It always seems like a constant struggle to keep up with football. No matter which way you look at it, to be anything close to resembling a fan you have to keep up with the current fixtures, pick a team, stick with them through the good times and bad, follow your club’s goings on, not to mention putting up with a minimum of 90 minutes’ worth of mind-numbing gameplay. This is why – in my very correct opinion – football is largely a poor choice in hobby and/or pastime, requiring vast amounts of effort to keep up with the game with very little to show for it aside from the theft of 90 minutes of your life and £90 from your wallet for the team’s most up-to-date strip. I often feel the same way about football simulation games, but less so when they focus on the one and only redeemable aspect of football: scoring.
Games that recognise the monotony of 95% of the sport and put it on the bench in favour of bringing on the actually-entertaining 5% are an absolute winner, and I wouldn’t mind directing your attention towards a select few for your perusal and what could be your benefit. The existence of these games makes me feel that there may be hope for football games yet on mobile; you know, as long as they only involve free kicks and ignore the rest of the brain-melting tedium.
I position this game in a vertically superior location to the ones that follow it due to the fact that I believe it is the most fantastic example of football simulation on the mobile games market (that I have played in my life thus far, anyhow). It combines everything you could want in a football game: a brilliant gameplay mechanic that uses screen-swiping to kick the ball, a variety of game modes to test your flicks and kicks in different contexts, a range of customisation features that allow you edit the appearance of your player and the surrounding stadium, and most importantly the complete lack of management and career prospects coupled with absolutely no requirement that you know anything about football to be able to enjoy the whole thing!
Football Kicks: Defender’s only gone and let it slip past
Swiping the ball allows you to control its direction, height, power and spin, whilst challenges with a variety of parameters are offered to you via the multifarious modes of gameplay. Scoring goals against the clock, around walls of defenders, past nimble goalkeepers, and across the box in corner mode are a few of your options, and a multiplayer simply adds more depth to the whole experience. I found myself spending hours on the game (collectively, not consecutively – I do have a life outside of the pixelated world, however unbelievable this may be), which is quite the achievement for a game that covers such a specific aspect of the sport of football. Even confusingly elaborate management titles and full-on simulations have nothing on this title.
Flick Kick Football Kickoff
Another football game that’s heavy on the swipe as well as the hype. The hype is entirely from me, but my enjoyment of this game makes it entirely justified. Much like Football Kicks, Flick Kick Football Kickoff has you placed in front of a goal with the sole purpose of arranging a punctual meeting between the ball and the net, with various obstacles in the way depending on the mode of gameplay you choose to enter into.
The swipe mechanic is similar to Football Kicks, though curved shots seem much more achievable, with the game being more responsive to the movement of your finger across the screen. Tap straight if you want to dink the ball in gently, swipe in a curved fashion to get the ball to bend, and play about with the speed/length of your finger’s journey across the screen to control the power of the shot. The gameplay modes are relatively limited (the main version of the game has much more variety in that respect), though you do get to go up against the clock in ‘skillshot’ mode and test your accuracy against carefully-placed targets in ‘bullseye’ mode, and there’s even a multiplayer if you wish to share the experience with friends. Flick Kick Football Kickoff is one of the few football game that I have allowed to remain on my iDevice for an extended period of time.
An over-the-top free-kick game with elements of skills development, multiplayer and the opportunity to cross the ball with a bicycle kick? Yes please. Freekick Battle has you positioned in front of the goal in the usual fashion, but allows you to customise the appearance of your character as well as develop his/her skills along the way by purchasing various performance-enhancing garments and becoming involved in training. The gameplay is similar in format to all other free-kick games, though instead of swiping to shoot, the direction of the ball is decided by the arrow-shaped indicators while the power, height and swerve of the shot can be controlled by indicating the striking position on the football in front of you. There aren’t too many modes to concern yourself with, with the main mode allowing you to have a free-kick face-off with a random player somewhere else in the world, and arcade mode being the single-player alternative.
Battling for Bonuses
Each mode involves the manipulation of the ball into the goal and past various defenders and a goalkeeper. The distinguishing feature is the ability to pass to a teammate in order to perform a cross; performing the shot correctly will allow your teammate to perform an intensely dramatic bicycle kick in slow motion, bringing an element of outrageous theatrical exaggeration to the whole thing, and being extremely fun to watch in the process. Freekick Battle’s multiplayer can be taken or left at your leisure; it is the single-player modes that provide the most entertainment, allowing you to engage in some outrageously dramatic shots and some generally solid free-kick based entertainment.