Flick Kick Football Kickoff – Flick-Powered Free Kicks where Physics is your friend
As an enjoyer of games which attempt to take a fresh approach to their content, I have fairly high expectations when downloading a game for my mobile device whose description promises to make football a fun experiencefor even those who dislike the sport (not a direct quote but I made an educated inference). As someone who also happens to heavily dislike the game, I was immediately intrigued at the promise of some football-related fun which didn’t involve the usual monotony of the sport in its entirety. Flick Kick Football Kickoff almost immediately proved itself to be a game which did exactly what it said in the description. Using the power of the flick and the thrill of the kick, the game possesses an almost universal appeal to anyone that enjoys a light afternoon foray into gaming addiction of the sporting kind. So what exactly is PikPok’s unique take on the sport?
Glory at your fingertips
Ok, so it depends on your definition of glory, but the definition of fingertips is almost indisputable: Flick Kick Football Kickoff is a game which takes the game of football and puts it through a ‘boring’ filter (or ‘funificator; patent pending). That is to say, all of the dreary aspects of the game are identified and removed by this filter, leaving the very best part of it for the player to enjoy; I’m talking about the shooting and scoring. Flick Kick Football Kickoff is a cut-down version of football that actually makes me want to go and smash a ball in various directions and at various objects/people in real life.
Release Date: 02/06/2015
The basic premise is that you are situated in front of a goal where a ball is waiting motionless on the floor for you to give it your best shot at scoring a goal that you can be proud of. Of course, there are a few obstacles in your way depending on which mode you’re playing in such as stationary defenders and a goalkeeper who are made entirely out of cardboard (but still possessing more personality than most actual premiership footballers): the more shots you score successfully, the more defenders you will find blocking you way (they eventually begin moving once you progress far enough), and the more difficult the angles for shooting the ball become. It’s a game that above all tests your accuracy as well as your spatial judgement and judgement of distance.
Swipe your feet before you enter
Admittedly, I haven’t really described anything revolutionary so far, but the thing that makes the game stand out for me is the set of gameplay mechanics on which the kicking of the ball is based. Instead of shooting with a virtual, on-screen button , you kick the ball by swiping vertically on the screen in whichever direction you wish the ball to go. Not only does shooting in this way feel more impactful, but it allows for the user to control the power, direction and swerve of the shot: nothing is left to chance, and you as the player have the final say on where the ball ends up. If there are defenders blocking your way, why not try lobbing the ball directly over their head with a straight-up vertical flick? If you can’t see a sufficient gap, you may wish to try a swerve shot where you swipe in an arc-shaped manner; the more extreme the arc, the more spin you will achieve. Enough on-target shots in succession will cause the ball to catch fire, allowing you to blast through the defenders and goalkeeper (I’m pretty sure a flaming ball wasn’t in their contract, however).
The length of your swipe across the screen is what controls the power. Careful control of the ball is something that can only be achieve with a little practice. That’s all there is to the gameplay; it really is that simple, plus I need to stop saying swipe before the word loses all meaning.
Kick for Contentment
The game offers two modes of the single-player variety, the first of which has an emphasis on the ‘Skillshot’ (a shot which shares its title with that of the actual mode of gameplay) which involves getting the ball to hit a frustratingly small area which lines the inside perimeter of the goalposts. The margin for error when going for a skill shot is incredibly narrow, so it may take a fair few goes to get used to both the incessant failure to achieve one and the eventual getting the hang of the whole thing and achieving moderate success. This mode is timed, with the clock descending from sixty seconds, but thankfully this time can be extended since each skill-shot gets you three extra seconds on the clock. Placing the ball in the centre of the goal merely affords you one extra second. Going for the skill shot is what makes this mode so addictive, plus the skill shots are the only ones that are actually recorded and counted towards your score anyhow.
The other mode involves hoofing the ball at three targets of decreasing size (and therefore increasing difficulty to hit) situated within the confines of the goal mouth. Initially, the targets are stationary but eventually become mobile and considerably smaller as you progress. In the same manner as ‘Skillshot’ mode, ‘Bullseye’ mode rewards you with three seconds if you manage to hit the target in the zone which is implied by the title (the bullseye, in case that wasn’t clear), while you only get one second for hitting the target in any other location.
Multiplayer is also a feature in the game, and is brought to you in the format of a penalty shootout where there are two teams that must continue to score goals past lines of defenders and the goalkeeper (still cardboard; still more personality than real footballers); three misses is all it takes to be declared the loser. The game isn’t strictly multiplayer in the modern online gaming sense, but you can arrange for teams of your friends whom you can pass the mobile device to after each go. It would need to be quite a poor party for this game to be at the forefront of the entertainment, however.
What’s the catch?
I’ve painted the game as quite simply a spectacle of mobile gaming; while the game is extremely entertaining in many respects, and completely achieves what it was designed to do, it isn’t without its drawbacks when giving it further thought. The main limitation of the game is really just that: its scope is extremely limited, being focused entirely on the act of shooting the ball from a stationary position against cardboard cut-outs of players. The game doesn’t feature any other aspects of the sport because it simply wasn’t designed for this purpose. As a concentrated version of football that pretty much anyone can get into, this game is successful, but this success can just as easily be a limitation for those who want the entire football experience.
The relatively few game modes can make for a relatively short lifespan of the whole thing as well. Though it can be quite addictive to perfect your swerving and shooting technique, this fun only really has the potential to keep you hooked in discrete, ten-minute bursts until you remember that there isn’t anything new to move on to. Two main gameplay modes and one multiplayer simply don’t constitute a gaming experience with lasting incentive to play; it lacks longevity, but it most definitely isn’t lacking in fun. When it comes down to it, the game is still a remarkable example of how a simple but highly effective gameplay interface can transform a game from an average title to being truly exceptional.
Flick Kick Football Kickoff is developed by PIKPOK.