Review: Pro Foosball
Foosball seems to be a natural fit to play virtually with a Move controller. The motions of moving a rod in and out and twisting can be easily replicated by someone holding a Move, even without really explaining the controls to someone who has at least played foosball in real life. Pro Foosball is the newest game to virtualize the table-top game/sport loved by many people worldwide.
While not perfect, Pro Foosball did a decent job of mimicking my movements on screen. Moving the Move controller towards and away from the screen moved the rods and twisting my wrist spun the foosmen as I expected them most times. In the games very basic tutorial it mentions that you can hold the trigger button to do a perfect pass which is supposed to help with passing the ball between your foosmen on the same rod to try and set up an opening or do a pull or push shot. But as far as I can tell the button does absolutely nothing. You can still manually pass to set up these shots but it can be a challenge to keep the ball going straight between your foosmen. If you read that and you are wondering what a pull or push shot is or how to do them you might have to check other sources to find out. While it mentions those shots (along with the snake shot) in the tutorial, the game doesn’t actually tell you how to pull them off. For people new to the game a rules section or some shot tutorials would have gone a long way.
Before you start a match you have the choice of choosing auto or manual rod switching. Choosing auto does a good job most of the time switching when needed but there were moments when it would switch too early sometimes knocking the ball back (even into my own goal once or twice) or too late. While having the ability to manually switch rods sounded like a good idea, in practice I found that how quick the action can sometimes be I wasn’t dexterous enough to change to the needed rod quickly or I would try to be quick and end up on the wrong rod. You can also play using two Moves giving you control of the two rows closet to the ball. While difficult to handle at first, with enough practice playing this way would give you the most control.
The game also supports the DualShock and although I personally think it takes a lot of fun out of the game it does work rather well. While playing with a controller you use the left stick to control moving the rods up and down and you can use the trigger buttons, square button, or the right stick to shoot. Using the controller also allows you to pin the ball and auto pass it back and forth between foosmen with a simple push of a button. Both of these functions are nice additions and, in the case of pinning the ball, something I wish would have been included with the Move controls.
When playing a match the games default camera is a top down view slightly off to the side, similar to how you would see the table if you were actually playing, which should work just fine… except it doesn’t. Instead of being stationary the camera moves slowly around while you play making it difficult to line up shots, especially when the ball is on the far top side of the table. The game also includes another two camera views to choose from but these also contain their own issues. One is a more zoomed in top down view that follows along with the action, which during some levels I experienced really bad screen tearing using. The third is a full top down view that seemed like a good fit, but during play the game gives you messages that appear and stay for a few seconds covering up part of the table and blocking the action, leading to missed shots and blocks. I am really puzzled how that issue didn’t come up during development.
You have three different modes of play in Pro Foosball: Kickabout, Foos Championship, and Foo Madness. Kickabout is your basic single expedition match where you just pick your play location, the formation of you men, the ball type, and start playing. Strangely you can’t choose the goal limit for the match while setting it up, this can only be set from options in the main menu, which is something that makes no sense to me.
The Foos Championship presents you with fifteen matches that must be completed and is the only mode in the game with progression. Unfortunately it’s presented with very little flair just going from match to match, changing location and increasing the difficulty and goals needed every once in a while. The game barely even congratulates you when you finish. Some of the play locations can only be unlocked by playing through the championship which does give you some incentive to finish, but for the most part this mode tended to get a bit dull after a few rounds.
Foos Madness is the mode that really differentiates this game from other foosball games, and one of the main reasons that I was looking forward to playing it. In this mode you can choose a combination of two different modifiers to play a match. These modifies are magnet foosmen, bouncy ball, low gravity, low friction, bumpy table, no edges table, and long table. While there are some that can’t be combined with others, they add a nice alternative to normal play. That is except for the no edges modifier which was just a frustration filled experience of having the ball reset every few seconds when it went off the table. With how interesting some of these combinations are it seems like a missed opportunity that none of them show up in the Championship mode.
If you’ve got some friends over Pro Foosball does support up to four players using a combination of up to four Move controllers and two DualShock’s. Besides the expected multiplayer in Kickabout and Foos Madness you and a partner can tackle Championship mode cooperatively, which is a fun addition. Since you wont always have friends over to play with and you can get though the Championship mode fairly quickly it would have been nice to be able to play online to extend the gameplay, but unfortunately online multiplayer is nowhere to be seen.
For you trophy hunters out there the game does include a platinum, although you may have some trouble getting it. After spending a nice chunk of time with the game I went to take a look at what trophies I had unlocked and noticed that at least half a dozen trophies I had met the requirements for still remained locked. Ones like winning my first match going unearned although I had finished the championship (which I also didn’t get the trophy for) or having earned the trophy for scoring 100 goals but not the one for 50. After finishing the championship and no online multiplayer to head back to I found that my interest in jumping back into the game pretty much disappeared once I realized the trophies weren’t working correctly.
Going into Pro Foosball I was looking forward to a title that could offer something fun and new with the Madness modifiers, and it did. But that is really where the bulk of my fun ended. Trying to set up shots that just didn’t work out a lot of the time because the perfect pass button did nothing and the rod switching wasn’t always accurate led me to get frustrated more than a few times. The game is on the cheaper side so if you are looking for some local multiplayer you might get some enjoyment out of the title, but otherwise I wouldn’t bother. The Move implementation is decent but doesn’t make up for the frustration, broken trophies, and a dull Championship mode.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher 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:
- Decent Move integration
- Foo Madness mode
- Being able to co-op through the career
- Table and environment designs
What I Dislike:
- The Perfect Pass button not doing anything
- Can't seem to pin the ball using the Move
- Camera problems
- Lackluster Championship
- People designs
- Broken trophies
- Very basic tutorial