (excluding possession switch, half-time, and foul breaks) divided into 2 halves.
The game clock per half will say 24:00, but every 1:00 of it is equivalent to 3.125 real-world seconds. Each overtime will mean an extension of 5:00 or 15.62 seconds. These variables essentially make Mini Basketball a quick-match kind of game made perfect by its simplicity.
Quite ironically, the simplicity of Mini Basketball is what complicates it. With a lot of matters and dynamics existent in basketball games simplified, there are features and game mechanics that were unfortunately truncated and made vague. This brings questions and complications.
In response to such complications, we are starting this Mini Basketball guide with a detailed discussion of what we see as obstacles present in the game. Fittingly, we also provided potential remedies available for when you encounter them. Lace your sneakers up, tip-off is here!
1. CHALLENGES AND COUNTERMEASURES
Rocky Rule in Rebounding
In contrast to almost 99% (or so) of basketball video games, rebounding is something that is automatic players from both teams that are nearest to a loose ball are either programmed to be selected or at least prioritized whenever you issue the pass/switch players command. The said behavior is inexistent in Mini Basketball. There isn’t even an auto-react/auto-box out feature whenever there’s a missed shot.
What makes it quite worse is that, offensive rebounding is rampant. Basketball games usually have a fair hitbox when it comes to rebounding and if you have played enough NBA Live or 2K, you may even agree that the defending team is even somewhat favored. In Mini Basketball, it’s the stark opposite; the offensive team soaks up loose balls and seems to have the bigger hitbox. If you have played at least 100 games, you would know this is true.
Other games even let you contest an airborne ball from a missed shot with a particular jump/rebound command. Mini Basketball have no such feature to actively rebound, you must consciously command a player of yours to chase the loose ball. The ONLY solution to these rebounding problems is to make a player walk up to the ball manually.
Occasionally, players from either team might try and scoop up a missed shot on their own, but this rarely happens because this AI-assisted move requires for a player to have a full stamina (circle) and be in the specific direction of the ball first. Again, players do not automatically react when there’s a loose ball.
Ultimately, the only answer players have for the offense-favoring rebounding mechanism in Mini Basketball is to manually go after the loose ball or, better yet, hard-contest a shot with a block because successful rejections conveniently progress as steals.
Deceiving Defensive Maneuvers
The effectiveness and sensitivity around the dynamics of steals and blocks in Mini Basketball is reminiscent to NBA Live games before 2005. Back then, you can essentially spam the steal and block commands with little fear of repercussion.
Repeatedly tapping the defend button while hounding the ball handler will have your selected player continuously reach in. You would rarely get a foul when doing so and if you do, it would normally warrant no free throws, just a throw-in reset.
The pace and interval of how you can chain steal attempts are arcade-like unreal, so always feel free to spam. Steals may also come automatically if a defender stands along the direct passing lane to a receiver.
As for blocks, you need to commit holding the defense button at least one full second when you’re contesting a shot. Otherwise, it’ll just be a soft resistance or distraction jump that will not do anything (translation: will NOT affect the shooter’s accuracy) since Mini Basketball is a simplified game.
Blocks require timing and close positioning because they are potent; like shared in the above subsection, a successful block immediately becomes a steal. In Mini Basketball, you don’t slap the ball away from the shooter whenever you block; instead, you snatch it immediately getting possession. What’s good with blocks is, as long as the blocker is really in close contact with the attacker, it can happen regardless if the block is coming from behind or the sides.
Now, the problem with steals and blocks is not about any limits on how frequently you can attempt them, but rather it is with their reliability. There will be games where you can steal fairly easily and there will be games where even if you keep poking a ball handler with steal attempts from the half court down to the rim, your defensive efforts would be futile.
Explanations for unsuccessful blocks and steal attempts (according to some Reddit discussions on Mini Basketball) pertain to the stamina circle not being full. However, we’re 100% sure that is not true because, in our case, we rarely use the sprint button when on defense.
What’s worse is that, you may observe that in games where your defensive efforts are seemingly ineffective, the other team’s steals and blocks take effect too frequently. If you notice such is happening, utilize ball movement, be patient in passing around, and do other offense measures that we will discuss in the Keys to Victory section later in this guide.
