Plekos Review

Plekos Review

Nov 6, 2012

True soccer fans don’t just watch. They play. Thing is, there isn’t always the space to show off skills. Miniature soccer sometimes solves the issue.

And no, I am not talking about Foosball. No. I am talking about the cheap, homemade variant of table-top soccer that creates hometown legends: Coin Soccer. Yes, I have very fond memories of hours burned perfecting my skills. Don’t judge me; back then, the internet was barely a gleam in Al Gore’s eye, and it was hard to watch cable TV without, well, a TV. We all had plenty of time to burn.

So, when I found out TotMob put out Plekos, an Android port of this game, I sensed that it was my time to flex my rep. Yessir.

At the root, Coin Soccer is simple. It usually consists of a small, (usually) wooden board with 22 nails somewhat evenly spaced around. Goals are scored by maneuvering the ball (a coin, button or bottle top) into the goal. Usually, a predetermined number of consecutive plays were allowed (way back when, we had three flicks each), after which the opponent takes his/her turn.

Plekos has great graphics; they were simple but effective. The UI was bright and inviting, and the the board looked fairly authentic without looking cheesy. The physics were realistic; I came away with the feeling that the developer has played the “real” version of this game regularly. Customization opportunities included the ability to change flags, and I could also change the number of touches too.

Gameplay was fluid; on a 7-inch game, it was a lot of fun. Plekos offered me an opportunity to play the game engine, or an opportunity to play up to 8 local players in quick games or tournaments.

I’d like to see a few more unique enhancements, like true multiplayer and/or adjustable layout templates. Plekos is too good of a game to be restricted to gameplay on one device. It is fun enough to have me waiting — and playing — in the mean time, though.

Freekick Battle Review

Freekick Battle Review

Aug 27, 2012

Believe it not, soccer did exist before David Beckham and Brandi Chastain. And while bending it like David at Wembley is not possible for most folks, Freekick Battle from Gamevil allowed me to get my, uh, kicks in right at home.

Flick-based sports games are nothing new on touchscreen devices, but Freekick Battle does well to replicate the mastery of sphere physics that sets soccer apart.

In Arcade mode, I was faced with a set of free kicks off increasing difficulty. The first frame was an empty soccer net. This was followed by harder frames that had a goaltender, defenders, angled shooting, and longer distances. There are even stages where I had to pass to a teammate (and place the aim bar precisely) to score a pretty well animated headed goal. I got five balls, and presumably you go on till you lose your your lives.

Ball placement is where this game shines. I used a combination of a direction button and a ball cursor that controlled spin. These allowed me to create the curved shots Becks made famous. I could get the ball airborne and get it round walls competently from jump. Goals got me points, and points translated to gold coins and skills promotions.

To add some spice, there are a few Easter eggs the reoccur during the game in a random manner. From time to time, I was able to refresh life, get extra points or even get a power shot. In the time I played the game, there were so many features that popped up to keep me coming back.

As an added bonus, there are in-app purchases that encouraged customization and increased ability, but the paid upgrades did not nag. The coins you accumulate can be you in the store as well, but a testament to the game is that I actually have played enough to accumulate a fair amount of “money” but have not spent it. Yet.

I say yet, because once this games got its teeth into me, it has been hard to shake lose. From the gyrations of the celebrating goal scorer to the agony of the beaten keeper, you’ll most likely find something to love.