Posts Tagged football
Despite being raised in the United States, I am an individual that has a healthy appreciation for the sport that the rest of the world calls “football.” As much as I much as I enjoy watching a bunch of grown men grope themselves on the gridiron every Saturday and Sunday, nothing can match the thrill of watching a well played match on the pitch. For this very reason virtually every type of of soccer game that has been released on the iOS has found permanent residence on my iOS devices, and it looks like I will need to make room for one more.
Just yesterday Gamegou, the developer of last year’s Soccer Stealers, announced that they would be bringing their extensive footie experience to the iPad with Soccer Stealers Reloaded. This is very promising news, especially given that the last entry in this franchise landed a solid review score over at our sister site, The Portable Gamer.
Easily the biggest improvement to the games doesn’t actually appear on screen, because it is the price tag, because now it is completely free. Even more remarkable is that despite the price drop, there are still more features included in the game. Here are some of the new things that are in store:
- Customize your character and Dress to Impress: What’s your style: Afro? Buzz? Shaved? Pony-tailed?
- Redeem medals for goodies: Collect medals and trade them in at our very own Gamegou shop
- Real-time match selections allowing you to enter matches currently being played in 3 major leagues: England, Germany, Italy
When you heap this on top of an already solid game, the question really becomes, why haven’t you downloaded it yet? Anyone who enjoys the fun of a day on the pitch will certainly find plenty to enjoy. Be sure to let us know what you think about it in the comments after you have taken it for a kick or two.
I got the chance to sit down with NaturalMotion CEO, Torsten Reil for a cup of coffee and to discuss Bakcbreaker 2: Vengeance, the update to the best selling iOS football game, Backbreaker Football. Backbreaker 2 brings some of the most requested features to the game and raises the bar by giving the game full Retina display support for iPhone 4 and iPod Touch 4th generation. The new features in the game came from culling through thousands of reviews and emails and include Vengance mode (being able to play as the defensive player), new moves, new stadiums, new levels, and Game Center support. Oh, and of course even more showboating!
The option to play as the defensive player in Vengeance Mode really adds an interesting angle to the game. While the gameplay is similar, there are new things to consider playing defense and it requires a slightly different method of play. It also includes a whole new set of challenges. When you are playing as defense you will see the path that the offensive player is taking — you’ll also see an on screen indicator showing you where your tackle target is. The trouble is intercepting or catching up to that offensive player. Depending on the level, you may need to dodge other players or obstacles before you get to your target.
The game has also been upgraded for Retina displays. Seeing the game on a Retina display is just mind blowing. The sweep of the stadium before the game looks more movie-like than anything we’ve ever seen. The players look better, move better; it’s an amazing visual upgrade all around.
Backbreaker 2: Vengeance is a great upgrade and I’m looking forward to it. Look for Backbreaker Football 2 before the end of the year.
American football, for a multitude of reasons, just hasn’t really translated well onto the iPhone. Football mini-games like Backbreaker Football work fine for the most part, but I (and I assume we) want a real football game, with all the same positions and plays that we could use on the real field. I also want this full game to not be hampered by a joystick or funny hand placement on the screen or odd animations.
The problem that I’ve found is that developers are completely stuck on the tried and true console simulation. EA, with its successful Madden franchise, just has no reason to change their formula because it sells. I wonder to myself though why? Why does Madden on the iPhone sell? It’s priced in the realm of the premium games, and I have a real hard time believing that many people put more than a couple of hours into the game before they set it down for good. The game just isn’t right for the iPhone, there’s just no other way to put it.
