If I find myself stricken with some heavy boredom during my long and pointless days living with this Corona Virus lock-down in the, UK, then I will most likely turn to my games-capable mobile device for a little relief from the monotony.
If my boredom is the very specific kind which requires a football-related gaming solution, I am most likely to turn to a quick fix like ‘Football Kicks‘ for its smooth and silky blend of free-kick taking, swipe-the-screen-for-some-goal-making delight, since the game provides quite a substantial number of minutes worth of fun with its choice of six game modes, excellently modelled players, addictive curving of your shots and the option to shun the single-player lifestyle and elope with a multiplayer function to live happily ever after.
I hope to the football gods (I’m sure Messi is the head messiah up there) we will someday be provided with a sequel to the game, which will undoubtedly be long-awaited, highly anticipated, and a minimum of 4-star rated Football Kicks 2 title. Seeing as I have very little (i.e absolutely no) control over the gaming industry, I’ll attempt to live vicariously through the possible improvements and friendly recommendations included in this article that will a wildly entertaining sequel make.
First and foremost, the main problem I seemed to have with the game play is the lack of responsiveness to the swiping motion of your finger. Now, eight times out of ten, the shot will go exactly where your swipe directed it, but the remaining two will see the ball travel in the opposite direction, or reach a height which doesn’t correspond to the speed of your flick across the screen. In short, the movement of the ball sometimes feels like it doesn’t strictly follow the movement of your finger across the device: this is an issue that needs fixing, since the entire game is based on this swipe mechanic, and even minor deviations can result in major frustration.
Perhaps a solution is to provide an trail-marker which would work much like a tracer bullet by indicating the exact path of your swipe on the screen with a translucent/barely visible line that shows you your finger’s motion across the screen. I think a big part of the problem is down to not knowing the exact motion needed for shots of a certain distance due to the fact that the direction of your swipe doesn’t always correspond with the direction/trajectory of the resulting shot. Tightening up of the game mechanic and ensuring less deviation and margin of error would improve things significantly.
With the problem of the minor inaccuracies in the swiping system resolved, it would be nice to see a larger variety of shots which expands beyond the simple straight and curve shots that are currently available. It wouldn’t go a miss to be able to curve and swerve the ball a little more, as well as chip the ball steeply and keep the ball extremely low so that it almost hugs the ground. Super-charged power-shots would also be a welcome addition, which could for example score more points, obliterate any defenders in the way or simply result in a cool bit of slow-mo to indicate the relative tremendousness of your shot
Though the swipe-and-shoot premise of the gameplay is about as intuitive as it gets, it still wouldn’t hurt to have a practice mode in which you are able to perfect the different types of shots that are available. In some of the later levels, the shots get pretty tough and it seems that the only way to make them is with a fluke shot which you can’t seem to repeat. Having a practice/tutorial mode where you are taken through the basics and the different types of shots would eliminate any mystery about the potential ways which you can manipulate the ball’s movement through the air.
It’s a bit of a Dive
How about we get some defenders which move around a little more, huh? I don’t just mean a lacklustre, insincere half-jump in the air that almost looks like an artist’s impression of the most disheartened footballer on the planet, but we’re talking slides, dives and cartwheels, or moves that involve a similar amount of effort. The increased challenge of the now-moving defenders would then require more skilful treatment of the ball and use of more varied types of shots. Moving defenders would create the demand for a dummy shot which could be one of the features of a possible Football Kicks 2.
The above are but a few ideas that could be featured in a possible future title of Football Kicks 2. I’ve read user comments that demand full-pitch, Fifa-like gameplay which are entirely unrealistic. Football Kicks should stick to what it does best, with the above inclusions making for a potentially winning sequel.