reviews\ Aug 8, 2012 at 9:20 am

Foosball 2012 review

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The sport of foosball – if you can call it a sport – is enjoyed in a number of taverns all around the world.  It’s a game of skill where you take little men on sticks and knock a weighted plastic ball around a small “rolly” field, trying to score on the opposition by slamming it into their goal (or maybe casually letting it roll by, depending on if they’re really paying attention).  It’s never really been captured accurately in a video game, so Grip Games was probably figuring it would be worth a shot to bring it to both PlayStation 3 and PS Vita in cross-play form.  And I admit, there’s something to be liked about the way they bring the game alive in virtual form.  Now the real question is if it’s long-lasting.

Most of the physics in Foosball 2012 have been mostly recaptured in two control formats.  The first, and only one to be used in the Vita version, involves the analog stick for both general character movement and shooting controls.  You’ll guide your players as you control the ball, sometimes defensively, and then set up your perimeters as you line up your shot.  It’s life-like, that’s for sure.

Foosball 2012

The second method, which is exclusive to the PS3 edition, is Move support.  With this, you’ll grasp your controller as you would a real knob on a foosball table, jerking it and pushing it so you can guide your players on the table.  It’s actually pretty accurate, and probably the best option when it comes to lining up and executing shots.  Get a couple of friends with Move controllers and you could have a pretty competitive game – albeit a weird one with you standing side-by-side, rather than across from each other at an actual table.

That said, playing the typical way, with a control pad or the analog stick, leaves a slight bit to be desired.  See, it’s too easy to set up and execute shots, trick or regular, with a tap to the right.  Grip Games could’ve added a bit more complexity to make these shots more rewarding, rather than just letting them fly randomly.  Grab a Move controller, though, and it gets better.

Foosball 2012

More could’ve been done with the game’s presentation, though.  Instead of getting a tournament-style set-up like in, say, Rockstar’s Table Tennis, we’re given just the tables themselves.  And while they are authentic and life-like, having no players or refs around kind of makes it feel second-rate compared to most other efforts.  The menu system is also lacking personality too, with a plain text set-up and so many countries to visit.  So how are we supposed to tell one apart from another?

The sound isn’t much better.  The in-game soundtrack repeats itself too much for its own good, and there’s no option to play your own music in the background, as you would on a jukebox in a bar.  The sound effects are okay, but, honestly, how hard is it to record something from a foosball table and then recreate it into the game?

Foosball 2012

As for extras, Foosball 2012 does have online support, and cross-play, but the matches we had didn’t really bring that much excitement – just fidgety players who shot too much for their own good.  There are unlockable tables and balls, but the diversity simply doesn’t last here.  You’re just playing the same game, but to new wallpaper.

Foosball 2012 isn’t a bad first attempt at bringing the popular bar activity to games, and it does have its moments, particularly with a Move controller.  But with just a bit more effort, it could’ve been a real phenomenon for the PlayStation Network, instead of just average fare suffering from an unimaginative presentation and lacking extras.  Maybe Foosball 2013 will bring something bigger to the picture.  Maybe even a beer-chugging mini-game…?

Above Average

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