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Last Updated: July 24th, 2011

Gaming on Android has been accelerating at the same mind-numbing speed as Android hardware, and we have quickly gone from having a limited number of decent titles to having more good games than we can track. In some cases, these games stand out for their amazing new gameplay; in others, they stand out for their high level of polish. Stardunk is one of the latter.

There have been several Android games that let you play a quick game of basketball, essentially just choosing an angle and power, and letting the ball fly. Stardunk is that plus multiplayer competitiveness and customization with a healthy dose of polish.

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The graphics are excellent and really help make this game stand out in a relatively crowded genre. The sounds and music complement the graphics well and somehow kept me feeling the need to shoot faster (even more so than the ticking clock). Tying it all together is the multiplayer aspect of the game. Every few minutes, a multiplayer round starts where you have two minutes to score as high as you can while hundreds of other players are trying the same thing. When time is up, you will have one last shot as the clock runs out, then you get to see how you stack up compared to the competition. In one good game, I scored about 200,000 and still was not in the top ten, so good luck! The game does feature OpenFeint integration though, so you can compare against your (hopefully) lower scoring friends and regain that lost self confidence.

Scoring "clean" shots (i.e., not using the backboard) earns extra points. Lighting up each of the four pieces of the backboard will activate a random ability such as allowing you to shoot three balls at once or widening the rim to make clean shots easier. As you score points, you also earn space bucks (just kidding, they are called "StarPoints"). You can use the StarPoints to customize your ball, both in appearance and special ability (such as shooting four balls at once instead of three).

Finally, the good and bad: price. This is a free game, which is always appreciated, and there are no advertisements during gameplay. There is one minor ad on the main menu screen, but it's very unobtrusive. Unfortunately, some of the other ads are not so innocuous. Each time you go back to the menu after a game, you are likely to see a full-screen ad. Some are for downloading other apps (and earning StarPoints for doing so); others are just typical ads that hijack the screen. I managed to accidentally tap an ad the appeared right as I was tapping one of the menu buttons. The good news is that you can get rid of the ads with an in-app purchase ($2.99 at time of writing), if you so choose.

In the end, Stardunk is a great time-killing game where you can jump in for a few minutes and jump right back out (or get sucked in and lose a few hours of your life). If you have an Android 2.1+ device and enjoy fast-paced basketball games, it is worth giving Stardunk a shot.

Ian G. Clifton
An Air Force veteran, Ian has been intrigued by technology for as long as he can remember. He develops Android applications for both work and play such as CNET News and Survivor, but he also enjoys art of all kinds and spends some of his few free minutes on photography and sketching.