Identifying what the exact problems are might be the first step to created a better iPhone football game, so let’s run through them:
The virtual joystick (I’m going to list virtual joystick sub-problems as (VJ)) isn’t accurate enough to make precise player movements. The screen isn’t large enough for all the controls, including the now common receiver bubbles that you have to hit to throw the ball. Current football games tend to sacrifice game play, and game speed, for unnecessary animations (VJ) The running game seems like total luck because it’s impossible to make precise movements. (VJ) Playing defense seems like total luck because it’s impossible to make skill plays. Timing a pick like you would on a console is totally impossible. (VJ) Because of your hopeless lack of control, picking defensive plays seems like a total wash altogether, leaving me to rely on gimmicks like “Gameflow” that take away any real understanding of how the defense works. The games take so long to play that there is no good way to have a multiplayer mode. It just wouldn’t work.
The other issue that developers have completely ignored is that fact that the thing that would work the best on the iPhone, the dynasty mode and the draft (even if all the games were simulated). I know that I’m not the only one that could sit there playing dynasty mode without ever playing a single game. People love stats, they love picking players… they just love tinkering with their team. How do you think fantasy football got so big!
So what I’ve gathered here is that our new, better football game should:
Ditch the virtual joystick altogether Concentrate more on the coaching rather than the playing. Play calling is really what makes the console version of Madden magic. Sure, womping on someone by juking up and down the field is fun, but if your opponent is on your level, there’s nothing like throwing a cover 2 zone at a guy that throws slants all day. Add a GM mode to capture all of the fantasy football players out there. I’ve heard that there are around 30 million of them out there. Find a way to implement a multiplayer mode, and don’t settle for anything less than the sports multiplayer greatness that is Homerun Battle 3D.
With that said, here’s my idea for the next (which would be the first) great football game, NFL RPG. If EA used the idea, it could be called Madden RPG. Tell me that you wouldn’t buy that.
The game, with its emphasis on a dynasty mode and player movement, wouldn’t necessarily even need an NFLPA license because your crop of players would likely change after a bit of playing. It would be nice though, so someone needs to figure that part out. Let’s take a dive into what the game would do.
Game Mode 1: Season/Dynasty
The season/dynasty mode should be the main game mode. The whole concept of a dynasty mode would have to be overhauled though, because even the console versions are becoming a bit much to deal with. Keeping things simple is the key.
The mode would start with either a draft, consisting of all the league players, or the choosing of which pre-built team you want to play with. Some people don’t like the tediousness of a draft, so you can’t make them do it. The draft though wouldn’t just be like a normal fantasy draft though, it would have to be like a $500-$1000 fantasy auction draft, where each player costs a certain amount of money, has a certain NFL lifespan (let’s say 10 years), and you have a set pool of money to deal with. This will make the drafts a bit more intelligent and make monetary transactions later much more interesting. The cost of each player should correlate with their overall skill level, so when a player needs to be re-signed, he should be a set cost per skill rating rather than demand contract negotiations because his player rating became higher.
The GM overview of everything would get rid of all the stadium upgrades and the contract bonuses and stipulations that make things so rough on the console. The biggest thing that we need to deal with in an RPG is player upgrades, so that is the thing that most need to be addressed. Taking a page from Homerun Battle 3D, you should be able to purchase stats for players based on their actions in games. Raising the stats of each player would be a nightmare though, so players have to be upgraded in groups, with groups being the positions. For example, if Randy Moss catches an 80 yard touchdown, the whole WR crew would get X amount of points to divvy out between the players. You could then give them all to Randy Moss, or you could throw a few at Wes Welker (maybe raise his injury rating) and Torry Holt.
Throughout the season, some players will get much better, and some will probably be neglected. That’s just the nature of a point system. When a players contract is up though, it will be impossible to keep dynasty squads because the players prices will change, making many too expensive to keep. Players will have to make use of trades and dumping off medial players if they want to keep their studs, just like real NFL teams do.
In the quest to make things simple, it’s also very important to keep players stats simple. Give each one of them five or six stat categories, and that’s it. For example, a QB should have, arm strength, arm accuracy, pocket awareness, scrambling ability, and leadership. What would these stats do though… we’ll have to step into the game itself.
This is where things usually fall apart in typical football simulations, so I’m going to turn it a bit on its head.
