More often than not, most football games – whether for mobile devices or games consoles – often fail to impress me to an extent that they fall into the category of being ‘my cup of tea’. I often prefer games that offer a unique take on the sport, using one of its various aspects such as free kicks, penalties or dribbling skills and focusing on these as opposed to attempting a more sweeping and broad take on all aspects of the game a la Real Football 2013. I therefore thank D & D Dream Corp for giving virtual birth to a unique little game coated in a thin veneer of football called ‘Head Soccer’.
Newton would be Displeased
One of the limiting factors in the original Head Soccer game is the highly frustrating physics of the gameplay. In particular, it is the annoyingly erratic movement of the ball that is the main issue here, since it seems you spend half of the match chasing after the ball in quite the awkward fashion while it remains airborne and almost entirely out of your reach for the majority of the time. Due to the relatively small size of the players and the comparatively ridiculous tendency of the ball to bounce uncontrollably off all four sides of the screen, you may find yourself becoming annoyed very quickly at the remarkable difficulty of even getting close to the ball before it bounces off the top of the screen and back into your goal. Even more frustrating is the fact that this is quite often a result of a shot that you took yourself. The movement of the ball in general would need to be looked at should I be even remotely interested in playing the sequel.
Kick the Habit
Another drawback to the gameplay itself, regardless of the mode you’re playing in, is the ambiguous nature of your kicks and the seemingly random movement of the ball when you manage to land one. The problem seems to be with the kicking itself in that it seems quite a difficult task to even make contact with the ball that wasn’t simply a complete fluke. About 80% of the time you will find yourself kicking aimlessly at the air with the only reason you made contact with the ball is because it just so happened to be travelling towards you at that very moment. Because of the rigid and inflexible movements of the players, you often cannot even hope to get to the ball in time to kick it in the direction that you want to, and if the ball travels behind you, all hope is basically lost of you stopping it rolling into the goal. Moreover, due to the unpredictable nature of the ball’s behaviour when you kick it (it could travel in a straight line, fly in a random direction or simply bounce like you never even made contact with it), you will often find yourself scoring goals by simply deflecting them with your body. Head Soccer 2 needs to improve on the player’s contact with the ball and also the remarkably unpredictable kicking mechanism.
More Violence is the Answer
In the gaming world, there isn’t much that can’t be solved by simply making things a little more violent. With the game already allowing you to bruise the opposing player, why not make things a little more Tekken than it already is by including some health bars, combo moves, or powerful kicks that send the opposition flying into their own goal. This would be a unique take on the traditional ‘Free Kick’ concept and could be coined a ‘Killing Spree Kick’, or another equally mediocre play on words.