Rugby is a tough game. It requires you to run around a muddy, freezing pitch after a ball that doesn't behave predictably, all the while getting hit in the stomach and headbutted in the ears by people who are substantially larger than average.
It's almost like the inventor of the game wanted to exclude the weak, the timid, and the sensible before a ball was even kicked.
In this way, Rugby Kicks 2 is very faithful to the subject sport, because the developer doesn't seem to want you to play a good chunk it without a good deal of work and hassle.
Join the scrum
At heart this is a pretty straight-up flick-to-kick game in the mould of Flick Kick Rugby or even Paper Toss. Just like those games, it sees you swiping up on the screen to boot a ball towards a target.
As is customary, your kicks get ever more distant and awkwardly angled as you progress through the rounds. The wind also swiftly picks up, forcing you to judge the angle and strength of your swipe-kicks accordingly.
Rugby Kicks 2 makes things even more interesting/awkward for you by placing a time limit on your kicks.
Overall, it's a pleasant enough take on a familiar genre. The graphics are functional rather than pretty, but the ball physics are decent and the controls sufficiently nuanced to require a reasonable amount of skill and judgement.
It's just that Rugby Kicks 2's structure is bafflingly attritional.
Make like Johnny Wilkinson
There's a competent tournament system here that takes you around four of the rugby-playing regions of the world, and each corresponds to a slight variation on the ball-swiping gameplay.
First you have to kick into various highlighted sectors of the goalpost. As long as you get the ball in between the posts you'll score, so the pressure here is on individual shot clocks for every kick.
Then you have to hit specific targets between these same posts. Gone is the shot clock, replaced by a general countdown and the potential to miss even when sticking the ball between the posts.
As for the third and fourth regions... I don't know. Well, I do, but only having read the App Store description. You see, there's an experience system here that seemingly exists only to tell you when you can unlock the next stage.
There's a mystifying leap from the second to the third stage that meant I needed to be at level ten to progress. Even after numerous games, and having completed the second stage with a number of retries (and hence extra experience) I was only at level five.
For some reason, Distinctive Games doesn't want you to see the latter half of Rugby Kicks 2 - not without a bloody-mindedness that will see you grinding and replaying what is already, by its nature, a highly repetitive game.
Put simply - this is an okay game, but it's just not worth the hassle. Games of this type are built on simple, repetitive, moreish progression. They're fun to play, but are only ever a few minutes of needless friction away from being deleted from your iOS device.
As you'd expect, there's an IAP system here that encourages you to buy coins to upgrade your stats and introduce bonuses. There's no option to unlock the final two worlds with real money, which on the one hand would have been highly cynical, but on the other would have at least explained the developer's approach.
As it is, Rugby Kicks 2 is half of a moderately entertaining kicking game, culminating in a punishing test of endurance to access the second half. Only the truly committed will ever see this, and Rugby Kicks 2 just isn't good enough to inspire such commitment.