After the quick one-two of Flick Kick Field Goal and Flick Kick Rugby – ostensibly the same kicking game dressed up in different clothing – developer PikPok finds itself through on goal.

Association football - soccer - has a far broader reach than either Gridiron or rugby football, so the developer is under even greater pressure to score with Flick Kick Football.

Fortunately, PikPok well and truly buries it. The latest addition to the series is the best yet, and one of the finest casual time-wasters on Android.

Bend it like Beckham

The key to Flick Kick Football’s appeal – even if your preference is for running with the ball in your hand rather than at your feet – is a combination of a wonderfully tactile kicking system (which it shares with the other two games) and a stack of finely weighted variables to keep things interesting (which mark it out as unique).

While you kick the ball towards goal in the same way – swiping your finger through the ball, with prolonged movements adding height – there’s so much more to consider.

Wind is out of the equation given the altogether more direct nature of footy free kicks. In its place, you can deliberately curve the ball by bending your swipe accordingly.

Not only is this immensely satisfying to pull off, it becomes downright necessary in Arcade mode, where various formations of defenders line-up to block your shots.

In off the woodwork

In addition to scoring goals, there’s the excellent addition of Skill Zones. Squeeze your shot just inside the post or just under the crossbar and you’ll get an extra life (up to three) in Arcade mode or extra time in Time Attack mode. Bullseye mode brings its own target-based bonuses.

This adds a crucial risk-reward element that’s entirely missing from the other games in the series. Should you push the accuracy of your shots for added bonuses, even at the risk of crashing out altogether?

As with Field Goal and Rugby, Flick Kick Football features OpenFeint integration. In some games this is simply worthy of a quick mention (if at all), but here it’s a vital addition. The nature of the game positively cries out for competitive play.

Despite the added depth over its predecessors, Flick Kick Football is still an extremely light, bite-sized experience that will only occupy small pockets of your time. Still, you’ll be surprised at how many of these pockets you’ll devote to its mastery in the weeks and months ahead.

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