Football Game – Xbox One Review
The first thing that needs to be mentioned here is that Football Game is not a football game in any shape or form. In reality, Cloak and Dagger Games have brought us a very retro point and click adventure that is very light on actual content. Back in the olden days of the 1980’s this genre of game was very possible, partly because you could get real depth and a satisfying gaming experience from them despite the low processing power of the technology of the day. Football Game deserves credit for giving an authentic retro effect, as the graphics look like they are straight off a C64 or ZX Spectrum, and the 1980s setting rounds things off nicely.
The story revolves around Tommy, a high school football star in East Bend, USA, though the story hints that he might be more of a former football star. Anyway, it’s the day of the game, and he wakes at home after an apparently heavy night out partying the day before, and everything is a little vague. He thinks he should be meeting his girlfriend at the stadium, but things aren’t quite what they at first seem. Its up to you to unravel the puzzles, get him to the game and work out what really has gone on previously. Youre drip fed the story as it goes along, and various memories are triggered for Tommy in flashback scenes. Your first task is to hide your beer from your disapproving mother, and then get somehow get the use of her car to get you to the stadium.
The point and click elements are fairly obvious if you’ve played this kind of game before. Pick up an item and it goes into your inventory for you to use in a later scene, of for you to combine with another item to make something useful. For example, a character you need some information from asks you if you have cigarettes, so you backtrack a couple of scenes, procure some then go back and exchange them for the useful information. Theres nothing too taxing and no lateral thinking is required, which keeps the story moving, but also means it over far too soon.
Its likely you’ll complete the story in a single session, as it takes around an hour to get through, although without giving too much away, I was left a little confused and underwhelmed with the story once it had reached its supposed conclusion. Youre likely to be thinking “is that it?”, as I felt I was left with plenty of questions about the story. It may set it up for a further chapter or maybe just leave things ambiguous to plant the seeds in the players mind of something altogether more sinister than is actually revealed.
Being a game from the Ratalaika Games stable, the usual easy achievements are there as you’d expect, with the full 1000 Gamerscore easily achieved in a single play through without going aout of your way. You play through as normal and you should hit all the achievements, and even if you don’t, a second play through will them mop them all up in under an hour. The brevity of the game is thankfully reflected in the low purchase price, but I’d still question the value for money in a game that you only need to play once and doesn’t really grip your imagination to want to repeat anyway.
The graphics are very basic to reflect the 80’s retro style and use a dark palate, making for a more dramatic mood than the story reveals, and sound is used very sparingly. The only music you get is when you get into the car and pop a cassette into the tape deck, but it does sound good within the limitations of the old school stylings.
Football Game isn’t a title that will be memorable for being a great game, but for a nostalgic point and click experience it kills an hour without taxing your brain too much.
Developer: Cloak and Dagger Games
Publisher: Ratalaika Games