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Speedball 2:Evolution Review
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Speedball 2:Evolution is a brutal, futuristic, handball-style free-for-all from Tower Studios that is now available from the app store. A remake of the popular Bitmap Brothers game, Speedball 2 pairs its chaotic, no-holds barred gameplay with super simple controls to offer gamers a crazy-fun experience.

Speedball 2:Evolution Pros:

  • Fast-paced, action-packed sports game
  • Simple control scheme
  • Great animations and graphics
  • Tons of teams, players, game modes, power-ups, and ways to score
  • Ultra-short game lengths for maximum pick-up-and-play appeal
  • GameCenter integration for global leaderboards and achievements

Speedball 2:Evolution Cons:

  • Controls are a bit jittery and accurate aiming can be tough
  • Timer does not tick down audibly
  • Game speed and limited visual scope can be frustrating

Speedball 2 contains a wealth of options that give the game plenty of lasting value right from the start. In addition to the Quick Play mode that gets you into a one-and-done game in mere seconds, there is also a 10-season Career mode, a situation-based Challenge mode full of tournament play, and a local Multiplayer mode, as well. There are over 300 unique characters with an array of attributes that can be upgraded with money that you earn by winning. In this way, you can whip your scrub teams into shape so that they can stand a fighting chance against stronger teams. With sixteen classic teams and a dozen intergalactic squads, you’ll have plenty of choices when deciding who to play as and who to play against. The ability to trade players also gives the game a nice sense of depth, as you can really tweak exactly who you place on the field. A half-dozen arenas are also available as playable locations. Once you’ve got yourself situated, you’re ready to get after it.

The game itself is wild, unruly, and fast-paced. The two teams start with a face-off in the center of the arena. Once possession is taken, the offense can pass the ball or shoot at the goal. Goals are worth 10 points. There are also bumpers on the floor and stars on the wall that give a team 2 points if you hit them. Ramps will increase the amount of points that goals are worth and warp zones will cause the ball to appear in another location. On defense, you can intercept passes or tackle players. Each player has a health bar. Once it is depleted from too much physical violence, the player is knocked out and the other team scores 10 points. Halves last for 90 seconds, and they certainly go by quickly. Unfortunately, the final seconds don’t tick away audibly and the game ends immediately upon hitting zero, so we experienced a handful of wasted opportunities. When a player is tackled, he remains down for a couple of seconds, giving the tackling team a slight advantage provided there isn’t an opposing player waiting to take him down, too. The goalies are auto-controlled, and ours seemed to get owned more often than not, which was a little frustrating.

We had some difficulty adjusting to the pace and control mechanics. The action was a little fast for us, as setting up passes usually ended up with the ball intercepted or our player on his backside as the opposition would bear down on us very quickly. You are unable to see much of the field given the top-down perspective, so opponents come quickly into view to disrupt your progress. This also prevents us from seeing open players and usually resulted in putting up Hail Mary passes just to move the ball. Catching up to the opponents when they have the ball is not easy, either, as all players move at about the same speed and you can’t really select specific players to control. The saving grace was the plethora of power-ups scattered around the arena that would help by giving speed boosts, freezing opponents, and a number of other actions. Grabbing them, however, was another story, as we were so focused on trying to get ahold of the ball or slow the opponents that we often forget to go after them or missed them as we wrestled with the controls.

The controls utilize either tilt or d-pad. They were serviceable to move the players around, but their twitchiness often led to difficulties in orienting the ball handler in the right direction. Passing/shooting occurs by simply tapping the screen, with tap-holds causing longer throws. The ball goes in the direction that you are facing, which led to a lot of errant and misguided throws as we couldn’t always get positioned properly. We initially thought that we had to tap the spot on the screen that corresponded with the direction that we wanted the ball to go, which might have been a more enjoyable and accurate method of passing/shooting. Tapping is also the mechanic by which you tackle. The graphics are clean and crisp, offering a pleasant albeit steely cool aura. The soundtrack and sound effects create an atmosphere that matches the hard-hitting, fast-paced action. You can also play your own music if you wish.

Replay value is pretty good if you can adjust to the controls and speed of the game, with lots of cups and tournaments to play, lengthy seasons, and the multiplayer option. GameCenter integration brings global leaderboards and achievements to earn. We can appreciate the nostalgic aspects of the game and can see how sticking it out will likely get us to a point that we can be more competitive, but we’re still having a surprising amount of fun just mixing it up. Speedball 2 is a 4-Dimple battle royale that will set you back $3.99.

Speedball 2:Evolution Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2011-03-01T23:22:13+00:00 rating 4.0 out of 5

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