… Oh please, don’t make me review this…
Look, I played basketball in my youth, for about a decade, so I am well rehearsed at the nuances of the sport. But in the same way that I would not expect Tim Henman’s tennis skills to help him in a spot of Wii Tennis, I had no doubt in my mind that regardless of how simple and “intuitive” the controls might be for Flick Hoops, from developers Battery Acid Games, I would probably be utterly hopeless at it. And thus were my powers of clairvoyance right on the money.
Firstly, major complaint number one: six beats does not count as a soundtrack . Duh-duh duh duh duh-duh. Duh-duh duh duh duh-duh. And so on. That’s all there is, over and over. Oh, and not to forget the, albeit realistic, annoying sound effect of ball bouncing on court, the second most irritating thing about the sport after the smell of shared hand sweat that you get from the ball itself. The crowd will cheer you on the rare occasions you actually manage to sink a basket, but I think the crowd in my game were either all comatose or they were all too busy buying Corn Dogs and choking on popcorn.
Major complaint number two: I just can’t seem to play the game. Not at all. There are three modes to play here; Arcade, Hard and Challenge. Arcade sees you shooting hoops with a wind machine. You know how it is, Beyonce has just been in to perform at half time, and the silly bint has left her wind machine out near the hoop. On Arcade and Hard modes, the wind machine is positioned on the floor to the left of the basket, and is apparently magic because it can not only blow wind, but can also suck it back in to create a wind coming from the opposite direction. Paradoxical air conditioning units aside, this adds a touch of strategy to a game that otherwise relies entirely on luck.
I’ve played this game for approximately five hours, and have only managed to score four baskets in a row on Arcade mode, and two on Hard mode. That’s correct: two. That is my record high score. Two. Hard mode sees the demented fan go into overdrive, spewing out (and sucking in?) much higher speed gusts than you get on Arcade mode. After a while you can kind of judge the wind a bit better, but getting a string of baskets is not down to skills, or even luck at times, but presumably some high-top wearing, slam-dunking deity of unknown origin. Whoever he/she/it is, they not only have the power to make me look like an utter chump, but also the ability to manipulate gravity.
This is where major complaint seven thousand, five hundred and fifty-six comes into play: the gravity mechanic. Tilting the iPhone tilts the entire arena, in an attempt to make up for the wind machine. But it is difficult to tilt the iPhone quickly, and still ensure you finger is travelling on the correct path to give the proper trajectory to the ball to hit the hoop, which is now sitting at a strange angle. I’m all for realism in sports games, long are the days when playing golf meant pressing buttons at the correct point along lots of different bars to dictate your direction, power and swing, but I think in this game, that could have worked better.
The Challenge mode remains a mystery to me. Challenge number one: shoot ten baskets in one minute. Right. After many failed attempts at that, never getting any more than eight (because, luckily, Mr Wind Machine has buggered off for this first attempt) I could stomach this game no longer. There are 15 challenges to play through, likely to feature shorter time limits, more wind machines, more balls, and maybe some other obstacles. I wouldn’t know, because I couldn’t get past the first. I don’t think I am going to lose much sleep over it.
Many people out there will probably enjoy this game, but for me it was just too unplayable and not enjoyable in the slightest. Played on mute, the game in passable, but even with the 15 challenges – if I could beat any of them - it seems a bit limited for content. More challenges may be added in future updates, and if anyone out there has played through the first 15 and achieved amazing scores in the Arcade mode, then `I salute you. I doubt you’d be able to salute back, as I am sure you fingers are now more powerful and ripped than ever from all that ball flicking, that you’d struggle to lift them up past your shoulders.
Heh… Ball flicking. I think I’ll add an extra point on for that.
MLG Rating: 4/10
Platform: iOS Release Date: 04/08/2011
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a digital copy of Flick Hoops for review purposes by the promoter. The title was reviewed over the course of one week on an iPhone. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.