Chances are, you've played H-O-R-S-E. Maybe the last time you chucked up balls in the make-this-exact same-shot-as-someone-else basketball battle was in high school or a long time ago. But it probably didn't involve sawblades, teleporters and boost strips.
Gasketball takes the playground hoops staple and puts it on iOS devices with a mind-bending sci-fi spin. The core premise of Gasketball isn't that different from traditional b-ball: get the rock through the hoop. But the remixed hoops title by indie dev team MikeNGreg — who have also made Solipskier — adds a ton of rules and wrinkles to that goal.
Players start by flicking the ball off of a launch grid towards the hoop. Sometimes you'll need to have the ball interact with a specific surface or item — a platform, conveyor belt or teleporters — before it hits the net. The more bounces you get, the higher a score you earn, though you'll also get a swish bonus for not touching any unrequired surfaces, too.
I loved that Gasketball essentially rewarded me for how convoluted a hoop I could make. Some levels aggravated me with how exacting you have to be to pull off specific buckets. But I still couldn't stop playing, flicking ball after ball at the spin wheel and hoping to apply just enough English to arc it into the hoop. The kind of stickiness you see in physics-based games like Angry Birds — where you constantly want to try over and over again to hit a specific target — is strong in Gasketball.
Multiplayer options include the ability to take your own nigh-impossible shot and send it to a Game centre friend for a game of asynchronous H-O-R-S-E and 1-on-1 mode where two players share the same screen race to score the most in a set amount of time. There's also a level editor in Practice Mode where you can use the items that bedevil you to craft a Rube Goldbergian challenge of your own.
You can download the game for free but will need to pay to unlock additional content. $US2.99 pays for all future levels and features. It's worth it, though. Gasketball takes a sport that's already fun and lets players find ways around arcane obstacles.
Gasketball [free, iTunes]