Ah, the ripple of the net, muddy knees, brutal tackles, managers who only wore tracksuits, positions like ‘inside-left’ and ‘wing-half’, the League Cup was called the ‘Milk Cup’ and Match of the Day highlights were carefully recreated down the park the day after. We’re talking deep-rooted 70s and 80s British nostalgia in rolled down socks and a fistful of Panini stickers. If all this means anything to you, Flick Kick Football is like a delicious shot of yesterday’s best-bits. If however, you’re feeling suddenly alienated and scratching your head at these obscure and nonsensical British idioms, you must allow me to explain. Either way, you really should read on…
To Kick Things Off…
I should begin with a caveat. Football here is purely the European definition of the term – not, on this occasion, the American version. However, if you were hoping for grid-iron over soccer, this review might still have something of interest for you later on…
The aim of Flick Kick Football is to score goals. Lots of goals. You do this by flicking your finger over the ball in the direction you wish it to go. With a bit of practice you can also add some vicious curve to the ball to evade goalkeepers and walls of defenders. The game essentially provides a series of dead-ball situations and, depending on the mode, you have to score as many goals as possible. Each situation is different; some shots are quite close, while some are quite a distance away and require a more powerful flick. Others need you to curve the shot around a wall or from a narrow angle.
What is fundamentally stamped all over the game is the old-school footy theme. From the music, the graphics and gameplay (flicking is hugely reminiscent of playing Subbuteo), the game seeps nostalgia yet feels incredibly polished and illustrious, like a well populated trophy room.
It’S a Funny Old Game
Gameplay is quite simple and once you have selected which mode you want to play you are straight into the action. Situations get progressively harder as your score rises so expect to see some incredibly tough angles and big walls to negotiate later on.
There are six different modes of play:
- Practice Mode. Here you can polish your flicking skills before playing a scoring mode.
- Multiplayer. This works on a pass and play basis between the two players. You essentially keep going until one player has missed three shots (they lose). This is rather superb if you have mates round to play with!
- Skillshot. This mode sees you against a clock, where you have two minutes to score as many goals as possible. However, this differs from the Time Attack mode in that you are marked on hitting the ‘Skill Zones’. These are the corners of the goal area, the underside of the cross bar and inside the posts. You know when you hit them as the ball creates a blue splash.
- Arcade. The heart of the game. This is where you have all the time in the world to score goal after goal. Hit a Skill Zone and you get a extra life. Miss and it’s all over.
- Bullseye. This mode challenges you to hit three targets within the goal; as you progress these move and get harder to hit.
- Time Attack gives you two minutes to score as many goals as possible. You get three extra seconds for every Skill Zone shot you hit.
They Won’t Want This Game to End…
Each of these modes contributes towards a rewarding and challenging experience that drips in hardcore addictiveness. Flick Kick Football is resolutely simple to pick up and play and provides compulsive gameplay. It has a massive ‘one more go’ factor that keeps you playing the game way beyond the time you planned to spend with it!
I find regular moments where I have time to play a game and the ease of use, reward of scoring net-busting goals and getting high scores in any given window of time makes you want to play over and over again. It’s hard to explain, but even though in my role as reviewer I get to play lots of games, Flick Kick Football is by far the one I am most addicted to.
Additionally the game’s scoring is Openfeint integrated and there are a whopping 40 achievements to complete. I’ve played this game to death and I have still only completed 20. So there’s plenty to explore and achieve, even for me.
The Crowd Are Going Wild!
The graphics in Flick Kick Football are generally quite rich, without quite being top-notch for an Android game. The best of the graphics occur when the view zooms around to play a decisive goal you have just scored; this is done in gorgeous 3D and looks very cool. The opposing players are deliberately flat, like cardboard cut outs – again giving a throw-back to the pre-moulding cardboard players of Subbuteo. The movement of the ball and scoring splashes are great, but not the best graphics we have seen on the Android platform. It’s easy to be seduced by the old-school flavour of the game, but in the cold light of day the graphics are only satisfactory rather than amazing. This however, takes absolutely nothing away from the gameplay.
The sounds of the crowd are very cool and authentic, giving the game a fantastic atmosphere. The music is superb and could well be The Jam or The Undertones for all the nostalgic weight it adds. Think the best punk pop from that era and you just about get it. The additional sound effects – such as net-hitting and the sounds when you score – all contribute to the brilliant effects the game offers.
One Man Team?
There are a few games in the Android Market that deliver a similar concept to Flick Kick Football. Most notable is Football Kicks, which provides some pretty good graphics, but besides that is far slower, has fewer options and is generally disappointing.
However, if you check out the other titles from Flick Kick Football’s developer Pik Pok there are some nice surprises that should interest most: there’s Flick Kick Rugby for a start, but if these quaint British sports are too genteel for you try Flick Kick Field Goal, which is the American football version and is as polished and as addictively fun as Flick Kick Football.
They Think It’S All Over… It Is Now!
Flick Kick Football is awash with ’70s and ’80s football nostalgia and is both massively addictive and fantastically playable. It really is Kevin Keegan, Brian Clough, Terry Butcher and Luther Blissett rolled into one titan of a game which is equally addictive as it is fun.
While the flavour might not be your cup of tea the skill involved and the instant rewards of scoring makes Flick Kick Football a world-class footballing treat. While the graphics could be a little better, the atmosphere of the game has to be played to be felt. Thankfully there is a free version of the game with a few less options, but still that vibrant blast of nostalgia akin to finding an old Panini sticker album in the loft. Definitely try it out.