Point and click adventure games aren’t the most immediate experiences you can get to grips with. You’ll constantly be fiddling around with cursors to manoeuvre your character, selecting and placing items you’ve procured and just waiting for actions to be done at the behest of an arrow. Suffice to say these types of games aren’t for the inpatient kind, but for those who like a good yarn they’ll do the trick. Football Game is one of these games, but although it’s a brief and condensed point and clicker it’s an okay way to grab 1000 Gamerscore and then probably call it a day.
College life is mired in those carefree days where all you really had to worry about (unless you had a job) was your girlfriend, getting drunk and playing sports. Okay, so this ultra-masculine American life isn’t really to everyone’s liking, but this is Tommy’s life. Tommy lives at home with his mother and has pictures of his main squeeze Suzy plastered all over his bedroom wall. Tommy thinks about Suzy much of the time when he’s not right in front of her, so brace yourself for several flashbacks featuring the two of them together. Tommy isn’t a mummy’s boy either because he’d rather run out of the house and go play football with his chums than help her with chores around the house; while Tommy’s life runs at the speed of a locomotive, his mother’s speed is that of a bricklayer with spinal stenosis.
Besides wanting to spend time with the love of his life, Tommy likes football and spends a little bit of quality time chatting up his pals at his high school. This is mainly to see whether Suzy is knocking about there because his girlfriend is always on his mind and, coupled with his love of football, he’d rather Suzy be able to attend the big game with him. The story isn’t very compelling, nor are the characters, but it can all be taken in with reminiscence of those halcyon days of the ‘80s which older gamers might remember. That said, if you were an early 90s baby (like this writer) you might still get a kick out of how retro the cars and cassette tapes look because Back To The Future was a cool movie and seeing reminders of it in videogames make you feel fuzzy inside.
Picking up and playing Football Game on Xbox One is a simple enough pleasure – maybe too simple and it might be an acquired taste if you prefer your point and clickers less stationary. It’s true, you can move Tommy about in Football Game because, well, how else are you meant to access items and make mother some tea? Tommy moves around on a two-dimensional plane and you can access bedrooms by clicking on doors and backgrounds to gain access. It’s not complicated stuff in the slightest, just basic if anything. Using the game’s cursor to point at where you want to go is easy although Tommy moves like an automaton, so you could theoretically play an entire game of hop-scotch before he has time to get out of the high-school lavatory, for instance.
If you want to use items, there is a handy inventory you can access at the top left corner of the screen, showing you all the items you’ve picked up on your adventure. You can drag and drop items into place for Tommy to use, like a rope you can use for climbing and some tea for your mother to drink so you can slip out the back door when she’s done drinking and has a nap. Only one item can each solve the game’s array of puzzles, but don’t think too much about it because Football Game is a breeze – the kind of game you can play without thinking all that much about it, then it’ll be over and you’ll likely forget it if you skip all the dialogue.
Football Game’s brevity is both its biggest strength and greatest weakness. While it’s certainly nice to have a point and clicker you can polish off in under an hour and it’s got some youthful American intrigue permeating through it, you’ll forget it very quickly and move onto something else. The fundamentals are fine, the little story of Tommy, his girlfriend and football is alright, but there’s just not enough going on here apart from dialogue skimming and minor point and click puzzling. It’s certainly not bad but not exciting either – it’ll be best to drink some beers while playing this one because Tommy does and who knows, you might find the game more interesting whilst inebriated.