Sometimes, no matter how you consistently and accurately hit the middle point of the shot gauge bar, your shots still miss. Longer distance shots may even go air ball totally disregarding how well-timed the attempt is in terms of gauge bar input or absence of defenders.
There is no information from the publisher or other online resources/discussion boards that tackles about shooting percentage and what factors intervene with shots’ success rates. So, in a bid to help investigate, we are running a process of elimination to deduce what factors really affect a shot’s accuracy.
1. Do Higher Stats Mean Higher Accuracy?
With how ratings are viewed in the gaming realm, having superior power ratings/stats average/combat power is seen as a universal key to success. That may be true, but it largely just applies to games that are heavily reliant on RNG and with a minimal skill requirement. In Mini Basketball, having a high team rating somewhat gives a sense of security that you can go head-to-head with any team you play against, but it offers no guarantee.
In our grind to master the game for this guide, we amassed a win ratio of 70.28% in our first 350 games. Quite surprisingly, most of our losses are from teams that are just within a range of 20 power rating higher or lower than ours. We rarely struggle against teams that have much superior ratings; in fact, we usually end up outgunning them and holding an equally-stifling, if not better, defense.
As such, we are moved to conclude that going against a superior team will not affect your shot accuracy. However, dealing with a superior team means your defensive efforts may not be as effective because their players will have higher jumping, inside scoring, and outside scoring stats factors that matter in offense.
2. Does Stamina Affect Shots?
We’ll be quick for this one, the answer is no. Regardless how little stamina is left in a player, his accuracy will remain the same. This explains why it is normally advised to do a spin move first before shooting or dunking to lose a defender.
The same is true for long-ranged jumpers; the accuracy of 3-pointers does not factor-in stamina, you can shoot one right after spinning and still get the same results. Do not forget, though, that spinning consumes all of a player’s stamina and when a player has a depleted stamina circle he will be very sensitive to blocks. As such, only spin and shoot with max precaution.
3. Are The Stats For Shooting Inside And Shooting Outside Express Apparent Success Percentages?
Our permanent mode of approach awarded us a credible perspective to answer this question we prioritize taking three-pointers. In our first 100 games, our conversion rate behind the 3-point line clocked at above 42% and the best shooter we have back then is Omar (Wing). When he became our team’s “hard carry” his rating was just at 28 and his shooting outside rating was 32. If the rating is a percentage, there’s no way we could’ve crossed above 40%
Eventually, we were able to obtain a better shooter in Earlington (Wing). He is now our team’s all-time highest scorer, thanks to his shooting outside stat that is currently 55. Impressive as it is, our current running 3-point conversion rate is only at 46%. This means that Earlington’s 55 is not a 3-point shooting success rate projection at all.
Our guess is that there is an RNG system in play that accepts or denies the inside and outside shooting stats of a player and that there are games where these stats are simply disregarded. More like a “yes or no” event kind of RNG. If you notice that your best shooters are not converting even when given an open shot, our suggestion is to shift the side of your offense if the right wing shooters are missing, let the left wing take charge or walk your main shooter to shoot at the top of the key.
Usually, when a shooter has a bad RNG in a match, that persists all game long and this is why it is important to have more than 1 scoring option. If you’re playing a spot-heavy team, distribute them across the arc; if you have a reliable Post player, forward the ball to him rather than sweating it out on your shooters.
We reckon that this is an unusual way to open a guide, but we feel it’s important to discuss the matters above as there is no resource elsewhere that touches those issues in detail. Now, off to general pointers that will help you beat the competition even if you are a ratings underdog.
2. KEYS TO VICTORY
Whether you’re a rookie or a veteran, these general tips in basketball are equally crucial and applicable to your success in Mini Basketball.
Make Your Shots
Self-explanatory and a no-brainer; to win, you need to make your shots. Fortunately, holding and releasing your shots for accuracy’s sake is something that you won’t need to instinctively develop because Mini Basketball has a convenient shot gauge. The idea is to release the hold with the indicator as close as possible to the center.
Making your shots is a minor mechanical skill that won’t need much time or effort to hone. It’s just a matter of eye-to-hand coordination; once your desired player is at the spot you intend to score from, hold down the shoot button and wait for the indicator to move.
