When it comes to football games on mobiles and handsets, our options are either limited to the FIFA-style action titles, football management strategy games like Top Eleven or the simple kick-to-score casual titles like Flick Kick Football. It seems a neat enough classification – those wanting non-stop, realistic football action can opt for the FIFA or Real Football series, those with a yen for fiddling with formations and finances can try their hands at management and those seeking nothing more than a few minutes of surging adrenaline would be right at home with the frenetic action of penalty kick sessions.
So imagine a game that manages to borrow elements from all three genres, throws in a wacky storyline, crazy characters and rounds it off with some simple and yet challenging gameplay? Well, Flick Kick Football Legends does that. It is on the surface a straightforward game – you are put in charge of a club that has had a bit of a rough time and need to restore it to its former glory. Sounds simple? Not quite. For, adding more than a touch of complexity to the game are a varied cast of characters. There is the ghost of a former who lurks around, giving you advice (acting as a tutorial basically), rival coaches who pour scorn on your ambition, reporters lurking around for scoops, crazy physiotherapists that offer weird medicines to cure a host of ills, and bookies trying to make a quick buck. All of which are rendered in eighties comic strip fashion with tongue in cheek humor, and add a great deal of atmosphere to what would have otherwise seemed a routine “take a club from the foot of the table to the top” game.
Of course, there is football too, complete with eccentric commentators (we think they are a take off on the legendary Saint and Greaves combination). And it is here that the game puts another spin on the normal pass and score routine seen in other titles. There is no player movement to control here. Instead you always end up in an action-oriented situation – having to pass the ball, shoot at goal, make a tackle or make a save. And each is accomplished by a swipe on the screen (no onscreen control buttons to fiddle with) – time it well and you could be on the goal scoring side, get it wrong and you could be staring down a deficit. Difficulty levels go up as you move up the division and if you find the early phase of the game easy pie, just wait until you end up having to tackle players who unleash step overs and weaves that would do a Messi or a Ronaldo proud. You get points and prize money depending on your performance and handling of the press and other entities (giving in to a bookie bribe might see you lose coinage, for instance).
Getting cash lets you buy cards which give you access to new players (there is an element of gambling here as some cards come cheap but might – and might not – have great players on them) and the aim at the end is to win match after match and league after league. Of course, if you do not win enough cash, you can lighten your purse and buy cards or even additional stamina for your players using the in-app purchase system. With a lot of practice, you can actually get through a large portion of the game without paying a penny. And there is certainly a lot of playing involved – there are dozens of encounters against the computer and if you get fed up of winning leagues, you can compare scores against other players on a global leaderboard.
It has humor, eccentric characters, elements of strategy and of course, a lot of the Beautiful Game (football, don’t you know!) with some very innovative gameplay. And it costs nothing. Taken together that makes Flick Kick Football Legends one of our favorite football games on handsets. If you love football, this is something you just have to try out.