Quick Thoughts On: BasketBelle

I’ve never been a big fan of sports. Despite being extremely competitive and athletic there’s just something about traditional sports that bores me to tears. That said, there’s always been something almost ethereal to me about shooting hoops with a basketball, transcending my typical dislike of sports into something simply delightful. BasketBelle sort of taps into that sort of feeling, beginning as a basic basketball game but quickly veering into strange and imaginative directions with only an ever bouncing sphere to keep us grounded.

There’s a very heartfelt elegance to BasketBelle, as if the adventure we’re going on is as unknown and limitless to the developer as it is to us. Though it takes but thirty minutes to play through, every moment of the experience is so creative and sweetly framed that it conveys a far more meaningful and touching narrative than its brief length would have you expect. The relationship between the nameless protagonist and his little sister, Belle, is beautiful in its playful innocence, not needing to be complex or troubled to turn these faceless purple people into characters I could relate to and which made me smile.

Sure, BasketBelle’s gameplay is fairly limited, its controls anything but smooth, and its length incredibly brief, but none of that really mattered to me. The imagination and love flowing through the constantly evolving journey was all I needed to allow me to sink into its gorgeous backgrounds as I dribbled with alien monsters, learned to fly, and bonded with my sister all in time for bed. I would have gladly spent much longer in such a delightful world, but what’s here is an almost perfect expression of a developer’s odd idea that turned into something rather lovely. Good show, Bean!

"Quick Thoughts" is a subset of my normal reviews for smaller games which might not fit into a full review but I still have something to say about.
BasketBelle was developed by Studio Bean and is available on PC via Steam for $4.99.

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