The indicator does not have to be right smack at the center when you release, but you will want it to be as centered as possible especially if you’re taking an outside shot. For dunks and short-range jumpers, releasing within the center area’s vertical frame lines is usually enough.
Find The Open Man
Court vision or offensive awareness is the technical term for this skill in basketball and fortunately, one does not have to be a natural point guard to be able to spot an open man. The camera perspective in Mini Basketball is the “broadcast” angle (in NBA 2k or NBA Live) which lets you see all your players on the screen and the distance they have from defenders. The idea is to pass the ball around until you see a player with ample distance or clearance from a defender.
A good way to find an open man or to create an opening is to “pull” the defensive aggro. You can do this after a throw-in; let the receiver of the inbound stay at the backcourt for a bit and wait until a defender approaches to attempt and steal the ball. Once the defender is close enough, hit him with a spin move.
If the spin move is successful, the floored defender will be “replaced” by a teammate of his and the approach of this defensive help is your cue to pass the ball to the frontcourt. The receiver of this pass will likely be double teamed or at least pull the defender from an adjacent teammate, thus creating a defense gap that you can exploit. This simple system will work on any play/formation (tactic).
In relation to finding the open man, utilizing ball movement will also be your true defense for when you notice that the other team can steal better. The key is to notice the defender covering the ball handler if the defender breaks out of formation and initiates a chase, there is a high likelihood that he is being consciously controlled by your opponent to snag the ball off your hands.
If you see such signs of micro-managing in defense, be alert and don’t let the ball stay for more than 2 real-world seconds with just one player. Pass the ball around and let the game recalculate the stats, position, and distance to interrupt steal attempts.
An outright oxymoron that means you have to “stay active” as you cover the other team when you are on defense. Being aggressive in defense means you have to keep on spamming the defend command as you hound whoever has the ball while still being alert. You need to be sharp so you’ll know when to hold the defend button whenever an opposing player tries to shoot. Merely tapping while guarding a field goal attempt will very rarely result to a block and nobody wants such a sloppy defense, right?
When defending aggressively, you should be extra observant to avoid missing any possession changes. Sometimes, it is hard to quickly notice a successful steal and continuously pressing the defend button would eventually become an accidental whole-court shot AKA a wasted possession. As you aggressively go for steals, watch out for these three 3 cues:
1. Listen to the sound effect that plays for passes, most of the time a successful steal will play the same sound too when a player has successful intercepted the ball.
2. Check the player labels below the team names; once there is only one name showing, the ball is already in your possession.
3. As it can get visually garbled and crowded by the name label area, you may instead focus and anticipate the presence of a red dot on your player’s stamina circle. The red dot represents the ball handler.
Burn The Clock
On the average, it takes about 1:50 of the game clock for a full-court inbound and play to happen and an additional :30 to score a field goal. Taking that into account, if you have a sizeable lead, you can economize the clock and try to burn at least 2:00 from the game clock before actually trying to attack.
You can use the game’s flaw against itself there is no backcourt violation in Mini Basketball. This means, you can use up all the floor space of the back court to lure then spin any defenders, make a pass to another player of yours, make him cross the back court, then rinse and repeat. Just be wary that the game “seemingly” has a safeguard against this trick–steal attempts increasingly become more effective if the ball has not reached the front court 1:30 of the game clock after a throw-in.
Quite obviously, you must not burn the clock if you are behind in points; so for this strategy to be useful, you have to work hard mounting a lead first.
These keys to victory powered us to register an above 70% win rate and if you will take these tricks by heart and keep on grinding, we won’t be surprised if you can lock in a better victory ratio!
3. SECURING SLAM DUNK
The rewards offered by the daily slam dunk includes coins, gems, and player packs. These are resources that will help your overall experience in Mini Basketball. The fact that this feature is capped by default to just once for every 24 hours speaks of its value. It is only right that you get the most out of it.
Making the dunk is all about timing the pin to be within the marked central area of the gauge. Unlike dunking/shooting in actual matches, your attempts in the slam dunk mode differs in the following ways:
1. The shot gauge appears and starts by itself; it won’t wait for a tap.
2. The speed of the pin increases progressively as you move from the first to the fifth dunk.
3. The size of target area decreases accordingly.
The key to landing on the sweet spot / green area is to aim for the first vertical bar. This tactic is similar to what one must do in Dead by Daylight (PC and mobile) when trying to land Great Skill Checks. The key is to pre-aim for the area before the spot you want the pin to stop.
