Steve Young Football Hands-On Preview

When we walked into our demo of Steve Young Football, which hits the App Store Thursday, we fully expected yet another in-depth simulation like Madden or NFL 2011. Instead, we were surprised to find that the former 49ers quarterback and straight-faced ESPN commentator was lending his name and likeness to an incredibly goofy physics-based arcade game.

In Steve Young Football, you have to flick Steve across the line of scrimmage, picking up stars (up to three per level) and making it to the end zone. At the same time, you’ll have to bounce off of pinball bumpers, avoid land mines, and escape from zombies, mutant linebackers, and angry pigs who are out for revenge after years of being turned into pigskins.

There are 80 levels, and each serves up a little dose of insanity. The four environments in the game are an ordinary football field, a haunted graveyard, a retro arcade game, and outer space. One of our favorites, in the arcade levels, featured a giant, chomping Pac-Man that you have to avoid.

While most levels involve timing one well-placed flick, others are more maze-like. We played one crazy space level where you have to move Steve through laser barriers to make a touchdown. However, the controls can be a little finicky and the enemy animation looks a bit cheap. Don’t expect a Madden-style sheen.

Steve Young Football also features an interesting multiplayer mode where you can set up obstacles for your opponent, then take turns trying to collect stars. If you have two iPads, you can even connect them with Wi-Fi to double the length of the field.

With its goofy concept, charismatic spokesperson (who is donating his share of the proceeds to his Forever Young charity), and hilarious Youtube commercials designed to go viral (like the one below), we think Steve Young Football has the potential to attract an audience. It’ll be out on the App Store this week for $.99 for the iPhone version, and $4.99 for the iPad version.