First off, the view needs to be changed to a much more top down view. The player needs to be able to see every player on the field at once, at all times. On deep passing plays, the view needs to dynamically change to a view that can follow the streaking player.
The offense will set up, per the play call (more on that later), and with a tap you will hike the ball. Players will then run their routes as they normally would (except the receivers would only run their routes as well as their ratings say they will) and the quarterback will automatically drop back into his normal drop back position.
On passing plays, I’ll keep the Madden circle for receiver system that goes from green to red, depending on openness. If your line breaks down, you can make your quarter back scramble, but running will be an automatic process based on the QB’s scrambling skill. Same with the running plays. Since there is no tactile feedback on the iPhone, having the player control the running back is just silly. Make the process automatic and the players should be rewarded for good playcalling, not mad juking that no player on Earth could pull off.
In the backgound, everything that is happening would be based on an average system. A pass would be a calculation of QB throwing speed and accuracy + WR catching ability – DB covering ability/interception ability. Calculations would need to be made for each position battle in the game, as well as every event. Battles would include such things as OL vs. DL, WR vs. DB, RB vs. whoever tries to tackle him, WR vs. whoever tries to tackle him, and QB vs… yeah, you get it. In a way, each action battle, which would be automated and in the background, would be like a combat scene in a typical RPG.
Like RPG’s, there would also be bonus scores for smart things that you do. For example, WR’s would get an extra % chance of catching the ball if you throw it to them when they are open. These bonus scores would be very apparent on the defensive side of the ball, which will be all about coaching.
Since there will be no virtual joystick, there will be no controlling of the defense. Your skill will come in your ability to call a good play. It’s a fact that certain defensive plays work against certain offenses, so it will be up to you to figure it out. At the beginning of your defensive play, you will see what formation the offense is in, and you will be able to pick a play based on what you see. Different plays will give your players different bonuses during play, or minuses if you pick the wrong play.
For example, playing dime defense against an obvious running play would result in negative stats, while goal line D on the goal line would give you bonuses.
Now that the game’s worked out, all that’s left is the multiplayer.
As you progress through your seasons, you will piece together all sorts of player combinations, all that will emphasize different play types. If you tend to run the ball a lot, your RB will get better and better, same with the passing game, or on the flip side, your defensive cover game or your ability to blitz. With your master team customized over time to your playing style, you can take them online to play against other opponents.
Like Homerun Battle 3D, it’s necessary that online sessions are seamless and fast. Instead of playing a full game though, you’ll play an NFL Playoff overtime. For more on what the playoff overtime means, read this article from ESPN.
This will allow for quick games, with the occasional surprising outcome. If possible, there could definitely even be leagues and tournaments organized to make things a bit more interactive. I’m not sure how feasible this is, or how it would work, so that would be up to the developer.
It’s Over Folks
Whew, well I guess that’s the extent of Football RPG. I really feel that the game that I have laid out would work extremely well and would generate a ton of buzz if implemented correctly. So hurry up developers, I want to play my game!
EA held their studio preview today and we were one of the few mobile sites there to take a look at their coming games. First up, and the most anticipated, is Madden NFL 11. This year is will be available on the iPhone and the iPad with the iPad getting a couple exclusive features.
The Hot Routes feature has been expanded and enhanced this year. Hot routes allow you to draw the path that the player takes on the screen pre-snap. You have greater control over them in both offense and new this year, defense. You can also save your custom routes as a custom offensive play.
Madden NFL 11 gets a few new features carried over from the console versions. This includes Total Defense Control — this year defense is given much more attention giving you most of the same control of players you have on offense. This includes the ability to program hot routes for defensive players. For defense you also can slow the play down while it is in action and adjust the routes.
