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Flick Champions HD Review
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Flick Champions HD, Nawia Games‘ and Chillingo’s collection of sports games featuring flick-based control overlays, is now available from the app store. While not all sports seem that conducive to this control style, gamers may find some of these offerings to be a fun timewaster.

Flick Champions HD Pros:

  • Nice variety of games with both Exhibition and Cup modes
  • Simple flicking/dragging mechanics
  • XP used to unlock more sports and collectible balls
  • Crystal integration for global leaderboards and achievements

Flick Champions HD Cons:

  • Only a couple of sports are worth playing
  • Required XP levels to unlock final sports are unreasonably high
  • Some control issues with a few games

Flick Champions features 8 different sporting events: Soccer, Tennis, Basketball, Hockey, Bowling, Archery, Baseball, and Football. The first four are unlocked from the start, while the final four are unlocked by earning specified amounts of XP. You earn XP by winning matches in any of the sports, either in Exhibition or Cup mode. Exhibition allows you to play one-off matches with a bunch of customizable options, including 3 AI difficulty levels or Vs. for multiplayer action, team nationality and uniform color, ball style (with many to unlock during play), and a few sport-specific options, too. Cup mode uses bracket-style tournaments to determine a winner in 3 cups per sport (one for each difficulty level) for a total of 24 in all. Multiplayer is local, utilizing pass-and-play to allow you to square off against your buds for bragging rights.

All of the sports are simplified to create a mini-game feel. Soccer uses a number of fixed players on a field, with a goalie who continuously slides back and forth in front of the goal in a predictable way. The field uses odd physics that always bring the ball back to a nearby player as if there were small magnetic fields around their bodies. Effective passing was difficult, but flicking the ball around the field was fun and scoring was not overly difficult. Basketball was a disappointing experience, as our flicks from the various fixed players toward the basket didn’t seem to register in the proper direction most of the time. When they did go toward the hoop, they often clanged off of the front iron or went way over the backboard. Tennis was pretty decent, as you flick to serve and then dragged your player around to interrupt the path of the ball and send it back over the net in Arkanoid fashion. Our fingers obscured much of the action, though, and we missed a fair number of balls that we thought we were going to hit. The rules are bent a bit to allow you to bank the balls off of the screen sides and use doubles lanes as valid return areas. Hockey is another variant of Air Hockey, which worked suitably well and was fun to watch. Similar to Tennis, our fingers did get in the way a bit, but not to the same degree. Given the disparity between the small amount of XP earned for wins (5 or 10) and the amount needed to unlock the last four sports (between 250 and 1500), we were unable to test out the other sports.

Graphically, each of the games has an interesting look, as the action is all top-down and fits within the confines of a single screen. The players are block-headed beings that are little more than large dots in some games, though they show nice animation in the hockey and tennis formats. Colors are crisp and vibrant, but there isn’t anything that really wows us. The UI is fairly clean and nice, though the text is often very tiny. The soundtrack is upbeat and action-oriented, and in-game sound effects are good, too. We especially enjoyed the way the crowds reacted in the soccer and hockey games, especially as a ball/puck danced near the goal. A save resulted in a huge sigh of relief and a goal caused them to erupt raucously. The controls are a bit hit-or-miss, which was most disappointing since the game centers on the controllability of the players/balls. Flick velocity impacts some sports, but it’s hard to gauge how hard or soft to flick. The basketballs flew all over the place no matter how carefully, wildly, slowly, or quickly we flicked toward the hoop. The execution just leaves a little something to be desired.

Replay value is pretty decent, given the multiplayer options and the huge amounts of XP needed simply to unlock all 8 of the games. Crystal integration allows for global leaderboards and a bunch of achievements to earn. While we did find a game or two that we mildly entertaining, the control issues and simplicity of other titles leaves us feeling lukewarm at best about this title. At $2.99 for the universal version, Flick Champions HD musters a lackluster 3-Dimple showing.

Flick Champions HD Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2011-09-25T20:06:02+00:00 rating 3.0 out of 5

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