Football games have become one of the best selling series on the PC over the last 10 years with football manager leading the way; however, whenever a game has success on a platform you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be a replication online. Well, few of them are about, but are any of them as special as the Jagex developed Kickabout league? In this guide, we will explore the game in more detail.
What is the Kickabout League?
The Kickabout league is a free to play online football game developed by MMOPG giants Jagex, who have previously had major success in the MMOPG market with Runescape. You play online against other real opponents in 5 v 5 football games in tournaments and leagues. Controlling 5 unique football characters your ultimate aim is to reach the diamond league by beating many other players from around the world and become the ultimate champion. Be warned this is by no means an easy feat to accomplish!
When you enter the game, you have the option to 'sign in' temporally without entering any personal information, or sign up and dive straight in at the deep end. You should probably sign in on a temporary basis without a login because then you can get used to the game.
In the tutorial, you are guided through how to play the game and control your players. Here you will find that you have two options of control, either Modern, or Old school. Before you decide anything you should make sure what you are going to use.
Old School Controls
- Up, Down, Left and Right - Self Explanatory
- Ctrl - Sprint
- W, A, S, D - Up, Left, Down and Right
- Spacebar - Sprint
Modern and Old School ControlsAttack
- Mouse Movement - Control 'vision' area
- Left Mouse Click - Pass or shoot (the longer you hold down the button for the 'stronger' the pass or shot)
- Right Mouse Click - Lob
- Mouse movement - Control 'vision' Area
- Left Mouse Click - Slide Tackle
- Right Mouse Click - Change Player
Before you get into the game, you need to make sure you know the three rules below:
- While it looks like you are playing on a pitch, the ball will bounce off of the lines; therefore, there are no throw in's or corners.
- There are no fouls in the Kickabout league.
- Games last for 4, 8 or 12 minutes depending on what you pick. Choose carefully, as 4 minute games received 50% less rewards and 12 minute games receive 50% more rewards.
Before the start of each football game, you will need to choose your formation and select your team. Before you decide to pick a formation, decide if you will be attacking, defensive or somewhere in the middle. If you are new, then the chances are you should probably have 2 up top and 2 at the back. Once you have selected your formation, you can choose which of your players will play in which position. All the players have different characteristics, and here it is just about using your football noose. Do not play somebody that is clearly built as a defender upfront and vice versa.
As mentioned, each football game gives you the chance to select different characters; here are all the available characters:
- The Keeper - Controlled by the computer, the keeper will always be there to do his job, so you can worry about getting on with yours.
- The Tank - The John Terry of the team. The big centre back who will always be there to make a last ditch challenge, but is not known for his pace and finesse.
- The Elite - The Jack Wiltshire of the team. This all round player does not excel or struggle with anything.
- The Ranger - The Aaron Lennon of the team. This small and nimble winger will often leave the tanks dizzy, but his shots have no pace.
- The Hotshot - The Christiano Ronaldo of the team. This player is quick on the ball and has great flair; however, he is not the best tracking back and his tackles are often less than satisfactory.
As you start to play and win football matches, you will be able to improve your players' stats. You should always make sure you stick to improving the players' strong points near the beginning; for example, do not try and make your tank the quickest player because this is counteractive.
In the football game, players only have three statistics, and the forth shows you the amount of points required to increase to the next level.
- POW: Power stat which effects how quickly your shots power up. SPD: Speed stat which affecting the speed of the player.
- TCK: Tackle stat which allows the player to travel further with his slide tackles.
- EXP: Experience stat, when your experience reaches 100% you can spend points on power, speed or tackling.
One other thing that you need to be aware of if you are a member is the trinklet. Once your players are able you can assign them a Trinklet, which is a special ability that allows the player to do certain things like have much quicker shots or sprint with the ball.
When you decide to play you have to choose in which mode you would like to play your first game. You have the choice of:
- Exhibition Mode: In this mode, you use premade level 50 (the highest) characters. These games are unrated, and you will gain no EXP points or league points, but you do earn money.
- Tournament Mode: Unrated 1 V 1 games in a knockout mode.
