Soccer Physics (Free) is a dumb game and I mean that in the most loving way possible. This is the latest from the creator of Wrestle Jump (Free) and Tank of Tanks (Free), Otto-Ville Ojala. It’s a 2-on-2 soccer game where players have only cursory amounts of control over their players by timing their jumps, with balls, goals, and fields that are randomized for each round. First to score five goals wins. There’s a lot of wacky stuff that happens because the game is so innately chaotic – and that’s what makes it so compelling.
This game is just about perfect for multiplayer, which is good because it supports single-device multiplayer. Because it can be played with just one virtual button on each side of the device (iPhone support is here alongside the iPad), and because the game is so chaotic anyway, it’s perfect for a second person to pick up and just play it, and enjoy all the goofiness that goes on, and likely even do well despite not knowing much about how the game plays.
Oddly, though, the game has actually become one of my favorites to play in singleplayer mode. This isn’t because it’s meant to be a lasting singleplayer game – there’s just the ability to play to five or to play endlessly. But because it’s so silly, because it’s so utterly pointless, because there’s just so much situational randomness that knowing what will happen next is practically impossible, it’s actually fun to just zone out for a long time with this game.
And it’s funny – while I’ve sunk hours into this game, seemingly unknowingly while having newer games to play with more meaningful singleplayer modes, I keep coming back to this one. And its subtleties start to be discovered. That knowing how the players rock back and forth, and timing jumps accordingly, is key. That sometimes it’s worth it to knock the ball out. That just forcing the ball into the opponent’s side of the map, to keep them trying to control the ball, is better than trying to control it yourself. Because that’s just too difficult. The players’ random generation for each goal means that one player might rock faster, and picking up on this is key. But then of course you might get a slippery level with huge goals and the beach ball, and all strategy goes out the window.
The inclusion of Everyplay video replays is perfect: every so often, a moment of genius will happen, like a goalie heading the ball way into the sky, over the other goalie and in, or a perfectly-timed bicycle kick, or a header off a deflection that goes in with roaring speed. These accidental moments of genius are perfect to share – just hit that Replay button really fast, as it goes away after a second of the goal scoring.
There’s the option to use either one or two buttons to play the game: the single button controls both players at once and is best for two players, because the dual button mode, where each player is controlled individually, is just too crowded while on a single device. But I really like playing with two buttons by myself. And perhaps most people will want a more meaningful singleplayer game, but as a dumb way to pass a few minutes? It’s not the worst thing. And seriously, this game is dumb. And I mean that in the most endearing way possible, this is a game that shouldn’t be as much fun as it is but it’s just so wonderful.