NFL Flick Quarterback brings American Football arcade action to your Android device in a brilliantly simple way. Part of Full Fat’s growing range of ‘Flick’ games, NFL Flick Quarterback is all about throwing the ball to a receiver as accurately as possible. While it doesn’t bring the strategy you have with games like Madden NFL 12, it still packs a punch with superb 3D graphics, atmospheric sound and challenging gameplay.
I’ve played quite a few ‘Flick’ games and, despite being British, actually understand the rules of American Football! Read on for my post match analysis…
It’s All in the Wrist, Apparently
Like most of Full Fat’s ‘Flick’ games, NFL Flick Quarterback is about performing one action with accuracy. For this game it involves being a quarterback and throwing the ball to a receiver.
The game works as simply as possible; you throw the ball to the receiver by flicking in his direction. The straighter the flick, the better the spiral pass will be. Your target will be running around on the pitch, probably with a defender on his tail, looking for space. To start with he is circled in red. When he becomes open he will turn green and it’s time to throw the ball to him.
It’s best to throw the ball just ahead of the receiver so he will run onto it. If he catches it he’ll run forward and score a touchdown. Initially, you have all the time in the world to make the pass; you just need to be patient and wait for him to run into the perfect position. After you progress a little you will have various opposition players try to tackle you. These can be gloriously side-stepped by swiping either left or right. This bit, if timed right, is very cool as the tackling player goes careering past you into thin air. This frees you up some more time to make the pass. if you get this wrong, however, you’ll be tackled.
You also get to control the ball in mid-flight: simply sweep your finger in either direction to curl the ball. This especially helps in later plays and can increase accuracy. The receiving player is actually very good as his job and, as long as you are accurate enough he will dive and leap some distance in order to make the catch. However, he is also the ultimate show off. If he gets a touchdown he will then orchestrate a variety of victory dances as he milks his success.
First Down and Ten
When you start the game you have to complete a tutorial in a mode called ‘Basic Skills’. This teaches you all about the controls above and is incredibly intuitive. There are then four further modes.
Playmaker mode gives you three ‘lives’. You then make as many complete passes as you can as it gets progressively harder as the wind-speed increases. This is perhaps the purest form of the game and where I found I spent most time.
Then there is Quick Fire mode which is more or less the same, but instead of lives the clock counts down. You can add time by making complete passes or ‘Perfect Plays’. The game runs out when the time does.
There are two ‘Trick Shot’ levels. These have you throwing the ball at large buckets – first getting you to throw the ball into the bucket, then getting you to knock them down. These are obviously trickier as you no longer have the receiver to make you look good! Real accuracy is required here, but it’s actually great practice for the real game environment.
You score points by how easy the catch is for the receiver, how good a spiral your pass had, the distance you threw and also a technical bonus. Your scores are added at the end of each play and your total is displayed in the top left of the screen. Your points contribute to your playing level and there seem to be several of these. I’m currently on the MVP (Most Valuable Player) level.
I guess the cool thing for fans of the sport is that as it seems to be NFL licensed, so you get all the NFL teams. You can choose the name and number on the back of your shirt and which team you want to play for. A further smart feature is how on each loading page there is a little NFL factoid to digest while you are waiting. The game has a lot of polish, and this is a neat example.
The in-game graphics are very good. The colours are bright and well-defined and equally as good as you can see in some console games. The movement of the players is relatively natural and very smooth. I’ve especially liked the fluid camera shots from other games in the ‘Flick’ series, and NFL Flick Quarterback follows the trend: as the ball flies the camera follows perfectly. There is easily an opportunity for the camera angles to be wrong – especially when you are about to be tackled – but this isn’t the case; the camera angles and visual accuracy are perfectly executed and look wonderful.
The sound is also top quality. You have some good motivational background music during the menu screens, like you might get following any live game on TV, but then the in-game sound is very cool. There’s a commentator who introduces the game, comments on your passing, and lets you know when the wind speed has increased. There are enthusiastic sounds from the spectators, chants, horns and even fireworks when your receiver scores a touchdown. This all makes for a highly immersive and enjoyable experience.
Coming Back for More
All of these features – the simplistic gameplay, lush graphics, immersive sound and various modes of play – create a very potently addictive game that is tricky to put down. There is lots of scope to increase your mode scores and unlock the 35 different achievements in the game. There is also a statistics page so, in true NFL style, you have your stats collated over your career. The skill levels you move through also keep you playing; you can progress through the ranks of: Draft Pick, Starting QB, Hotshot, MVP, Veteran, Superstar, Pro Bowl QB and Hall of Famer.
Arguably, the Madden franchise of American Football games is the most popular across all gaming platforms, but its foray into Android hasn’t been to much aplomb. Madden NFL 12 averages just 3.3 out of 5 in the Google Play Store, so gamers are not particularly impressed with it. It does however offer far more in the way of tactics and gameplay way beyond NFL Flick Quarterback; Madden gives you far more control over plays and is perhaps a purer Gridiron experience. However, NFL Flick Quarterback exhorts a rich simplicity, immediacy and fun that would appear to be lacking in Madden NFL 12, especially based on customer comments. It’s worth noting that it’s also more than twice the cost of NFL Flick Quarterback.
Full Fat has produced a number of easy-to-play ‘Flick’ titles which have proved hugely popular on the Android platform. We reviewed Flick Golf! not too long ago, but you can play Flick Nations Rugby and Flick Soccer! as well. There is also NFL Kicker! in which you invariably kick field goals. All these games have relatively similar gameplay, but are robustly unique in their treatment of the sport they imagine. I have played Flick Golf!, Flick Soccer! and now NFL Flick Quarterback and have enjoyed all three. I guess it just comes down to your personal sporting preferences.
There is little not to love about NFL Flick Quarterback. While it’s not a complete American Football experience, it remains very playable and invariably fun. It’s very simple to play and incredibly intuitive. Add to this the fact it is engaging, highly addictive and includes excellent graphics and sound, and I genuinely think it’s the finest of the ‘Flick’ games I have experienced, and certainly something both fans of the game series and American Football should check out.