A title I’ve been eager to play since putting out the news piece, this Behold the Kickmen Switch review will change your life if you lack one.
As you can expect, this is a game about football, and I feel somewhat compelled to justify myself before this review begins. I’ve always loved football games when it comes to gaming; 9/10 as a local multiplayer rather than solo play.
I like stats in general, despite my distaste for maths, and my football knowledge from about 20 years ago is pretty good, though I’m not a subscriber to the hype of the real-life game, more a kick-about in the park or more relevant: the gaming arena.
Behold the Kickmen Switch Review
If Behold the Kickmen, from Size Five Games, were a text-based football game, I’d be equally stoked. The writing style throughout the press material up to the opening disclaimer is consistently funny and candid throughout.
A disclaimer for most games tells you not to play VR games with your tallywhacker out, taking regular breaks or not repeating drift techniques in your Skyline GTR down the High Street. The disclaimer here is the lack of knowledge and interest in the game of football.
Such an impact then, that I’m even quoting a ruddy disclaimer in this Behold the Kickmen Switch review.
I love that there’s a speling mistaik in this quote.
There’s plenty of more wit throughout, with a plea to play the tutorial, and supposedly good reason. Like most, I find tutorials a drag but have been caught with my pants down (follow me on Twitter so I can get some Thundercat pants – not a stunt) when I ignore the controls.
The Rules of Engagement
I did feel like it was the ‘how to keep a stupid person entertained, please turn over’ trick (look at an old birthday card for reference), as it wasn’t clear when I was selecting anything and would keep returning to the menu. After that detour, it was the training and the mental soundtrack.
The in-game music was the immediate downfall for me, so much so that I had to mute it. It was like dubstep and happy hardcore fused into one endless supply of noise that I couldn’t handle. Regardless of what football game I play, I really don’t want to hear music during a match unless it’s my own in the background.
The text in the game is going to rub a lot of people up the wrong way, as there’ll be a wealth of people referring to “we” when talking of their team, as if they’re on the same £22 per week most professional footballers are on, as there are plenty of attacks on the football world.
Despite my love for football videogames, the ‘philosophy’ of the game resonates with me as cheese goes with crackers.
How To Do A Goal
Doing a goal is relatively easy on the circular pitch, and the tutorial that I endured with the walls of text had me running about with reasonable confidence.
When it comes to the campaign side of things however, you’re without the fundamentals such as passing or sprinting and instead have to unlock these skills and upgrade with the money you make in a game.
In story mode, there are two options: the Classic mode for the original experience that PC users first had, or Ultimate, which includes some cheats from a cheat menu.
After giving my star kickman the title of Vulgar Knight, a story was introduced told in the style of a visual novel, which covers the story of your father, a rivalry with a top player from Brazil United and lots of other absurd tabloid-like narratives.
After having a chat with your coach, you enter a game and each time you win, get closer to promotion. Winning a game ensures you unlock one of the skills – which is a bizarre choice as passing is fundamental, as is tackling. Instead, you have to fluke your way through a game so that you can upgrade your team.
But don’t expect anything conventional, for apparent reasons.
Other than the circular pitch, there’s no out of play set-pieces, offside is a random event that includes a countdown where you’re penalised (perhaps justified for those who don’t understand the rule) and zero formations or strategy.
There are two main buttons – the first is to tackle and the second moonlights as a pass and a strike, so you should only press the button when confident of passing or about to score – if you hold in anticipation for an opening, you’ll end up punting it.
Additionally, there’s an emphasis on your speed when you have the ball. As you’re doing more than one thing at a time, the speed significantly drops, and the player waddles as if he has a bum egg in his pants.
Through continued wins and unlocking the fundamental skills, the game became a bit more enjoyable, but by the time I reached the higher leagues, play was so erratic that I couldn’t stick with it, other than short bursts.
If you’re to stay ahead, you need to up your skills, and that means using the money you earn in a match. Fouling, or doing all manner of arduous tasks, rewards a counter showing your cash, then once you score, you bank it.
So, the motivation is to run around the pitch, score from a distance for 3 points when you’re ready to bank, then invest in your team. Unfortunately, I couldn’t score, let alone accumulate the funds to build up my team – which is essential with attributes such as the staminae counter so that you can sprint.
The Referee’s A Jolly Good Fellow
There’s bound to be people that are offended by the game with its portrayal of football as being boring, but it’s only an opinion, and you don’t have to buy into it, nor do you have to play it if you’d rather play FIFA.
As I’ve said many times, football games are some of my favourites, and I’m always looking for something a little different, that doesn’t necessarily reinvent the game with multi-balls or over-the-top cinematics. Though it’s nice to have the option.
Behold the Kickmen is a jab at football as a whole; the players, the game and the fans. Not everyone likes football, and if it’s your country’s national game, perhaps you’re that tired of it that you want to make a parody of it. It’s easy to be a critic, but the last time I attempted programming code, it was on the microwave, and I burnt the dinner.
Without a doubt, the writing in the game is a highlight. I enjoyed the overall presentation with the visual novel as well as in-game, sort of Sensible Soccer approach, but not the music at all. While some of the observations in the game are those that I share, sometimes it was a little too much. There was a bit too much frequency with all the quirks that ruined some elements of the game. Though this was a parody of a sport that creator (THE creator) hates, it did have the potential of being a really great game, but just needed to calm it down a bit for the actual gameplay. Overall though, worth your time for a different take on football.
- Excellent writing.
- The best crowd commentary.
- A unique approach to the game with some fun ideas
- A little too much text and too self-aware.
- The fundamental skills need to be unlocked and can take a bit of time.
- The sporadic nature of the game makes it unplayable in places.