Football Game is not a football game in the traditional sense. With a name like this you’d be forgiven for thinking this was the latest attempt to rival FIFA, PES or Madden (delete as appropriate) at the top of the footballing video game tree, but you’d be wrong. There’s no trying to score goals, touchdowns or PAT’s, instead Ratalaika Games’ latest release throws the clock back with its take on the 80s arcade point-and-click games, and it does an okay job at that.
Your goal is simple. As high school American Football star Tommy, you need to sneak out of your house to see your girlfriend at a local college football game with a present in hand you’ve been so desperate to give to her. It isn’t as straightforward as you’d have thought however, as when you finally arrive she is nowhere to be seen and nobody knows where she is. Nothing is quite as it seems. The question: where has your girlfriend gone?
To find out, you’ll travel to a few different locations across the town of South Bend, USA, speaking to people to find out what they know and collecting objects that you can use as bribes, distractions, or to enter hidden areas that your girlfriend might be.
The standout here is the story. There’s not much new about this point-and-click game, but the story really hooks you in. What initially seems a mundane plot slowly turns as, from your conversations, you get the inkling that something isn’t quite right here – all from the eyes of the unassuming and naive protagonist.
The graphics transport you back to the 80s, the era of arcade games that we all know and love. Coupled with the authentic soundtrack, I can smell the scent of unkempt jazzy carpets, and hear the jingle of 10p’s in a cup even as I speak. And the music really helps to tell the story whilst keeping tied in to this theme, adding an underscore of tension throughout cutscenes and conversions. It makes you instantly question everything that happens in the game.
I consider this a more atmospheric game for this reason, something along the lines of What Remains of Edith Finch or Gone Home in that respect. It’s because the ‘puzzles’ themselves are relatively simplistic and straightforward, especially when compared to other titles of this same point-and-click genre. More puzzles or riddles are definitely needed, there’s little reward coming from completing a game that doesn’t challenge you.
But maybe that’s not the point. It’s not supposed to challenge you, instead you’re meant to just sit back and enjoy the show? I don’t believe that’s the case, but the story here is a dark and mysterious one that deserves attention in its simplicity.
You can’t really go back and play over and over again, although I would like to try it at least once more. With the plot twisting towards the end, I’d like to know if there was any signs that I missed earlier on it the game. Clocking in at just over an hour, although it could be less if you’re a seasoned point-and-click pro, it feels like there is something missing – despite the £4.99 price tag.
For you seasoned gamers out there, you should be able to jump in and play straight away as the controls are intuitive and exactly what you would expect. There’s a brief tutorial that outlines everything you need to know, plus, once I remembered the Switch had a touchscreen, pointing and clicking became a lot easier.
Simple, short and sweet. But you’re left wanting more than just an hour of linear gameplay. What is there though, is beautifully atmospheric and immerses you in the world for that short time, you really don’t have an excuse not to give it a go.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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Football Game Review
Gameplay - 6/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 7/10
Replay Value - 4/10
Tows the line when it games to retro arcade point-and-click games, but could’ve been so much more. Does a good job of keeping you entertained for an hour so just about scraps past the first down.
- Strong Graphics and Audio Choices.
- Solid Narrative.
- Too easy and straightforward.
- Short story with no replay value.