On Kickabout league, your ultimate goal is to reach the diamond league. To do this you need to earn points. If you are playing a rated game then you are given +30 points for a win and -10 for a loss, if you are playing an unrated game then you receive +3 points for a win and 0 points for a loss. Below is a list of how many points you require before you are assigned to a different league:
- Pebble Playoffs - 10 Points
- Cobalt Conference - 180 Points
- Sandstone Series - 560 Points
- Quartz Qualifiers - 1700 Points
- Crystal Circuit - 7000 Points
- Diamond Division - 14000 points
As you can see, getting to the diamond division is not an easy task. You need to win almost 500 eight minute games without losing in order to get to this league (without any bonuses), but if you enjoy the game then you will not mind giving it a go.
If you are good enough to reach the premiership then the regular points' system is abolished, and instead you are offered league points. The Diamond Division runs weekly, and the best team after the week receives the 'we are the champions' trophy which is the highest accolade you can receive in the game.
Another feature that the game boasts is the auctions. When you sign in to play online, you have the option to buy and sell your players to other players on the Internet.
If you choose to sell your player then you can list them in an auction format with a buyout price if you so desire. When selling, you need to select a starting price and the auction length. Remember, 10% of the value of the player goes to the auction; therefore, make sure you take this into account. If you list a player, he cannot be used in any games, even if he has not yet been sold.
When you bid, you need to put in at least 10% more than the last bidder in order to jump above them. You can also choose to pay the buy it now price if this option is available. If you are the leading bidder on a player then they will temporarily appear in your team, but will not be available to use until the auction has finished, in which case the player will be transferred to your team.
Another feature that the football game has to offer is management. On this screen you can do all the basic things that you require:
- My Kit - Change your kit colour for all of your players
- My Squad - View your team and list them on the transfer market
- My Pitch - Buy an upgraded pitch; park, gardens, stadium, beach and street.
- Player Shop - Take a look at the players that are available to buy from the computer.
- Player Auctions - Buy players online from other teams (need to be logged in to use this feature).
- 1.0 GHz
- 128 MB RAM
- 1.5 GHz
- 256 MB RAM
As long as your computer is not ancient, you will be able to run this game with full graphics without any issue. However, you can downgrade the graphics if you desire, which will make the game less 'laggy' if you are having issues.
The Kickabout league offers something completely different from other online football games. This means that to do well in this game you need to be able to control your team mentally and physically, which is something that all football gaming fans have wanted to be able to do for a long time.
Game rating (out of 10)
Graphics - 8/10
For an online browser football game, the player and pitch details are terrific. On the other hand, when compared to console games, the graphics look comical. The game is not particularly taking itself very seriously; which means the graphics match exactly what you would expect from a game in this genre.
Playability - 7/10
If you can get past getting used to the game, then it does become a very playable game. There are a couple of downfalls, firstly, playing as a new team is often frustrating because you do not have the experience, which is why your first 10 or so games should always be un-ranked. Secondly, it takes a long time to get to the diamond league; therefore, if you want to be considered a great player you need to put in the hours, so to speak.
Having said all this, Kickabout League does certainly pose a challenge for the serious football gamer as some of the best casual gamers play the game every day so if you're seeking a challenge online in the realms of football mixed with real time action, this is the game for you.
Originality - 9/10
There is not another browser based game or free game that offers all the features that you will find in this football game. If you enjoy playing football simulations, management games and flash browser games then this will be perfect for you.
Game Depth - 7/10
When you take everything into account, the game is not very 'deep' in terms of its features; however, it does not need to be. You can play football games, manage your team and change just about everything that you need to, and this is all we can ask for in a browser based game.
Addictiveness - 9/10
If you can get past the learning curve, then this game does become extremely addictive, especially if you strike up a couple of online rivalries, which will happen.
Value for Money - 9/10
The game is free; therefore, it could not be any better in terms of value for money. The only reason this score is not 10/10 is because there are a couple of graphical features like the beach and street soccer modes which need to be paid for, but if you come to love the game you may wish to part with a small amount of your own money to obtain these features.
Overall Rating - 85%
If you enjoy games like FIFA and football manager but would rather just relax and play a less serious version then the Kickabout league will be perfect for you. Remember, it costs nothing, and the reward that you get from beating a player ranked much higher than you is one that you usually only find on console games.
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