There's nothing funny about the funny old game is this first rate soccer arcade.
I love things that work like they’re meant to. I love the chair I am sat on. It pivots and twists, and I know that if I pull the lever on the side then it can be raised and lowered. I love my kettle at home. It has a button on the side that switches on the element to boil the water. It doesn’t flash or change colour, but it will pour into a cup rather than all over the work tops.
And I love First Touch Soccer for the same reason. One of the things I am most fearful of with ANY game on the iPod Touch is the controls. As someone who plays his fair share of ‘regular’ video games I am used to the precision a controller, with sticks and buttons, can give you. Moving that to a flat screen with nothing to touch sometimes (read ‘most of the time’) just doesn’t work.
Somehow X2 Games have achieved something that a lot of bigger companies fail to do; they have delivered a football game where the very basics work like a treat. Left-hand side controls the players running around the pitch, and the right-hand side controls kicking, passing and tackling. And that’s the point, you are in control.
At no point in the game did I feel my team were anything beyond the usual levels of control you feel in something like FIFA on the Playstation and Xbox. And that in itself is a remarkable thing, but there is more to this game than just the delivery of a control system that works.
X2 have garnished this game with some fantastic graphics, some fairly advanced AI and enough teams, competitions and game modes to keep you occupied for hours. I couldn’t quite believe it when I first started playing. As I usually do I jumped straight into an arcade match, just to get a feel for the game. I thought I played quite well, even though I was comfortably beaten.
It is the sort of game you can just pick up and play, such is the intuitive nature of the controls. But don’t think this is the sort of game that will let you walk all over it. The AI is smart enough to let you feel like you are playing as a team, but it will also put up some stiff competition. Within a short period of time I knew this was a game I would enjoy playing as well as learning to play well.
And the best bit, on top of the controls, the gameplay, the graphics and the depth, is that you can get all this for just £2.99. It is quite ridiculous to think that you can get a game on the iPod which nearly delivers to console level gameplay, for such a small amount. It might be a bit more than the ubiquitous price tag of 59p, but the game is so good I wouldn’t ask “Have you bought it yet?” I would ask “Why haven’t you bought it yet?”
I think this is easily the best football/soccer app you can get at the moment. Like David Beckham it looks good and like Lionel Messi it plays good too. It is a complete game, with stunning graphics and gameplay, and a control system then really works. And that’s the best bit. Like my chair and my kettle, it works. In a simple and very beautiful way, it just works.
- Sound: 8
- Graphics: 9
- Gameplay: 9
- Longevity: 8
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