I’ll let you all in on a little secret here, I’m not really a big fan of American Football, or any sort of mainstream televised sport for that matter. The stop-start pacing of the game and the amount of thought which goes behind every play strikes me as tedious, especially when playing the NFL and Madden video games for the home consoles.
Earlier this year, British-based developer, NaturalMotion released an American Football title named Backbreaker for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Though it offered solid gameplay with a good measure of depth, Backbreaker was knocked for its lack of licensed teams and stadiums, something which would instantly put off die-hard fans of the sport.
For me the highlight of the game was a mode known as Tackle Alley in which gamers assume the role of a single player as he jukes, spins and dashes through a barrage of obstacles to reach the touchline.
I mustn’t have been the only one who thought Tackle Alley was fantastic. NaturalMotion took the mode and crafted it into its own complete game for the iPhone back in 2009, which must have also gone down well, warranting a sequel, Backbreaker 2: Vegeance.
Players can either choose to play Tackle Alley or the new Vengeance mode. This game-type offers a role reversal, forcing the player to hunt down the carrier in set amount of time whilst trying to avoid an array of different obstacles. As well as being able to sidestep (juke) or spin out of the way of opponents, Backbreaker 2 also allows you to leap over diving players and truck through high hitters.
Each of these commands are assigned to buttons on the game screen, creating an effective method of play with minimal finger obstruction. In total there are twenty challenges which steadily ramp in difficulty, the last few being guilty of mild cheating, introducing flexible boundaries which have a knack of catching you out at the last second.
Vegeance is a good-looking game, mainly thanks to the brutal animations which were praised in the console counterpart. Again, there are no licensed teams or stadiums here, but it matters very little, especially as Backbreaker allows you to create your own player with a variety of options. It’s also worth taking note that the game offers 32 achievements, tracked both in-game and via Apple’s Game Center.
- Plenty of replay value
- Animations bring the action to life
- Addictive, rewarding gameplay
- Simple and efficient controls
- Later stages can be incredibly tough
- Lacking in the audio department
In conclusion, Backbreaker 2 caters for both casual and hardcore fans of American Football. The gameplay is extremely simple, yet addictive, and there is plenty of replay value to be had, even after reaching the endgame.