Review: Foosball 2012
Throughout the years many video games have been developed to virtually recreate games that are found in the real world. Everything from the traditional team sports like football and basketball to the one-on-one games like billiards and chess. Many of these virtual adaptions can be found on the PlayStation Network but there is one, popular all around the world in bars and dorms alike that has yet to receive this video game treatment. That is until now with Grip Games releasing Foosball 2012.
Foosball, for those of you who don’t know, is a stylized version of soccer (or football in the UK) on a small scale that is controlled using figures attached to rotating bars. The game is fairly easy to pick up in real life and Grip has done a good job at recreating that in video game form, especially when playing with a Move controller. Moving the Move controller in and out towards the TV controls the movement of the bars and you can shoot and pass by twisting your wrist. As long as there was enough light in the room I never had a problem with the PlayStation Eye picking up my movements accurately and it does a good job of re-creating the feel of real foosball. I did find in some intense matches though that I would instinctively tilt and move my move controller up which threw my movements off a little, but this was more of a problem with me and not the controller. Using only one Move controller controls all the bars at once, but if you want a more authentic experience the game supports using two with each controlling half the bars. I found using two Move controllers to be really fun and added a more realistic feel to the game, though it did take a while to get used to. The game also supports the DualShock controller if you prefer not playing with a the Move. The controls transfer over pretty good with the right analog stick controlling shooting and the left analog stick moving the bars in and out. While it does work I found playing this way took a lot of the enjoyment out of the title and I wouldn’t really suggest it if possible.
The main mode of the game is World Tour which has you challenging foosball players in cities all across the world. Most times these matches are pretty standard only really changing the difficulty and goal type, such as first to 5 goals or best of 15 balls, so you probably won’t find a lot to differentiate one from another. Some matches do add special balls, like a ball that allows unlimited trick shots (more on this below) or one that is smaller than normal, which does add a little variety. I did find however that the difficulty seemed to be a little inconsistent and didn’t always line up with what was listed. I would play through one multiple times in order to win and then the next I would devastate the competition without getting scored on, with both matches having the same difficulty for their AI. While the World Tour isn’t something I would call exciting, it is a decent length offering twenty matches and eight unlockable master levels which can be quite a challenge to unlock.
After the end of each match you are graded out of three stars depending on how well you did. These stars can then be traded in to unlock four different trick shots that are commonly used by the pros. As you play your trick shot meter fills up slowly (though it does get a big boost when you get scored on) and when it reaches a checkpoint you can then use the trick shot that is associated with that checkpoint by pressing the corresponding face button. While I thought the trick shots were cool they made me feel a little cheap since in the lower difficulties they are almost always a guaranteed goal. Once unlocked trick shots can be used in all modes, though for the purists out there they can be disabled by using the no trick ball. What I found really interesting though is that with enough practice you could probably pull off these shots yourself in game, which would definitely come in handy when playing multiplayer.
In a title like this multiplayer is really what will keep players coming back and thankfully the game supports both local and online. For local you can play a round of foosball with up to four different players (1 vs. 1, 2 vs. the AI, 2 vs. 1, and 2 vs. 2) using any combination of DualShocks and Move controllers which is a really nice touch. The local multiplayer works as you expect it to and is sure to lead to some heated matches with your friends. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for the online, which is almost unplayable in its current form.
In a game where it’s important to have quick reaction time and precise movement, the lag that I experienced while playing online made it so that the ball was almost impossible to follow and handle correctly. Routinely the ball would speed up or disappear and reappear somewhere else as it tried to keep up with the action. If that’s not bad enough many times while I played it would look like I scored on my opponent with the ball clearly in the net only to have the game realize a second later that my opponent did actually block my shot and now the ball is half way down the field. The online mode does include a progression system with experience and leveling which is a good addition, as long as you don’t mind playing with the lag.
You have got to give it to Grip Games for taking the somewhat niche game of Foosball, at least in the videogame world, and bringing it to a full-fledged PSN title. The Move integration in the game is great and it was quite surprising how naturally it played, I was flailing at the ball and scoring on myself in no time (just like in real life). While the World Tour mode may be a little lackluster the game can offer a good time when playing locally with friends, though it’s disappointing that the online is almost unplayable.
A copy of this game was purchased for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- Fun and accurate Move integration
- Local multiplayer options
- Good recreation of Foosball gameplay
What I Dislike:
- The amount of lag online makes it almost unplayable
- Generic music with no custom soundtracks
- Playing the game with a DuelShock takes a lot of the fun out of it