Speedball 2: Evolution App Review – Amiga Classic to Modern iPhone

If you’re an old gamer, you may remember owning an Amiga or even an Atari ST. You may also remember playing a fictional sports game titled, Speedball 2 by the Bitmap Brothers. It turns out that that very exact game, apart from the few tweaks was released on the app store as a universal app in the form of, Speedball 2: Evolution. Though the title is an old one, it carries over some of the best in gaming to this remade, modern predecessor.

Having played this title now for a couple of days, I can truly say that it’s a winner. Speedball 2: Evolution is a futuristic image of a non-existent sport which seemingly, by the artwork, takes place in a somewhat technocratic world; I may be wrong but solely based off of the uniforms, a space-like environment is probably present. Through a series of rules, controls, powerups and more, the sport is a spin-off combination of soccer and ice-hockey as you use the members of your team to score points and win over other teams.

After an interactive tutorial, you’ll be able to start playing. There are two goals on either side of a large playing field. The objective? Score points by not only trying to get the ball into the goal, but also using the numerous other ways possible to achieve the highest score by the end of the match. You can deplete an opposing member’s health bar throughout to span of the game to receive points, use the bumper in the middle of the field to gain points and even hit another team’s wall-aligning stars: evidently, there are many ways to gain points. The main meat of the game lies within the career mode where you’ll play tons with gameplay split into 10 seasons full of leagues. You earn cash through winning and can further spend it on improving your team or buying new players from the some 300 available.

There are two control methods. Either tilt or a virtual stick placed on the screen. Both of these are the controls for movement of players. They share the one-button-tap-for-everything-else though. I felt that the virtual stick was better because (1) you don’t have any constraints when lying down and (2) it just seemed more responsive than tilt. Once you get past the initial difficulty of controlling everything with just one button and the virtual stick, the controls are not an issue. This is without doubt where most of the simplicity of the game lies.

My only gripe about the game is the one particular sound which, after the first game gets on your last nerve. It seems that every single time you tap on the screen, because of the sound’s frequency, you have to listen to the annoying chirp of a vendor blaring, “Ice Cream, Ice Cream!”. Seriously, in one game you’ll hear it at-least 30-40 times.

All of you older gamers, the game’s artwork has been much spruced by with the pristine sprites and arenas though the gameplay is exactly the same. Put aside the cartoon visuals, but if you take a look at the replays, the crowd and the arenas, you’d think Speedball was a real sport. If you grew up playing this classic, Speedball 2: Evolution definitely doesn’t fail to create a vivid, similar experience. Even if you didn’t play this game before, the modern version is just worth trying. The brutal gameplay is surprisingly satisfying!