Despite its emphasis on rhythm, Majesco's upcoming NBA Baller Beats is really more similar to Dance Central than it is to Guitar Hero. That's because NBA Baller Beats will actually make you better at the real-life activity that it emulates: dribbling a basketball.
In fact, to say NBA Baller Beats emulates dribbling is incorrect, since dribbling is actually exactly what you're doing. NBA Baller Beats tasks you with dribbling a real basketball in front of the Xbox 360's Kinect sensor, keeping time with an eclectic soundtrack while performing advanced moves like through-the-legs and crossovers.
It's fairly forgiving—there are hit multiple "hit zones," so you'll still earn some points even if your rhythm isn't perfect. But I definitely saw an improvement in my off-hand dribbling just over the few songs that I played recently at a demonstration in LA.
The game's multiple difficulty levels—rookie, pro, and baller—can ease you into the experience, though at least a cursory familiarity with a basketball is required. Training modes narrated by none other than two-time NBA champ Kenny Smith will help enough that, according to him, even your mom can play.
We chatted with Smith, the NBA Baller Beats brand ambassador, about his role on the game, golfing with Charles Barkley, and how playing NBA Baller Beats can make you a better player—whether you start out as a rookie or a real baller.