Over the years, sports games have evolved to become both more detailed and more complicated representations of the sports they emulate.

Speedball 2 Evolution, on the other hand, comes from the old Amiga/Atari ST stable of sporting games - ones built around a one-button joystick. The Yin to FIFA's Yang (as it were).

Despite the promise of change, Speedball 2 Evolution hasn't really evolved much since the original first blasted into the collective gaming consciousness 21 years ago.

But in this age of awkward joystick-to-touchscreen ports and one-button breakout hits, that turns out to be a wise decision.

Get ready!

Taking control of team firmly rooted to the second division of the Speedball league, your task is to buy, train, score, and pound your way through to the top of the Champions League within ten seasons of play.

It plays a lot like a mish-mash of NHL, NFL, and a pinball machine, with each team of ten armoured combatants aiming to throw the ball into the opposing goal before two halves of 90 seconds are up.

Scoring goals is part of it, but most of the time on the metal pitch is spent smashing people over (to score points), throwing the ball at bumpers and chutes (to score points), and picking up power-ups (to help score points).

You can scout for and upgrade players between games using the money earned on the field, giving Evolution a semi-RPG flavour - your team will, over time, become harder, faster, stronger, giving a certain amount of attachment to the band of brothers (and sisters) as you race to the top league.

Ice Cream

Control is handled either via accelerometer or a virtual joystick, with the latter being the choice of champions thanks to the former being incredibly tricky to keep still.

All actions, from tackling to throwing, are executed by tapping anywhere on the screen, while player selection is automatic.

You'll end up obscuring the screen a bit when trying to throw for the multiplier ramp, but overall the controls work well, with most players responding quickly and intelligently to your inputs.

This is just as well, because gameplay is quick, brutal, and often laugh-out-loud hilarious, with points racking up within seconds and team members being dragged off unconscious regularly.

If you’re an old hand at the game you should feel right at home. If you're a newcomer, the game's speed and flagrant disregard for any laws is still a refreshing change from the norm.

Brutal deluxe

Evolution isn't without its faults. The AI of the opposing team isn't the sharpest, for instance, with the game a little too reliant on you facing a physically tougher team (like the new intergalactic races) than outplaying you on the pitch.

Beating the AI in Speedball 2 was never the biggest draw, though - it was all about smacking your friend all over the pitch when he came round after school, having a real-life fight about that one-point victory, and then eating fish fingers.

Evolution stays true to the original in this regard by offering local multiplayer via Bluetooth and wi-fi - it even runs smoothly on the second-generation iPhones and iPod touchs, which is great news for 'that' friend who hasn't upgraded for years.

However, the lack of online multiplayer is a disappointment, especially given the mobile nature of the platform.

Despite this omission, Speedball 2 Evolution still manages to perform the tricky balancing act of both keeping veterans happy while appealing to a new generation of mobile gamer.

It may not have evolved too much in the past 21 years, but its unique gameplay and brutal multiplayer is still as bone-crunchingly appealing as when it first appeared on the Atari all those years ago.

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