NFL Kicker 13 – Review
Platform | Release Date
iOS | September 6, 2012
Developed by Full Fat
Published by Full Fat
Become an NFL Kicker! Choose your favorite team and get ready for the ultimate kicking game from the makers of hit games Flick Golf, Flick Soccer and the award winning NFL Flick Quarterback.
NFL Kicker is the only licensed member of Full Fat Games’ line of flick based sports games. Alongside Flick Soccer, and the multiple Flick Golf releases, it offers Americans the opportunity to hit a ball they’ll find easier to identify. With familiar game types, an easy to justify price, and all of the NFL’s major teams, its a purchase waiting to be made by those that have already dropped a couple of dollars on the company’s other releases. Which is exactly how I approached it.
Unfortunately, I was pretty disappointed. The key mechanics are still in place: the direction and strength of your kick is controlled by swiping a single finger across your tablet screen, then subsequent swipes adjust its flight in air. You’re still trying to hit targets, although this time rather than trying to get it into a hole or a net, its the bars of a goal that you’re trying to get between. That target is then split into smaller sections which affect multiplier and other score variables. I recognised all of this.
So far so good. What was my problem then? It was the American-ness of the football.
Make no mistake, I’m a fan of eggball. I regularly watch college games, always catch the Superbowl, and occasionally hijack better cable subscriptions than mine to watch NFL games. The sport just doesn’t work as well in this format. It’s all about being a kicker, the most boring role on the field.
In Flick Soccer, I have to curve the ball around other players, and that’s before I reach the goalkeeper. There’s plenty of room of the field, and the low position of the goal makes it more about the position of your shot than making sure you hit it high enough. This sort of variety is even greater in Flick Golf, where the goal itself can move, obstructions can be put in place, and, in the case of the game’s Extreme variation, I can take a shot from the cabin of a helicopter.
NFL Kicker 13 has none of that variety. You can customise your player’s jersey with your favourite team and number, but he’s still going to be shooting at static targets. The developers do try to add some depth. As your score rises in the primary ‘In The Zone’ mode, the wind becomes more of a challenge, but it amps up too quickly. In the end it feels like an artificial difficulty barrier, one with a ridiculously powerful affect on the ball.
An additional ‘Time Attack’ mode sits alongside ‘Coffin Corner’, which challenges you to punt the ball after a more carefully judged shot within the 5 yard line. Again, the difficulty feels cheap, and its all the more aggravating when you realise that Full Fat are keen on you using in-app purchases to solve your woes. Yes, NFL Kicker 13 follows the irritating trend of being a paid-for app with an absolute reliance on additional spending to see all of its content.
Upgrading your stadium and updating your kicker – both of these things are primarily expedited by spending money, not by playing well. It is such a crushing sensation to feel that you can’t really earn rewards in a pleasurable timeframe, you just have to buy them or stop enjoying the game. There’s science about this stuff folks, and Full Fat have ignored it in favour of a money grab.
Presentation is good, and the package is well developed. The design does reasonably well with the subject matter, but the developers have already superseded what’s on offer here. With pick-up-and-play disposable games like this, that’s reason enough to ditch it and spend your ten minutes on something else. Not a failure, but just not much fun.