If you disregard the fact that here in the U.S., the ‘Football’ nametag is already taken by another, vastly more popular sport, why my country continues to call it ‘Soccer’ has for years bothered me. Some researching cleared that right up. You Brits did it to yourselves, it seems, so there’s no use now in getting upset at us Yanks for using the word. Well, there is the whole ‘Fahrenheit’ versus ‘Celsius’ thing we cling to, but hey, I digress. Freestyle Football Trials ($1.00) is the age-old game of keeping a football in the air for as long as possible.
As another quick release by developer NeuronVexx, one that uses the same character models and individually-controllable appendages from the studio’s previous drunk mankini disaster, it is a marked improvement over the last’s implementation. Your flailing now somewhat resembles a sport, and less a, say, drunken bar fight. The controls can still be frustrating to work with and adapt to. Fortunately, as the theme is California Games, hacky sack-esque, you use only your legs this time around, shuffling your feet to move and volley the ball.
You get two modes of play here, the literally-named ‘Keepy-Uppy’, and a freestyle setting that scores you based on the tricks you perform and the variety in the routine. While the first mode eschews any strategy beyond keeping the ball going, ‘Freestyle’ does introduce some skill in how you play, allowing you to pause and balance the ball on different sides of your foot. It takes a little practice (‘Timed’ and ‘Endurance’ options let you choose the pace), but you can get some decent combos going.
Unfortunately, there’s just not enough to Freestyle Football Trials to warrant your time (even the original California Games had other events to keep things interesting). Online leaderboards for each mode help to promote replayability and a sense of competition, though there’s only so many ways to dress up the same thing. Whatever you want to call it— Soccer, Football, Footbag— the one constant here is boredom.