On the offense, new this year, and carried from the console, is GameFlow. This is basically an automated play calling system created to speed up the play of the game. Instead of needing to run into one of the 30 playbooks to pick a play, the computer will pick one for you and it does so intelligently. It watches the game and how you play and will pick an appropriate play. You can of course override the play or turn off GameFlow at any time. GameFlow makes considerable sense on the more casual mobile device.
The game gets a little prettier this year too. Graphics both on field and off look much better. This includes higher definition players, fields, and even moving crowds that are unique to each stadium. Also included are different weather effects based on the stadium location and date of the game.
Some iPad specific features include on-screen optimizations for the larger screen like a passing wheel under your right thumb. The passing wheel shows you all receives on the play and their status in a single location letting you select them very quickly. One unexpected new game type is added as an exclusive for the iPad as well. Remember the old electric football games where you place the weighted player pieces on a large metal board that when turned on vibrated them around? Well a mid-season update to Madden NFL 11 will allow you to play this fun mini-game in the app — and even with voiceover from Gus Johnson.
If there’s one disappointment it’s the lack of online multiplayer. Still missing from EA’s in-house lineup, this feature will really take this game, and other EA games, to the next level. There is local Bluetooth multiplayer included in both the iPhone and iPad versions. But you may only play against another user on the same device type.
EA took some heat last year by charging for roster updates in Madden NFL 10 for the iPhone. They have seen the errors of their ways and the roster updates will be free this year!
If you’re a Madden fan, you won’t have to wait too long. Madden NFL 11 for the iPhone and iPad will launch alongside the console version on August 11th. Hit the jump for a few more screenshots.
Soccer Superstars manages to turn the harsh brutalities of a popular pastime (non-believers can visit youtube and/or the emails sent to them by their parents for indisputable video/photo evidence) into a deep, cute, cartoony game title for the iDevice that can be enjoyed by hardcore and novice fans alike.
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It’s Friday! Hurray! Of course, for me it’s summer vacation and Fridays aren’t quite as exciting. But, we’ve still got our traditional sampling of delightful new releases from the past week, so that’s something. Big names like ngmoco and Illusion Labs make an appearance this week, as well as a few more mainstream companies like ESPN. Enjoy!
Godfinger from ngmoco allows you to build up a little world of cartoony followers and exert your godly powers on them. In Godfinger, you can be a kind, caring deity—performing Wonders and helping your civilization prosper—or a wicked demagogue, leaving a path of destruction in your wake. You can control sun, rain, lightning, floods, and fire. As you play Godfinger, your actions shape the terrain and your populace’s opinion. It’s almost ngmoco’s answer to Pocket God. Go on, give it a try and test out your godly abilities…Godfinger, like many of ngmoco’s newer games, is free.
Released: 2010-06-17 :: Category: Games :: Action
Geometry Wars: Touch
Geometry Wars was already a classic Xbox game, but it made its iPad debut back in March. Now, it’s a universal app, meaning that iPhone and iPod owners can get in on the action! Geometry Wars is a simplistic arcade shooter with basic, geometric graphics and a strong retro theme. It also was one of the first major games to make good use of the dual-stick shooter system that’s so popular on the App Store today. The iPhone/iPad version also includes a brand-new mode, Titan, in which you gradually break giant foes apart into swarms of smaller pieces.
Released: 2010-04-01 :: Category: Games
In honor of the World Cup, ESPN has a released a pinball app with some football-themed tables (ahem, soccer for us Americans). There’s also a Basketball table. The new pinball app is full of flashy graphics and boasts pass-and-play multiplayer, global and local leaderboards, and voice-overs from ESPN Sports Center host Jay Harris. It’s a marriage of a TV network, sports, and pinball…if that sounds a little strange, well, it is, but the game looks like some solid pinball fun nevertheless.
