NBA 2K13 Review

NBA 2K13 Review
The NBA basketball season is almost upon us. Training camp started yesterday, and to kick off the start of camp NBA 2K13 was released on both iOS and Android. So, we're taking a look to let you know if this is a game to buy, or one to avoid. First thing first though, you should be warned that this is designed to be a basketball simulation. If you want arcadey action, you'll want to go for NBA JAM. 

For iOS users, this franchise isn't new, as there was a release for NBA 2K12 on iPhone and iPad last year. The good news for iOS users is that unlike last year, where the game was split up and would cost you  separately for iPhone and iPad, this year the game is universal, so the single purchase will get both versions. Android users, on the other hand, are seeing NBA 2K13 for the first time. 

NBA 2K13 Review
We tested the game on a Galaxy Nexus and a Nexus 7 and the game ran well on both. There was some slowdown on the Galaxy Nexus, but overall the game ran well. There have been some reports on both the iOS side and the Android side that the game will hang and crash, but we haven't seen anything like that. The worst we've seen is some pretty choppy gameplay that was fixed with a quick phone reboot. 

NBA 2K13 is a solid all-around game, but there were some small issues throughout that could get annoying over time. The presentation of the game is pretty good. The music is the star with a soundtrack "produced by Jay-Z", which sounds impressive, but really isn't much different from the good range of hip-hop that you could find in any recent NBA game. Menus are easy to navigate, and are well made for touchscreens in general. The one exception is the roster menus, where even on a larger screen it can be difficult to scroll through and select players. In-game presentation is okay, although you may not want to bother with sound, because while Kevin Harlan and Clark Kellogg are a good team, their calls can be a bit off. The in-game cut scenes can be cool, but only covers the last play, so you may end up seeing a looped replay of a free throw, and some camera angles don't show anything but an empty section of the crowd. 

NBA 2K13 Review
The graphics are really nice considering how much is happening on screen at any given time. The textures aren't the best, but you should be able to recognize your favorite players. The game could use a bit better skin-tone variation, because there were a couple times on a wide camera angle that it was a bit tough to tell the difference between Tyson Chandler and Nick Collison (a mistake that should never be possible). 

The gameplay is where a game either shines or fails, and we have to say that the controls were a bit disappointing in NBA 2K13. There are two options for the control scheme: Classic and One-finger. One-finger is a nice option, but it definitely takes away a lot of the control you have. Essentially, movement is controlled by the game, and you are only responsible for passing, shooting, stealing, and blocking. The trouble is that swipe passing often passes to the wrong player, so it can be tough to get the ball where you want it. With both the
NBA 2K13 Review
One-finger and Classic controls, there often feels like there is a delay between the control input and the action of the player, which can get frustrating, but is also understandable. 

In the Classic mode, there is movement control and buttons for actions, but there is no real dribble control, so it's on the game to decide if a crossover or spin move will help you. This is one spot where the delay may come in handy in the controls, because you may hit the shoot button and find your player pull a shoulder fake before putting up a hook shot. Another trouble we found with the controls was that even on a larger screen the shoot and pass buttons are very faint and close together in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, so if you have large fingers, you may find yourself passing when you mean to shoot. We understand that because this is a sim, the gameplay will be a bit slower than that of NBA JAM, but we did find ourselves missing the responsiveness of the controls, and the big, colorful shoot and pass buttons that you get in JAM. 

NBA 2K13 Review
The game can be pretty difficult too. Maybe it was because we tested it on the second lowest difficulty setting, but the computer was great at finding cutting players, open shooters, and other holes in our defense. Luckily, defense wasn't really there for the computer either, so we were able to shoot 80% from the field.

The game modes are pretty solid. There is no multiplayer, which is a shame, but there are modes for: Quick Game, Practice, Multi-Season, and NBA's Greatest Games. Each option is a bit thin though. Practice is just one player and an empty court. Multi-Season is nice, but the trades are simple one-for-one deals and the computer never says no, so you can build a super-team any time you want. The Greatest Games mode is sure to be the star though. 

NBA 2K13 Review
Right away you can choose from four different Michael Jordan games, including his 63 point game against the Celtics, or buzzer beater against the Jazz. There are also 7 games for Shaq, 5 for Dirk Nowitzki, 5 for Allen Iverson, and 4 for Kobe. There are also slots with "coming soon" games for Steve Nash, Tim Duncan, Tracy McGrady, Kevin Garnett, and Vince Carter, although it's unclear if those will be made available with future game updates, or with in-app purchases. 

Overall, if you're an NBA fan, it's hard not to recommend NBA 2K13. There are some missing features, or the odd issue, but nothing game breaking, and ultimately it is a fun game with quite a lot of content being offered. The game will cost you $7.99 on either iOS or Android, and as we mentioned the app is universal on both platforms, so one purchase will make it available for all of your devices, phone or tablets. If you want to give it a shot, just head over to the iTunes App Store or Google Play Store to purchase. 

Story timeline



1. XPERIA-KNIGHT unregistered


2. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

Fear the beard!

3. XPERIA-KNIGHT unregistered


14. neutralguy

Posts: 1152; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

lelelelakkkkkkkkkkkkeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrsss​sssssssssss! :))

4. devildlm1

Posts: 71; Member since: Sep 12, 2012

???????? i like videogames as much as the next guy but why is phonearena doing video game reviews lol

5. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

We'd like to help our readers decide if a game is worth buying. (plus it gives us an excuse to play games and call it "work") But mostly it's the helping our readers thing...

18. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

can I know what test devices you are using for the games? :) as well as, if ever the app is not compatible - do you get refunds or such?

19. alfiehp21

Posts: 17; Member since: Aug 29, 2012

The test devices, are metioned above. "Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7. As for the refund, my guess is, that it's the same with any game or app bought from the play store.

8. XPERIA-KNIGHT unregistered

ummm it is about an "app" for smartphones isnt it?

6. rsiders

Posts: 1889; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

Heck yeah! 2K13 is the truth. Wasn't expecting to see that here, but I'm not mad at it.

7. androidornothing

Posts: 143; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

I tried to get it with my Galaxy S3 on Verizon but its saying it isnt compatible with it. Is this for Jelly Bean only??

11. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

Play Store says Android 4.0+, not sure what the problem could be.

9. phil2n

Posts: 519; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

did you try the pick and roll of Nash and Howard?

10. Raziel14

Posts: 10; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

offtopic, when playing on android with on screen buttons, is it possible to accidently press home or back button while playing and exit game?

12. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

That's not an issue on the Nexus 7, because the on-screen buttons are in the center, but based on the screenshots of it running on a 10" tab, it looks like it could be a problem.

13. Raziel14

Posts: 10; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

Oh, I thought buttons are maybe locked or something like that. Tnx :)

15. androidornothing

Posts: 143; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

@Michael did you download on 4.1 or 4.0.4? Cuz I tried on the GS3 4.0.4 and it said that it isn't compatible with this version? Can u see what the problem is?

16. Seymur unregistered

This game is just not compatible with S2 and S3. Looks like

17. garz_pa

Posts: 154; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

I skipped the first half of the paragraph and thought this whole review's for the consoles and PC version..

20. binky03

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

Controls dunk?

21. atocruz

Posts: 2; Member since: Nov 29, 2010

Ive got samsung galaxy grand duos, i9082, it works from the start after put the sdfiles on obb folder but before the game starts while loading to start the games, it always crashed on pgm loading,, any fixed on samsung galaxy grand??

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.