Foosball Review

This isn't the breakthrough simulation that will usher a legion of new fans to the sport, but it is a competent mobile simulation of a favorite bar pastime.

Foosball is a sport enjoyed both in public houses and in tournament halls. Although technically a tabletop simulation of soccer, foosball transcends the game on which it's based by requiring distinct skills unique to the alcohol-fueled sport. Sorrent has recently released a version of the game for mobile phones, and while it may be unfortunate that there's no way to play Foosball with others, especially since foosball is typically a very social pastime, there's a decent single-player experience to be had here. The game is fairly fast, even on the low-end Motorola I730, and the control is nicely context-sensitive, automatically switching lines for you based on the position of the ball.

Yup, this is foosball.
Yup, this is foosball.

Foosball lets you play one of three difficulty modes: amateur, semipro, or pro. While there's an appreciable skill difference between these settings, most players will be best served by the pro mode. From here you'll be able to play either in an exhibition match or in matches that will earn you spots in one of three regional cups, with each cup's tournament structured in a ladder format. The only real difference here is that when playing in a tourney you'll be expected to play many matches in a row. While you'll technically be confronting players from around the world, you'll be hard-pressed to notice variations in play style or skill.

The actual gameplay is appropriately simple. You can move each rod of men horizontally by pressing the left and right keys on your navigation bar. The up and down keys switch rods, although, by default, Foosball will handle rod switching for you. This is absolutely recommended, especially given the game's fast pace.

When you execute a shot, the connecting man's toe angle relative to the ball will affect its resulting movement. This works in a predictable way. So if your man's toe strikes the ball a little left of center, the ball will appropriately sail to the right. It's even possible for your opponent (although not you, for whatever reason) to tic-tac (aka juggle) the ball with his men who share a rod...just like in real life! None of this is particularly spectacular, but it's nice to see that efforts were made to approximate the real-life baby-foot experience. It would have been easy to ignore these details by dismissing foosball as a joke sport.

Foosball's visuals are exactly as you'd expect. A number of dwarven players populate a tope-green field, and they rotate when called upon to do so. When a goal is scored, a monochromatic version of the East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere's banzai flag appears with the word "GOAL" emblazoned across it. These bland graphics are adequate.

You'll play the game in complete silence, but that's OK, because you can add your own jeers and the cheers.
You'll play the game in complete silence, but that's OK, because you can add your own jeers and the cheers.

The game's sound, on the other hand, is not adequate. In fact, it's almost wholly absent. Occasionally, you might happen to hear a tinny, muted beep. The other 99 percent of the time, however, you'll be playing in silence. It's a wonder why a sound on/off toggle was even included. Moreover, there's no celebratory noise to even accompany the scoring of a goal.

Foosball is the only mobile offering of its kind, so it's therefore our default recommendation for those desperately seeking a game of foos for the phone. It (almost surprisingly) features decent gameplay mechanics and approaches the pace of an actual table-soccer confrontation. This isn't the breakthrough simulation that will usher a legion of new fans to the sport, but it is a competent mobile simulation of a favorite bar pastime. It's too bad technological hurdles robbed this game of the multiplayer support it needs to truly be a success.

The Good

  • It's foosball—what can I say?
  • Decent graphics
  • Context-sensitive control
  • Balls move according to shot position
  • fairly fast-paced

The Bad

  • No sound
  • AI cheats with horizontal passes
  • no multiplayer

About the Author

Foosball (2004)

First Released Nov 12, 2004
released
  • Mobile

This isn't the breakthrough simulation that will usher a legion of new fans to the sport, but it is a competent mobile simulation of a favorite bar pastime.

7
Good

Average Rating

16 Rating(s)

6.7
Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
Everyone