To be honest, I was always more of a Sensi Soccer boy. But... y'know, for a few years there, Kick Off was the football game for the discerning. Obviously, the few times I tried to play it, I found the damn thing impossible to control, and gave up... but that's me. If something's difficult, I find it best not to persevere.
And this is why the floor of my home is littered with the discarded pieces from jigsaw puzzles, ripped-up sudoku books, and musical instruments.
It's possibly fair to suggest that part of Kick Off's popularity was its branding. It wasn't just Kick Off... it was, we were told often, Dino Dini's Kick Off. Not anybody else's. Somehow, we all knew it was the Kick Off that Dino Dini done. Yes, that's right: THE Dino Dini. You know: the Dino Dini who made the game Dino Dini's Kick Off.
Dat's not all Dino Dini done dough. In the five years after Dino Dini's Kick Off, Dino Dini done Dino Dini's Player Manager, Dino Dini done Dino Dini's Kick Off 2, Dino Dini done Dino Dini's GOAL!, and Dino Dini done Dino Dini's Soccer.
That extensive and diverse CV has given Dino Dini (it's short for "Dinosaur Dinisaur") the right to finally - almost 30 years after the first Kick Off - receive the recognition he always deserved. Kick Off Revival is not just Kick Off Revival. It is - as the series always should've been branded - truly, trademarkedly, Dinosaur Dinisaur's Kick Off Revival.
Unfortunately for Dino Dini, Dino Dini's Kick Off is a vile travesty.
I mean, I get that it's cheap and cheerful, and primarily aimed at fans of the original series. I get that it's sort of deliberately old-fashioned, and aiming to have a lo-fi charm. I get that the intention seems to be a back-to-basis approach to football games, which ditches the complex simulations now offered by FIFA and its ilk.
I get all that. But please... would some sort of tutorial have been out of the question? Or even a bit of paper explaining the controls? How about some game modes other than a derisory faux European Championship, and bog-standard two-player? There is a practice mode, but it's one of the most baffling nonsenses ever put in a game. Again, in part, because there's zero attempt at explaining to the player exactly what is going on in it.
I even had to go online to work out how I was supposed to move the ball around the pitch - turns out, pressing X kind of lets you dribble, but then it still felt unwieldy. Keeping possession of the ball is more trial and error than anything. It also didn't help that half the time I challenged an opponent for the ball, I ended up fouling him, awarding the other side a free kick.
Equally baffling, the players seem to crowd around the goal, or just stand there, presumably wondering what led to them ending up mired in such a shambles.
And the visuals may have aimed at retro, but missed by about a fathom, coming off as just plain ugly, the sort of graphics a GCSE computer studies student would knock up over lunch. Furthermore, the sound is scarcely there, and when the crowd does roar it sounds like a wailing drunk dragging a metal garden chair across the foyer of a VD clinic.
Since I brought Digitiser back I've tried not to be too mean in the reviews. I've tried to be balanced and objective.
Even on big, triple-A games there are human beings on the receiving end of the criticism.
When it comes to reviewing indie games, that criticism is borne by fewer shoulders. In the case of Kick-Off Revival... you're focusing on one man: Dinosaur Dinisaur.
But what's a boy to do? I honestly don't want to ruin anybody's day. I mean, it's unlikely that Dino will read this anyway, but you never know. Much as I don't really relish the idea of him reading me describing his game as a lavatory, what am I meant to do when it is a lavatory? When it seems to just discard basic fundamentals, such as explaining the controls to the player?
And am I meant to make allowances for the fact it's under fifteen quid? I dunno.
But in this instance I'll make a stab at being gracious: maybe all of the criticism above is because I'm missing the point. Maybe Kick-Off Revival isn't for me, in the same way that I never got the fuss about the original Kick-Off, or wouldn't like a dentist to thumb his pet cobra up my anus.
SUMMARY: Dino Dini's Cack Off.
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