Fluid Football

Fluid Football is a refreshing attempt to bring football action to the iPhone. Instead of the usual ham-fisted on-screen joypad, the little footballer guys are controlled by strategic, well-timed swipes. The result is ostensibly familiar footballing fare soon revealed to arguably have more similarities with touchscreen-centric titles like Flight Control.

Andy Gray is along for the ride. Coins can be earned through successful progression through the procession of challenges presented to the player, and then spent on surprisingly useful advice from the man himself. The erstwhile football man’s chirpy face has been absent from Sky’s football coverage for long enough now for his inclusion to be, despite misgivings, reassuring. No ill-advised comments about assistant referees or the “smashing” of anything have been witnessed yet, which is a bonus.

As mentioned, you control the footballers in your charge through touchscreen gestures. Dragging a player somewhere will make him run to the exact point you drag to, with or without the ball. Holding for a second on the player before dragging will instruct him to pass the ball to the point you drag to. He’ll automatically chip it over defenders. Once in a position to shoot, you click the appropriate button and the viewpoint switches to something resembling the Be A Pro camera view from the FIFA series, albeit with apparent sprite-based player models. You drag the ball towards the goal to take your shot and the stone-faced goalkeeper may or may not save it. Those basics work reliably with a little practice.

The core challenge of the game comes from putting it all together amidst a time-limit, the offside rule and surprisingly robust defender AI breathing down your neck. Timing player runs off the ball whilst simultaneously fending off defenders challenges with the dribbling player is especially tricky, but in turn especially gratifying to successfully achieve. Further challenge is added in the form of level-specific objectives which encourage replay of levels. Completing those objectives earns the aforementioned coins, which can also be purchased in the in-game store.

The in-game store offers more than coinage. It’ll cost a few pounds in total to unlock all of the levels but the game itself, and a good bunch of varied levels, offer ample opportunity to sample proceedings before reaching into your wallet and are currently available free of charge from the App Store.







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