The iPhone has become a rich breeding ground for ball-kicking. First there was Flick Kick Football. Then there was the superb New Star Soccer.
Now, however, there’s activity on the bench. Score! is doing star-jumps, taking a swig of energy drink and pretending to listen to a furious Stuart Pearce.
Score! has a quietly brilliant premise. It’s a compilation of the best goals from the past forty years, and it’s down to you to provide the build-up play and final shot for each. Remember that 93rd minute equaliser Becks scored from a free kick against Greece to take England to the World Cup in Japan? Now you too can make an entire nation far less depressed!
It’s, essentially, a funny old football puzzle game. You see a top down diagram of where history dictates that the ball must go – and then you draw the ball’s path onto the touch-screen whenever the (beautifully presented) action pauses. As such you pass the ball from player to player, knock it into the space that fellow players will run into and then serve up delicious curling shots to bamboozle the goalie. If you break from what happened in real life, however, defenders will gather the ball up or the man between the sticks will raise his game.
It’s a game of strict replication, then, but it flows freely enough to feel instinctive – and enough like real football for you to feel a surge of satisfaction every time you hit the back of the net. The only real issues are that the game can’t use real player names to help you recall exactly which goals you’re re-enacting – and that it’s a bit of a stretch to recognise, say, a group stage strike between Japan and Denmark.
As a game version of Baddiel and Skinner’s Phoenix From the Flames, however, it’s absolutely wonderful. Touch-screens are, it seems, absolutely perfect when it comes to kicking balls around – and Score! is different enough to complement both Flick Kick Football and New Star Soccer.
There’s also an awful lot of room for expansion too – I’d kill to play a version based on Premier League history. On top of that I’d kill AND maim to play a version based on QPR’s promotion from the Championship. So basically: developers at First Touch Games: please get the Adel Taarabt license. Thank you.