Now every single inch of me thought this was going to be utter dog poo, RAGE who produced the game had the rights to david beckham for a number of years all and it produced was a filthy football game for the ps1 etc, so I had very low hopes before I even powered up the DS LITE (gba slot) to try it, just goes to show you that the term never judge a book by its cover or in this case pedigree has never been more true, I officially eat humble pie!!!
Upon loading the game your treated to a wonderful and very cute little intro with Mr beckham appearing manga style in the air kicking and heading the ball etc, it looked lovely and I was at that time very taken back with how much it made me giggle, the main menu screen was ultra colourful and the music was very nice indeed, a great start.....
When you begin theres a world map with a club house to view trophies (area completion) and do some training levels to get you used to the controls, thats a great idea so I did those first and it was a good choice because for a game so utterly simple the mechanics can be overlooked unless your clearly told before you go off into the world.
After doing these 3 levels noticed I was scored and ranked on my performance, leading to thoughts of replayability which for me is a serious plus mark for any game, however rather than trying to better my score I went back to the home world map and ventured into the wild.......
The main world map is fantastic, so full of vibrant colour and instantly the word MARIO springs to mind and from the start you know your gonna be treated to something cool, my initial reaction was spot on because this game is flat out class!!! You start very much in a classic forest kind of area and its split into many individual levels which you have to do in order to get to the BOSS fight at the end, complete the area and get a trophy.....Lovely!!!
The game plays very much like a game called soccer kid where the ball sticks to your feet and you run and jump through open sideways scrolling levels kicking the ball around to collect coins, kill enemies, shatter crystals to free animals and then ultimately kick through 4/5 red locks to open the goal at the end of each level. Sounds totally silly and simple and thats exactly what it is, only with immense fun, puzzle solving, some platforming skill and the greatest range of enemies i've seen for years, new zealand story, rainbow islands etc all had some level of influence here, the game makers Genki payed homage to the classics methinks.
On top of the standard platforming stuff theres lovely ideas such as power ups meaning you have a super gold football that means enemies are screwed lol this is called GOLDEN BALLS (footy fans will get that joke) and clearing worlds gets you trophies again like footballers would get in the real world sport and even some of the enemies are completely football based. Footy boots appear and even a character that jumps up and down in front of the GOAL ring to try and stop you clearing the level.
Theres a real simplicity and depth to this title, so much was I impressed that I thought it was a jap game re-packaged with a david beckham sprite but it's really not, it was made this way on purpose, somebody actually made a fantastic game based on football that isnt football but at the same time kinda really is........ Arghhhhhhh It makes my head hurt explaining it.
Basically i'm on area 3 now and its gotten quite hard, the puzzles are ramped up now and the enemies AI has gotten much better, i'm loving this, I will complete it, as I said at the start sometimes retro really makes you smile inside, this is one of those times, even if you hate football this game will convince you it really is the beautiful game
Verdict:- Much like the footballer this game uses as it's lead character it's full of skill, class and has real passion, it keeps going on and on and just when you think you've seen it all it gives you another reason to stand up and clap.
This is the real deal alright and delivers moment after moment of stand out gaming fun, the graphics are so bright and colourful that they simply explode from the screen and the superb blend of platforming and puzzling wil keep you hooked for hours, go get this now!
Second Opinion:- Well this is a surprise! I mean it's David Beckham and he's in a game and that game doesn't suck. Did I power down for a few years and then wake up in an alternate reality. How did this happen?
I guess when you take another game that's actually good and then plaster a massively over-rated footballer over the top you can achieve anything. This game is incredible, I think I need to lay down for a while and process all this...
Transbot Scores:- 9 out of 10