148Apps Network Post
Developer: Vivid Games
Price: $3.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPod touch 4G, iPad

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Speedball 2 Evolution is a remake of the early 90s Bitmap Brothers game that graced a wide variety of platforms, modernized for present-day audiences. The game is a futuristic ultraviolent take on football both American and European. Two 10 on 10 teams fight over possession of a ball, and brutally assault one another, trying to score by either hitting bumpers and stars worth 2 points each (with a 10 point bonus for lighting up all 5 stars), by scoring goals for 10 points, and by knocking opposing players out for 2 points. You play two 90 second halves, and the highest score at the end wins.

Speedball 2 Evolution’s pace is perfect for mobile gaming – the 90 second halves make it very easy to get in a quick game, or to be able to quickly advance in the Career mode when you want to put some time in it. As well, the Career mode is extremely addictive about watching your puny starter team become a team of Speedball dynamos once you reach the Champions League as you spend money on upgrades and player transfers. The game may be based on a game that’s 2 decades old at this point, but it comes loaded with modern iOS features, supporting the Retina Display and iPad natively as a universal app, and coming with Game Center support for leaderboards and achievements. As well, there’s local wireless multiplayer support, though it does not work between devices like the iPod touch and iPad, from my tests.

The problem with Speedball 2 Evolution is that it is just too easy in this incarnation, thanks in part to things like the auto-passing system. Unless the other team is dramatically stronger than you, winning is extremely easy once you figure out the game’s mechanics. You see, if you go for the bonus slides that grant you a 50% scoring bonus right away, it is very easy to keep the double bonus as the enemy rarely if ever goes after it. Also, the goalies are very aggressive at going after the ball carrier when near, so faking them out and scoring is very easy. I maybe lost twice in 40-something matches, one being my first match that I lost when my opponent knocked out one of my players with seconds left, and the other when my 2-star team lost to a 5-star team. So yes, it’s kind of easy. The controls are simple, but it can be very easy to accidentally throw the ball high up by holding down too long when you want to tap to throw it low, like to hit a bumper or to throw it in the goal.

Speedball 2 Evolution is a great way for people that may have missed the original game to check it out now, but veterans may be disappointed at how easy it has become. However, frustration is not quite as attractive a game element as it once was, so this change may be for the best, but I’d love to see the AI improved to make it put up a bit more of a fight.

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