I love football. No, I don’t mean that football. That football has ripped my heart out so many times over the last 25 years that I’m numb. Well, I was numb until I decided to jump with both feet into the other football — the football that had been my secret mistress for all those years since our introduction during the 1994 World Cup. We only met a few times in Europe, usually in the spring because we both had busy schedules and often went months or years without communicating. And it’s not cheating if you’re on another continent, everyone knows that.
Of course, this other football — this sports mistress I carried on with for years — is the sport we Americans usually refer to as soccer. Soccer is actually a British term, by the way. It’s derived from “association” football which differentiates it from “rugby” football. So the next time some Brit tries to hammer you for having the gaul to call it by its American name, you can feel confident that you probably know more about the word’s origin than he does. I wouldn’t point that out to him, however, unless you want a beer bottle broken over your head.
I love “association” football and have reviewed other Pinball FX 2 tables in the past. The table is called Super League Football, and it takes the beautiful game, the free-flowing improvisation, traps it in a box, and then puts it on rails and it’s not a seamless transition.
There is an attempt to at least mimic football. You pick a team, and then the game, such as it is, is split into two 45-minute halves. Of course, these are video game minutes, not real ones, so each half probably lasts for five minutes. I didn’t time it, however. Chances are that you’ll never see the end of an actual game since, as per pinball usual, you get three balls, and when they’re gone, the game is over. Meanwhile, you can score goals against your opponent and they can score goals against you. They score goals by getting the ball past your flippers forcing you to lose a ball; that is, unless your goalkeeper makes the save. Then you not only don’t give up a goal, you don’t even lose a ball. Whether or not that happens seems utterly random though. You score goals by meeting some arbitrary conditions, then hitting a certain ramp which shunts the ball onto an elevated play area with its own paddles, several foosball-like defenders and the other team’s keeper. Knock the ball past the keeper to score a goal, knock the ball into the cups on either side of the goal and get they get a goal kick. But at least you get a boatload of points. You can reduce the number of football defenders in that area by meeting certain conditions. These are conditions that make absolutely no sense to me because pinball makes absolutely no sense to me.
I’m just going to say it: I am patently terrible at pinball. That probably hampered my fun a tad. However the licensed players and teams were nice along with team-specific color schemes. The team I support, Everton, wasn’t one of the teams I could use, however. There are six others, however, although my review codes only allowed me access to three: Liverpool (any BPL fan knows how tough that must have been for me), Juventus, and Zen Studios FC. If you purchase the game you can use Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, AC Milan, Roma, Liverpool, or Arsenal. Why Italy’s Serie A gets three teams is beyond me, however. Maybe Pinball FX 2 is super huge there.
And that’s pretty much the extent of things. There’s some very bland commentary and generic football-y sound effects to go along with the game, but you won’t miss anything if you mute it and listen to something else. The actual pinball is very basic. It seemingly relies on football cache and licensing, rather than interesting pinball. For example, the last Pinball FX table I reviewed, The Sorcerer’s Lair, had a lot of little side areas, minigames, tricks, and special effects. Super League Football just tries desperately to mimic the experience of watching a football match. It doesn’t succeed.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
I've been gaming since the Atari 2600, and I'm old enough to have hip checked a dude way bigger than me off of the game I wanted to play at an actual arcade (remember those) while also being too young to be worried about getting my ass kicked. Aside from a short hiatus over the summer and fall of 2013, I've been with Gamingnexus.com since March 2011. While I might not be as tech savvy as some of our other staff-writers, I am the site's resident A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones expert, and self-proclaimed "master of all things Mass Effect." I may be in my 30's, but I'm not one of those "retro gamers." I feel strongly that gaming gets better every year. When I was a child daydreaming of the greatest toy ever, I was envisioning this generation's videogames, I just didn't know it at the time and never suspected I would live to seem them come into being. View Profile