As hidden object games go, youíll struggle to find one thatís better than this.
TheBoy about Mystery of the Crystal Portal 2
If I had to pick a game genre that I’m convinced can only be a disaster on the iPhone, then football games would certainly be high on my list. Think about it: a fast paced game requiring accurate controls (that don’t require your thumbs to take up two thirds of the screen) and often use many button combinations. That doesn’t sound like a match made in heaven for the iPhone and football game does it?
X2Games obviously thinks differently to me, and their previous effort X2 Football 2009 gained a healthy reputation. Being perhaps a little cynical, I always assumed that this was more a case of ‘it’s good for an iPhone game’. So given the chance to review X2 Football 2010, I was curious to see what all the fuss was about, whilst still retaining my uncertain thoughts about how this could possibly work out well.
Those thoughts vanished completely within about 60 seconds of the game loading.
On the very first boot of the game, you are taken straight onto the training pitch. Button layouts are briefly explained and then that’s it – you are free to kick the ball about amongst your team-mates. Doing this - rather than heading straight into a game and possibly getting frustrated – I was able to feel completely comfortable with the controls within just a few minutes.
The controls themselves are brilliantly implemented. On the lower right hand corner you have the regular pass, shoot and through-ball buttons (these change to press, slide tackle and switch player when defending). Both pass buttons can be either held to perform a long pass or lobbed through ball, or double tapped to initiate a one-two. My only criticism here is that the buttons are quite close together and it’s easy to accidently catch the wrong button in the heat of the moment. For player movement a rather brilliant ‘floating analogue stick’ is used. Basically, anywhere you touch on the left half of the screen an analogue stick appears. It works fantastically well and instantly removes the problems of thumbs obscuring views or missing the stick altogether. Players’ movement is responsive to movements even allowing for jog and sprint speeds depending on how far you push the stick. Fluid passing moves can be neatly strung together quite easily.
The overall look of X2 Football 2010 reminds me a lot of Actua Soccer from back in the Psone days. Player models are well represented and move convincingly. There are loads of little touches taken from the bigger boys (FIFA and PES) too, such as replays of offside decisions and players celebrating goals. Instant replays are also included which is another nice touch. Most teams have their real names and even those that don’t still have real player names.
The option to play your own music is there for those who want it, but full audio commentary makes it into the game. Whilst it’s fairly basic commentary, lots of player names are mentioned but inevitably some phrases do repeat quite often.
X2 Football 2010 features leagues from England (Premier League and Championship), France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Japan, Scotland and USA as well as a large line up of national teams. A full season can be played in all the leagues or you can attempt to recreate this summer’s World Cup and take England to the quarter final stage before losing on penalties to Germany.
Aside from the regular tournaments, 2010 features a ‘Dream Team’ mode. Here you start with a squad of Sunday league players with little skill between them. Through playing multiplayer or exhibition matches, you earn tokens to spend on improving your squad. This mode is a nice alternative to plugging away with your favourite team and gives a worthwhile reason to playing one-off games.
If all that wasn’t enough to keep you going, a fully fledged online multiplayer mode has been implemented. Players have the options to play locally via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and online against the world. Online multiplayer works soundly with little lag (although that obviously depends on how good both players connections are).
The whole package delivered in X2 Football 2010 is a mighty fine effort indeed. The combination of brilliant controls and slick gameplay makes the game a joy to play. Add in the bonuses of online multiplayer, real names, and even the BBC’s RSS football news feed to keep you up to date on real world happenings, and you’ve got a high quality football game that is easy to recommend.