There’s certainly been no shortage of football games over the years, all with different approaches to style, gameplay and mechanics. Kick Off was originally a game that came out many years ago when gamers where using joysticks and unfortunately I never got to to play it. 27 years have passed since the original and now returns as Dino Dini’s Kick Off Revival. This time it looks slightly different with improved visuals and 3D characters. The game still looks extremely outdated but the developers must know that and have tried to embrace why original fans like the game.
The controls are very rudimentary, as you use X to pass, shoot, slide tackle, head the ball and just about everything. I have to start by saying that the game controls terribly and I never really felt in control of what I was doing. Slide tackles see you gliding extreme lengths and movement feels awkward. The dribbling just doesn’t work as when you attempt to run with the ball it whizzes off in uncontrollable directions. The only way you can actually hold onto the ball is by holding down X but that slows you right down.
You need to find a way of working out how to keep the ball whilst using the X button to pass and shoot. Everything you do is determined by the directional movements you make and the momentum of your players. At times I found it extremely difficult to angle my player correctly and therefore the ball would simply glide off the pitch. I think that the game would have worked better if you could actually keep the ball as you run, rather than just trying to perform a series of deflections as you make your way across the pitch.
When starting the game, you can choose from practice mode or you have the main game with the Play menu. You can play single player, local two player and online. There is also the option for a tournament mode which is actually the European Cup, which was clearly why the game was released with the current Euro 2016 cup taking place. This mode is very basic and lacks any kind of depth. The game doesn’t give you any choice or customisation which is a real shame. Games like Fifa now have so much depth when it comes to tweaking the game to how you like to play and Dino Dini’s Kick Off Revival feels very simplistic. The game doesn’t have official licensing, which isn’t a surprise, so players have their names slightly changed.
The game feels like it has too much missing to make it enjoyable. You can’t rename players and there’s no booking system, these are things that could be added. The developers are going to add upcoming patches and tweaks to the game, but quite frankly these are things that should be there from the get go. I personally think that the game was rushed out in time for the Euro 2016 cup and that’s fair enough but it has impacted the game.
The game is played from a top-down view which works well but considering that in games like Fifa you can change the camera completely to how you like it makes this feels very restrained. There are 24 European international sides but really it makes no difference who you choose to play as. The game doesn’t explain how to play the game, which is understandable because all you really do is run about hopelessly whilst bashing the X button hoping to pull something off. It takes time time even get slightly decent at this game, but even after a couple of matches you wont want to. I can see players being put off by the lack of control and frustration when it comes to actually keeping the ball. Like I said the X button controls everything and that proves to be a real issue at times. When it comes to shooting, passing or crossing the ball it becomes hard to determine how it will play out and I found myself kicking the ball off the pitch way to often.
The overall presentation is decent enough and I appreciate that the developers have tried to embrace the retro arcade style with simple gameplay. The players are all nondescript and really have no personality like in Fifa but I was expecting that to be honest. I actually liked the top-down view for a change and I do remember playing games like this when I was much younger. I can remember playing a few football games back in the Sega MegaDrive era, but I’m sure even those controlled better than this. This music in the menus is fine and what you would expect, with upbeat arcade tunes. The main portion of the game however has pretty poor sound design. There’s no music and the sound effects are often out of time with the actions you perform. Long segments of gameplay take place in almost complete silence, adding to the unsatisfying and quite honestly infuriating gameplay.
Overall Dino Dini’s Kick Off Revival is a disappointing football game that has tried to embrace its roots but simply doesn’t play very well. I really wanted to like this game but the gameplay issues and lack of detail makes it a chore to play. I stuck with it as much as I could and even when I started to get slightly better at the game it was still annoying to play. The presentation is okay but the game feels unfinished when it comes to gameplay mechanics, detail and content.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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