Now, timing the appearance of the bar is also crucial. For that, our advice is to fast count from 1 to 5 after the bar for the first dunk disappears. By the time you reach 5, the next shot gauge will start and then do the concept of aiming shared above. The appearance of the fifth dunk’s gauge bar may appear a bit sooner than the rest.
The unsavory reality of Mini Basketball is that it is (we dare say) a 50% skill, 50% luck type of game. No matter how skilled you become, your progression will ultimately be limited depending on how lucky you are with card draws. If the cards you are getting is too thinned out across multiple players, it means that you cannot level up your current mains.
In essence, Mini Basketball is a gacha game and the drive is to open as much player packs as possible in hopes to draw Epic and Legendary players or mega level-up your Rares and Commons. Of course, the fastest way to obtain packs is by using real currency to buy diamonds which in turn can be used to buy packs. But if you’re purely free-to-play, then the following is where you need to focus on to gain packs.
Win Streak is the hardest game mode in Mini Basketball and also the most rewarding. Every 4 wins you will earn you card packs of increasing quality (plus resources). The catch is, you can only lose a maximum number of 2 times (by default). Shall you absorb your third defeat, you’ll need to spend diamonds to buy Mini Tickets to get back in the chase.
The amount of crowns you can get from winning 12 matches in Win Streak will also catapult you to the top of your current tier’s rankings for the week. No other mode awards as much crowns as Win Streak.
Extending your lifespan in Win Streak is expensive, a Mini Ticket costs 250 diamonds and you will need 1 to cancel 1 loss or 2 to reset the defeat counter. In this light, the most economical purchase is the 3 Mini Tickets option which costs 600 diamonds. A hefty cost, true, but the gains you’ll get from winning would technically give the most versatile bang for the buck.
In our opinion, Mini Tickets would be the best items to spend your diamonds on, but please only do so if you feel that you are skilled and confident enough to finish the Win Streak matches through the end.
What’s good with point missions is that you barely need to exert extra effort to accomplish them. Just keep on playing and scoring and you’ll eventually hit the required values. The only potential hurdle with it is, for example, your approach is three-pointer heavy approach, and you would have to alter your next games so you can rack up dunks and two-pointers.
The variety of tasks in Daily Missions span from cakewalk to gauntlet, but what’s good with it is that most have realistic and proportionate demands. Some tasks are steep but will be worth it, especially those that promises card packs and diamonds.
Achievements will not outright give card packs, but they will be your best source of diamonds. You can use your diamonds then to purchase card packs, hasten the opening of timed card packs, and buy reattempts for Win Streak and Tournaments from which you can earn card packs.
Each achievement type has 4 levels and they give an incremental amount of the precious resource. Achieving each feat will give you 10, 20, 50, 100 diamonds respectively as their level increases. There are currently 27 feats in the game, so in total you can get up to 4,860 just from achievements alone!
The tackled features in above will be your means to collect card packs without spending real-currency. Yes, it will take a huge deal of effort and time to grind out, but it’s all part of the game!
In line with upgrading your players, we recommend to economize you resources for upgrades. By that, we mean to only level up the players that have naturally higher base rating than their peers especially if their strengths synergizes with your play style.
5. NOTABLE TACTICS
Tactics are plays that give preset position for your players as they spread the court. Once a player has reached their designated spot based on your chosen tactic, they would remain stationary until you pass the ball to them and make them move around or attack.
Rudimentary as they seem, there’s actually a bit of science in them which is why we are allocating a section to discuss this game dynamic as well as provide a list of some of the most potent tactics based on our experience.
In essence, tactics are mainly placeholders, but they would give a minor bonus if you follow the prescribed positions expressed in each. For example, if you are using a tactic that has three Guard slots, it will do no harm if you make a Post or a Wing assume those spots. Meanwhile, meeting the prescribed position for each spot will give a +2 rating to your team. The higher rating you have, the more effective your players will be in their roles.
