There are now so many games about flicking balls towards targets on the App Store that a bit of clarification would seem to be in order.
Flick Soccer! is not – as I, upon hearing of its release, incorrectly Tweeted - a sequel to the impossibly moreish Flick Kick Football. Nor is it the follow-up to Neon Play's Flick Football.
Top of the league
Fortunately, Flick Soccer! is easy enough to differentiate from its peers if only by its level of polish and quality. Indeed, if you'll permit me to employ a journalistic cliché, Flick Soccer! is the Citizen Kane of flicking-balls-towards-targets games.
While Flick Kick Soccer simply asked you to try to score past defenders and goalkeepers, Flick Soccer! is a little more exacting, requiring you to hit the target in a more literal sense.
In Quickshot mode, you're rewarded with more time depending on how close to the bullseye your shot is. Over time, the target moves faster and you'll be asked to score from farther away, while the 'keeper's ability improves, forcing you to add curl to confuse him.
You can add spin to the ball with your initial swipe, but also – unlike Flick Kick Football - add aftertouch in the brief time the ball is airborne, giving you the opportunity to aim outside the post and bend it into the bottom corner at the last minute.
Banana shots are essential in the later stages of Endurance mode, which eschews the time limit, instead giving you three lives to score as many consecutive goals as possible.
Again, simply hitting the net isn't good enough, with the target this time offering between one and three points. Hit the centre and you can regain any lives you've lost, while a multiplier target scrolls across the goal for extra points.
Raising the bar
Those who seem to unerringly hit the woodwork when aiming for the postage stamp are well-served by the addictive Crossbar mode, while Smash It! tasks you with breaking panes of glass spread across the goalmouth in the shortest possible time.
Finally, there's the excellent Challenge mode, where you have five shots to reach three medal targets across five difficulties. It's perhaps over too soon, but then that's a testament to how compelling it is that you'll keep playing until you've earned every gold.
What sets Flick Soccer! apart from its peers is the sheer level of polish across every mode. It's beautifully presented, with outstanding graphics and sound effects, and the attention to detail is extremely impressive.
Taking one for the team
Defenders double over when the ball hits their midriff, while a straight shot towards the centre of the goal occasionally sees the keeper attempt a Higuita-esque scorpion kick. Scrolling advertising hoardings and animated crowds also add to the match atmosphere.
Perhaps the most crucial element of its success is its immediacy. Loading times are brief, while restarts are damn near instantaneous.
When you're desperate to hit five perfect strikes in challenge mode, this is a godsend, even if it has the unwanted side-effect of hastening 100 per cent completion.
If it lacks the simple high score gratification of Flick Kick (somehow points feel meaningless compared to goals scored), in every other respect, Flick Soccer! is the better game.
In other words, if you're a fan of flicking balls towards targets – and, let's face it, who isn't? – this is the best way to do it.