Hot News Update: Man makes computer game of the sporting variety.
I can’t think of a better way to describe the game then copy and pasting the Steam blurb. No, it’s not lazy! How dare you for thinking such a thing.
BEHOLD THE KICKMEN is a football game made by someone who has no understanding of, or interest in, what is affectionately known as “The Wonderful Game”. Start at the bottom of the Big Boring Football Spreadsheet and grind your way up to become the best at the football anyone’s ever seen.
The other, most important thing to keep in mind is the cheap, cheap price of £2.51? Gee-whizz!
Ooh. I like that menu music. How lovely. Also, what a lovely intro the game has. Double lovely.
The menu informs you of the single player campaign, quick play and a tutorial. Any attempts to abandon the correct order of things are halted with a witty remark, and dammit, you’ll have to comply. I mean, you might miss something. I am happy to report that the tutorial is a joy, as it is informative, and more importantly, entertaining. This is only slightly let down by the single player story insisting on re-doing tutorial-type things all over again. Not the biggest problem, but hey, it could have been merged. Indeed you could have milked a few extra laughs with a classic training montage.
The single player story is the main event and is a great deal of fun; You rise through the divisions, improve your kickmen and the good humour pushes things along, but wait, you wail; how about the actual playing of the footballs?
Your diddy men are both cute and woefully slow. To shoot you hold down the shoot button (exciting), and time slows down (even more exciting). You’ll notice a power bar growing ever larger and wider (like you, aged 37), you release the button and POW! The ball fires off anywhere within the cone. Aftertouch can be applied for your satisfaction. Satisfying. Each fancy pass and tackle earns you precious cash. Only the best footballers get paid baby. The passing’s kinda crap and your fancy special move is an invulnerable sidestep. Handy when tackles fly your way. Also overpowered, so you can only use it once per attack. You have a little dash with the dash button, and I wish dash was permanently on by default. In a healthy and respectable manner you can improve your teams stats by violently throwing money at the upgrades screen. These make your kicks more kickier and your players nippier round the pitch. Best upgrade your terrible, terrible goalkeeper, right?
As expected, the game benefits from it’s pleasantly ignorant premise. The further out you take a shot from, the more goals you get. Makes sense right? Offside appears! What the fuck does that do? Tiny clocks appear on the pitch, and if you go out of your way to pick these up, you extend the timer. Obviously that’s how Fergie time happened. Football has never been more interesting.
Yes. It is a tad chaotic…
…. but It all feels a tad off. What do I mean by that? As mentioned, the passing doesn’t feel great. You can’t dribble, as it’s so very slow paced and your shots at goal never seem to satisfy, even if you don’t welly it into confusion.
The single player campaign is engaging, but after escaping the lower leagues the CPU goes through some bizarre difficulty spikes. Passing the ball around in ways you can’t imagine or recreate. Casually taking powerful shots at your floundering, useless goalkeeper that you foolishly didn’t upgrade, as you really wanted faster players. Without your mighty time-defying slide tackle, you wouldn’t be able to compete. Now the slide tackles tremendous fun! It’s a real mishmash of emotions as one minute I’m entertained and the next, flippant, as Mr Random Chance arrives to blow a raspberry in your face. For the most part, it’s enjoyable, until it isn’t.
Helpful right! Look… I did say it feels a tad off.
So… why is the game so damn cheap?
For a start, there’s no multiplayer at all, which is fine. It is a design choice and priced accordingly, but Behold the Kickmen would have made for a fine party game. In fact, it would have improved the game overall, as multiplayer reiteration would have honed the on-pitch action into something more entertaining. Feels like a missed opportunity.
Tiny lil’ things can bother, such as using a mouse to select the menu screen, whilst using a controller to play the actual game. This means I have to get off my sofa and I’m so terribly old now. These aren’t huge complaints. How could they be, remember the price. It’s a great little game, I really like it. I enjoyed the story and the inventiveness. But like all good jokes, the laughs eventually comes to an end, and you move on to the next giggle. If you keep that in mind, you’ll have a fine time here.
In the back of my mind I can’t shake the thought that this could have been more than a silly lil’ joke. Behold the Kickmen could have been a silly lil’ joke with some real footballer legs. Well… not football…. You know what I mean.
A fun little firework. Bang! It entertains. This is fun isn’t it. I enjoyed that. Now it is done.
Let’s move on.
Wait. Why is the score so low? Ha-ha-ha. It is not my simple friend. We all know 5 is average. This is better than average. Please consult the Score Guide if in doubt, and nod appreciatively and to excess. Do it now.
Constructive criticism corner: –
Oh HAI. Whilst playing hit comedy kinda football game Behold the Kickmen, I came to the following conclusions. Conclusions that should never be implemented, I mean the games done, innit: –
- Speed up the players whilst dribbling. Able to use the sidestep more then once (on a cooldownm of course), but it’s not invulnerable to tackles. Oooh, tricksy.
- Remove the slow-mo when tackling. Then it’s a real game of skill to win the ball back. Maybe remove the power bars altogether and rely on good ol’ fashioned human judgement.
- Have the ball bobble around after a tackle.
- Run with the Speedball 2 influence, and introduce player transfers. In fact, just fully rip off Speedball 2.
- Give me 10% of the earnings from the hit sequel “Kickmen 2: The Kickening”