Released: 2010-06-14 :: Category: Sports
Onion News Network
Where would we be without the Onion? In case you haven’t heard of this magnificent publication, the Onion is a completely satirical news network with both an online and a print publication. (Yes, that’s right: you can get a real Onion newspaper.) Their stories are funny, witty, snide, and clever; you’d be crazy not to enjoy browsing them. The Onion’s new app gives you mobile access to the entire Onion archives, including both textual stories and videos. There’s not much more to say: it’s a typical newspaper app. The only difference is that the Onion is anything but a serious, esteemed publication. It’s here to make you grin, and, perhaps, think.
Released: 2010-06-11 :: Category: News
Illusion Labs has long expressed an interest in touchscreen gaming on larger screens (think back to their tabletop demo of Touchgrind) and now they’ve released an impressive iPad-only title: Foosbal HD. Foosball HD takes full advantage of the iPad’s large screen, transforming it into a top-down view of a foosball table designed perfectly for “local multiplayer”: both you and your friend just play foosball! You can also play against the computer, of course, but multiplayer is the real draw. Foosball seems like a natural fit for the iPad, and it’s great to see Illusion Labs putting the iPad to good use. Sorry, iPhone users; this one isn’t for us.
It’s been 4 long years since Italy gloriously hoisted the FIFA World Cup and proclaimed themselves the kings of soccer (football, futbol, calcio, etc.). There’s a deep field of 32 teams who will be vying for the 2010 crown and, while you can never count out old stalwarts like Brazil, Italy, and Germany, many countries have a legitimate shot at the trophy and their place in soccer immortality.
What’s different this time around? Well, this is the first World Cup to take place in the continent of Africa. Many of the players and coaches have changed throughout the years. But, as far as my fellow iPhone enthusiasts are concerned, the biggest difference is that this is the first World Cup to take place since Apple’s miracle device was born. There are several cool apps for just about everything these days, and the World Cup is no exception. Here are 4+ apps that every soccer fan should have on their iPhones over the next month of soccer nirvana…
FIFA World Cup
If you want a game that has all the pomp and circumstance of the tournament, EA’s FIFA World Cup does a good job of incorporating all those elements. As the only officially licensed game, FIFA World Cup lets you choose from 105 different countries on the quest to qualify for the competition and capture the trophy. There’s also a Captain Your Country Mode, where you become a virtual pro on your favorite team and try to guide them to victory. FIFA World Cup may not be the greatest game of soccer that you’ll play, but it has all of the official stadiums and requisite fanfare of the world’s greatest sporting event, including some amusingly blocky-looking fans. Soccer enthusiasts may also want to try X2 Soccer 2010 for perhaps a better simulation of the game, and Soccer Superstars for a more arcade-like approach. Neither have the spectacle of the World Cup license, but they are amongst the best soccer games in the app store at this time. Keep an eye out for Pro Evolution Soccer as well, as the legendary series will soon be making its debut on the iPhone.
Released: 2010-04-30 :: Category: Games :: Action
ESPN 2010 FIFA World Cup
ESPN is the official home of the World Cup in the United States, and is offering an iPhone app that can be used to follow all of the latest happenings. Included in the free app is News, Live Scores, Schedules, Video, Stats, History, etc. For a robust $7.99 more, ESPN is promising Live Radio Streams of all the matches, timely in-game video highlights, expert analysis, premium alerts/notifications, and live play-by-play commentary. It remains to be seen if the upgrade is worth a purchase, but it is nice to have all this information included in a handy & attractive app. As an alternative, the Associated Press is offering a World Cup specific app for all of the latest soccer news, and Univision, the official Spanish language provider of the World Cup in the United States, is offering a comprehensive app of their own. It wasn’t that long ago when Univision was the only place to watch much of the best soccer, including the World Cup. Now where can I get a sweet Andres Cantor “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLL!” ring tone?
