Game Reviews

Official England Football

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Official England Football

Wayne Rooney is spinning forlornly on the spot. The clock has stopped. The ball hovers a few pixels above the ground.

Is this a metaphor? Some visual exploration of the ineffectual nature of the England striker in recent major tournaments?

No. Official England Football is just broken. This is a messy arcade kick-around that's often so bad you can't help but laugh out loud.

I've seen players tackle members of their own team; goalies chipping the ball back to their opponents over and over again; and midfielders dribbling the ball out of play when under no pressure whatsoever.

There are some people on the pitch... they've all fallen over

The game offers a simple rendition of The Beautiful Game. You control the player nearest the ball with a virtual stick. There are two buttons. 'Pass' and 'shoot' when you have the ball become 'sliding tackle' and 'nothing' when you don't.

It feels like it's aiming for somewhere in the Sensible Soccer ballpark. Fast paced, a bit silly, and with a focus on scoring goals.

Sometimes, the game hits that spot. Other times, players take the ball and hover eerily to the touchline to concede a throw-in.

In almost every game, something unintentionally hilarious happens. I tackled a goalkeeper while he was holding the ball. I watched my defenders hack one another to the ground. I scored with a slow pass from outside the box.

There are different modes, from a quick-play option to more intense multiple game tournaments, but they're all blighted by the same shoddiness. The game feels unfinished, and crashed more than once while I played it.

The controls are too imprecise, the AI too ridiculous, and the presentation too slapdash. Only the England players have their own names, and even one of them is missing from the roster.

Do I not like that

If Official England Football were free, I would urge you all to go and download it just to see how terrible it is. But this is a premium game with a £1.99 / $2.99 price tag. And it's just not good enough.

This is the official game of the England football team, and people are going to buy it because of that branding. What they're going to end up with borders on the farcical.

It's a broken, laughably ineffective attempt at a football game. You can insert your own jokes here about how well it ties in with England's World Cup campaign.

Official England Football

A game that's so bad that you'll sometimes find yourself laughing uncontrollably at its ineptitude