Super Shock Football

from Chillingo Ltd, originally released 18th September, 2009

VINTAGE VIBRATING FOOTBALL ACTION! Finally a unique football game that anyone can play! This isn't your typical Madden style game. Immerse yourself in the fun filled nostalgic world of Super Shock Football. Enjoy a touch of something old, as well as new, in this charming re-envisioning of the classi...


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Super Shock Football Review

The things people did to entertain themselves in the cold, dark days before videogames can evoke feelings of pity in the youth of today. Take electric football for example, a toy that hit shelves in the late 1940s. This was a scaled-down metal football field on which you lined up a formation of tiny plastic players, one of whom held a plastic ball. To start a play, you flipped a switch, causing the entire field to vibrate, and you watched the players skitter into action. You were far from guaranteed that your guys would travel in a straight line, or even that the ball carrier would wobble toward the proper end zone. And this was considered fun?

To many baby boomers, it was. Even today, electronic football is enjoyed by a small group of passionate folks. Tapping this cultural time capsule, developer Steamroller Studios has faithfully recreated the experience on the iDevice, bringing the frustration of watching your QB run in circles to a whole new generation.

But kitsch or not, Super Shock Football has plenty of charm, aided in no small part by the game’s excellent presentation. The art style is straight out of mid-twentieth century comics, and the audio fits the goofiness of the game like a glove. Ambient crowd noise, chants, whistles, honks and, of course, vibrations plant you firmly in the crazy world of electric football.

Blue forty-two! Hut, hut, vibrate!

You can choose from five fictitious teams with names like the Burglars, Pole Cats, and Lumberjacks. With so few teams, there’s no point in playing a season, so every match is a one-off.

On defense, the only decision you make is your team’s formation on the field. You can pick from preset formations, or drag and drop the players wherever you want them. Once the play starts, it’s hands-off. We kept wishing we had some say in where our guys went, but true to the game’s inspiration, that’s left to fate. For a tackle to take place, the front of a member of the defense must touch the front of the ball carrier.

Offense offers you more control. Again, you pick your team’s formation and hope for the best, but now you can control passes. The passing mechanic is very well-implimented: just tap and hold on the quarterback, and a bullseye appears. Drag the bullseye to where you think the intended receiver will be when the ball lands, and as long as the receiver is there to catch it, you have a completion.

We promise, this is not Lego football.

Passes also come in handy when your screwy running back starts scrambling out of bounds or running the wrong way. When this happens, you can throw laterals to players heading in the right direction. This becomes a major part of the gameplay, and a very enjoyable one at that. Punting is controlled much like in other football games, by using a power meter and a directional arrow.

Even though there’s no option to play a season, there’s plenty to do in this game. There are three difficulty levels, seamlessly integrated OpenFeint achievements, and a single-device two-player mode.

The developers use tilt to great effect as well. Tilt controls your view of the field, exactly as if you were hovering over the toy version of the game. Tilt to the left, and your view of the 3D field glides gently toward the sideline. For a closer or wider view of the field, pinch gestures zoom in and out.

Another tiny quibble is that there’s plenty of screen space, but the display of score, time, etc. is relegated to a very small strip at the bottom of the screen. Not a huge deal– we’re just nitpicking.

As strange as it is not to have full control over your guys during plays, we thought Super Shock Football brings some welcomed diversity to the football genre in the App Store. If you ever had one of these electric football games, this purchase is a no brainer– you’ll be grinning from ear to ear the whole time you play. At the same time, don’t buy this if you’re looking for a traditional football game. But if you’re interested in a game that puts a charming twist on the genre, do yourself a favor and pick this one up.

Previews:

Super Shock Football Hands-On

When we heard Chillingo and Steamroller studios were working together to release Super Shock Football, we were expecting an effort similar to Madden 2010 and NFL 2010. However, what we got was a unique top-down experience that seems aimed at the niche audience who remembers old-school vibrating electric football machines. Our impressions, after going hands-on with the game, are up ahead.

Unlike other football games, the concept doesn’t involve controlling every single movement of your players, but instead making quick tactical decisions as to where to throw the ball. In fact, you aren’t even given control over character movement. The players will freely and randomly move around the screen, and your goal is to simply pass the ball to a teammate further up the field. This is done by holding down on the screen and dragging around a target to where you want the ball to go.

The other aspect of the game you’re given control over is the decision of which plays to use, although selection is limited to around six to eight plays per offense and defense. There is also the option to manually move around players to your liking. It was unclear whether the placement of your team affected their movements, but we suspect there might be some kind of correlation.

One of the features we appreciated most was the ability to customize the number of teammates and length of the game. There are also six teams to choose from, and stats such as rushing yards and a win-loss ratio for games will allow players to make their own ‘tournaments’, in theory. Pass and play multiplayer and quick play mode (for those who don’t want to worry about options) are also included.

OpenFeint integration was as seamless as always, and the developers did a great job of implementing 40 achievements and tons of leaderboards covering various parts of the game.

Super Shock Football may be too simple to satisfy some of the elite football gamers, but it is definitely unique when compared to other interpretations of the genre. It has already been submitted to the App Store, so we hope to see it out soon.