I’m not one to toe the line between what is and isn’t a game, but BasketBelle definitely exists somewhere close to it. It’s got plenty of mechanics to contend with but they come together in a much more experimental form than anything, and in a bite-sized package that’ll last you little more than half an hour. You’ll definitely want to keep this in mind going in, because while I don’t see this title becoming anyone’s all-time favorite it definitely plays with the platforming genre in ways that deserve to be seen.
You take on the role of a young, purple b-baller roaming the streets of Paris in search of his lost sister. Each of the game’s scenes requires you to run, jump, slide, and dunk to beat your opponents, usually amorphous purple blobs standing in your way. The mechanics are simple but are tested in many different ways, sometimes in battles on the court, sometimes in platforming puzzles, and sometimes in high-speed flight sequences. It’s a rough-hewn experience, with some floaty platforming and unclear mechanics in some of the battles, so be prepared for a fair bit of experimentation yourself.
To describe the game any further would be to spoil the themes or the story. And that would be quite the disservice, considering the length of the game and the importance of personal discovery. Most of the gameplay is very straightforward in the end, and I only found myself briefly stuck on one particular puzzle. The art style is excellent and the sound design supports it well. Obviously BasketBelle isn’t going to keep you busy for long or become your new favorite game, but if you get the chance to play it, it’s well worth the time for the surreal journey and adorable story.