Released: 2009-12-03 :: Category: Sports
World Cup Trivia Challenge
Want to show off your stunning, yet normally useless amount of World Cup knowledge? World Cup Trivia Challenge lets you do just that in a surprisingly good game. Choose your side and play through a trivial facsimile of the World Cup including qualification, group stage, and the knock-out stage. Better yet, take on your friend at the bar in a head-to-head match of true fandom. Get 3 multiple choice questions right and you score a goal, but every wrong answer counts towards your opponent’s tally. Go back and forth in a timed match to see who scores the most goals, with a tie game going to a true/false penalty shootout. World Cup Trivia Challenge is a modest game, but it has some clever ideas and is just fun. It’s a great time-waster between matches, and an excellent way to score some hard-earned bragging rights.
Released: 2009-08-31 :: Category: Games
The most important app for this World Cup, however, is hands-down Vuvuzela 2010. If you don’t know about vuvuzelas before this World Cup, you will very shortly. A vuvuzela is a type of horn used by soccer fans, and it is especially prominent in South Africa. The crowds in South Africa will be blaring these horns during every second of every match. It may very well end up being one of the most distinguishing and memorable characteristics of the tournament. The deep, droning sounds of hundreds of vuvuzelas is reminiscent of a swarm of bees, just louder and more obnoxious. There were calls to ban the horns for the World Cup, but they’ll be there and they’ll be ever-present. If you don’t get to pick one up for yourselves, Vuvuzela 2010 does a great job of replicating the experience. Just pick the color of your horn to match your favorite team, turn up the volume as high as it can go, and shake or tap your phone. The effect is pretty genuine, and quite amusing. You might not be able to be at the World Cup in person, but Vuvuzela 2010 brings you that much closer. I suggest blaring it when people least suspect it, for maximum effect.
Released: 2009-08-18 :: Category: Entertainment
So, now that you and your iPhone will be prepared for the 2010 World Cup, who’s going to win? European champions Spain may be the prohibitive favorites, but I’ll go out on a limb and say England takes out Argentina in the finals. Okay, I put like zero thought into that, but it would be an interesting final (remember the Falklands?). Besides, England has an Italian coach, so that can’t be bad. Who do you think will go all the way? Post a comment if you have an opinion, or if you’ve found some other useful apps that all World Cup lovers shouldn’t be without…
Oh, and Go USA! Forza Italia! Viva Oranje!
The big game publishers such as Electronic Arts and Gameloft have a reputation, deserved or not, of rarely updating their titles. EA’s Madden NFL 10 definitely doesn’t fall into this category, as it just received its fourth update since being released in September. As far as updates go, this is a good one, and it has a particularly timely addition. You’ll see what I mean…
First off, a Hard mode been added for those who’ve mastered the game. The difficulty can be toggled between Normal or Hard via the Options screen.
Another addition is the ability to save a multi-player game. If you’re bluetooth session with a friend gets interrupted, you can save and resume at a later point.
The final addition is the ability to download a special Playoff Mode, FREE of charge. This mode features the 12 teams that are currently battling it out in the 2009 NFL playoffs, and can be installed via the in-game Madden Store. You can select one of the 12 teams, and then play your way through the playoffs from the official Wild Card match-ups to the Super-Bowl.
Playoff Mode also conveniently gives you the ability to simulate up to a selected week of the playoffs. We decided to put Madden 10 to the test, Jimmy the Greek style, by simulating this weekend’s games. The screenshot below shows the predicted winners…
So, what do you think? Will Philip Rivers get out-dueled by the inexperienced Mark Sanchez? Will the Ravens defense come up short against the well-rested Colts? Will Brett Favre deny the Cowboys their first road playoff win since 1993? And will Kurt Warner stave off retirement for one more week? Or is Madden 10 just full of you-know-what…
NFL 2010 is a great fix for football fans who want a dose of America's favorite game on the go. This game is nowhere close to perfect, but those cats at Gameloft have cashed in a valiant first effort at bringing NFL action to the iPhone.
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This game is about as addicting as it gets for a $0.99 app, but is quite limited in its play options. There aren't many cheap games that are a better value in the iTunes store, but iQuarterback will certainly leave you longing for more.
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