Dec 10, 2013
Remember back in the old days of video games when a majority of the sports games you’d find didn’t have licensed players, for whatever reason. Many old time gamers may have fond memories of playing titles, such as Bad News Baseball, 10 Yard Fight, or Ice Hockey, where the members of any given team were either some generic whoever, or a nameless participant. In any case, the lack of a name back then, usually didn’t cause any deterrent from the gameplay itself (unless it was something odd like Ken Griffey Jr Baseball). Nowadays, this type of game doesn’t exist, unless its some ill fated title like Backbreakers or the arcade modern version of Tecmo Super Bowl, in which neither game did particularly well. But in the Android gaming world, games like this can thrive. That’s exactly the case with Fanatical Football, a football game with nameless, generic players, but is a lot of fun, and has enjoyed over 1 million downloads on the Google Play store.
There are a bunch of different teams within Fanatical Football, which bear little resemblance to any active NFL teams. Instead, each team varies in terms of difficulty playing with or against them. There are no individual stats or abilities assigned to the players on the squad, just overall abilities for that particular team.
All of the action done within this title are custom buttons which appear on the bottom corners of the screen. Additionally, the gyroscope within one’s Android device gives one the ability to move their athlete from side to side, as the player is always moving forward. There are speed buttons, juke, and spin buttons for offensive players, with just the speed boost if you are on defense.
If this title has one major fault, its that the actual game play can be ridiculous and frustrating. The whole game turns into the human player attempting to minimize the impending amount of yards the CPU can get on them. There is a 0% chance of the CPU not completing a pass and a minimal chance that you can hit the running back behind the line of scrimmage. To counterbalance this a bit, the game is set up to where teams have 4 downs to get to the halfway part of the field, then score. In some ways, it combines the system used by the NFL with that of Arena football. However, once the human player has the ball, there is a risk of throwing the pick or getting your running back stuffed at the line. No matter the difficulty of your opponent, these frustrations occur.
Despite its shortcomings, Fanatical Football may be one of the better attempts at putting a football game on the mobile touch screen. It’s simple but great game mechanics will give people a bit of nostalgia for football games like NFL Blitz, while amping up the difficulty to a point where it forces people to have to try hard. The fact that its a free to play title should not be a discouragement either, as any purchases are totally optional, and players can defeat the CPU without the use of bonuses or boosts. Fanatical Football may not be perfect, but its the best attempt so far at bringing America’s game to the Google powered OS.