As of now, there are 17 tactics in the game; you will gradually unlock them as your account levels up, with the last tactic opening when you reach level 31. Despite our grind in making this guide, honestly, we have not yet unlocked all tactics but we gained access to all the tactics that matter. The tactics unlockable from level 19 onwards are rather “meme” variants that suggests an improper team composition.
To help you be in your best shape, we’re sharing here a few tactics that we have tried and tested==the ones we believe that has strong, serious potential. Check them out and see that one that fits your preferred play style.
2-2-1 (Available By Level 1)
Everyone’s default play is the most potent tactic available. The presence of a Post by the paint opens the hope for an alley-oop in cases of spot attempts that were prematurely released. The spread of Wings and Guards through the arch open a possibility for long-range jumpers. It is a perfectly balanced tactic which we generally recommend to keep unless you have developed your own flavor of offense that would either favor outside shooting or paint dominance.
Weakness: None. It will only be ineffective if your Post or your preferred Wing/Guard is being manned by a player with more than 12 points of rating above him.
3-1-1 (Available By Level 13)
The play that closely mimics the NBA meta: 1 main big man, 2 offense-centric forwards + 1 off guard, and a playmaker. The default receiver for throw-ins would be the lone Guard and it will be his job to choose which side will your attack happen.
This Wing-heavy (forward) formation assures your team has an adequate size for defense and offense. The presence of a Post (center) allows you to quick pass inside for when your outside shots are not falling through and a decent likelihood to obtain second-chance points through offensive rebounding.
Weakness: potentially the amount of time and luck you need to be able to evenly upgrade 3 Wings. Remember that being under-leveled will mean that a player will be less effective at both ends of the court. Also, the time it would take for the formation to mature would be slightly longer than that of tactics with more than 1 Guard.
2-1-2 (Available By Level 1)
Balanced and strong with offensive threats inside and outside. The 2-1-2 formation bears the old school concept of having a dependable center and a utility power forward while the small forward, shooting guard, and point guard take time to rotate the ball until the defense loosens up. This is most ideal if you are comfortable taking long-range two-pointers because the two big men may help the cause with alley-oops, in case of a miss-aim.
Weakness: Nothing major. The lack of size when guarding outside shooters is a minor concern that can be offset by diligently applying pressure defense and timing your blocks well when covering Wings.
1-1-3 (Available By Level 11)
Post players possess height and (usually also) jumping advantage and having three of them deployed around the paint at the same time puts a strong offensive pillar by the rim. Dunks and alley-oops can happen frequently through this tactic (which is useful if you’re trying to accomplish a dunk mission). The true strength of this lineup, however, is its defensive and rebounding might.
With lengthier players, blocking comes easy! We run a predominantly outside scoring team with 0 reliance to Post players for offense and we were extremely surprised with how powerful a three-post lineup is. We’ll let the game summary screenshot below tell the tale (see the block and rebound differences).
Weakness: It will take a while for the formation to mature since Posts aren’t as quick as Guards and Wings. You would only feel this on offense, though.
3-2-0 (Available By Level 2)
If you’re a Stephen Curry or Damian Lillard fan and have found your range with your shooters in Mini Basketball, this is the tactic we recommend for you. With no player within the arc, this is obviously designed for a one-dimensional, pure-shooting style of play.
Our recommendation for this is to make the player designated to sit by the top of the key to carry the ball to the front court until everyone else has settled in, a couple of passes will usually let you find a barely open man available to spot and score.
Weakness: The absence of a man within the arc means it has minimal to zero offensive rebounding opportunity. Only use this tactic when you’ve mastered your release and have at least 4 Guards/Wings with a shooting outside stat of above 35.
And that’s about it! We’re now concluding our detailed Mini Basketball guide. The game was just published earlier this year, so we can expect a lot of developments to come. We can only hope that the clunky mechanics of unfair rebounding, inconsistent effectiveness of defensive moves, and inexplicably missing well-aimed shots will be fixed soon.
We relished the mixed feelings of triumph and defeat as we grinded our way to master Mini Basketball to make this guide; we hope that you enjoyed your time reading our article. If you have noticed any issues with the game that we have not tackled here or perhaps you have some strategies to share to other players, feel free to discuss them through the comment section below!
Let’s take advantage of this game to make our names fly in the global leaderboards. As old folks say, “strike while the iron is hot,” and may this Mini Basketball guide help you strike swift and firm.