I found out a few weeks ago through Twitter (@drewb) that one of my favourite games was available for free on the iPad (and iPhone).
Speedball 2 is an old school classic from the days of the Commodore Amiga so it was a bit nostalgic for me as it conjured up battles against friends and family. It is a futuristic cybersport which is a mixture of rugby and ice hockey played in arenas with power ups, mechanisms to damage your opponents and increase your score.
The graphics I would describe as good and true to those on an old Amiga considering the bird’s eye view of the game and the animation was very smooth.
The game allows you to play tilting the iPad or with a virtual D-pad on screen. I found the tilt controls very cumbersome so I opted for the on-screen D-pad which provided me with more precision. Although after playing the game for nearly three hours I did begin to realise that the iPad’s form factor is not really conducive for playing this type of game for long periods of time. My thumbs felt sore as they were supporting the weight of my iPad 1 and used for controlling the game maybe on the lighter iPad 2 this would be less of an issue. During my game time I also accidently pressed the home button a few times but this allowed me to test the “resume” feature which worked a treat.
One thing that disappointed me was the lack of sound on my iPad 1. I tried all the sound settings and there was also not a Twitter account to ask for assistance from the publisher, Tower Studios. The publisher does have a Facebook page and website. The sound is a really important part of the Speedball experience as I wanted to hear the “Ice cream, Ice cream” sound effect which you may remember when you injured an opponent on the Amiga version.
Speedball 2: Evolution brings 336 individual players, 20 in-field power-ups, 16 classic Speedball teams along with 12 new intergalactic teams, a 10-season career mode, 10 single-player modes, six arenas on four different planets, and 22 achievements in all. It’s an impressive list. The various play modes allow for long-term team-building or just a quick match.
Despite the lack of sound I enjoyed played the game for hours and in no time I managed to build an invincible team winning the Division 1 league title and Intergalactic Cup. You can also purchase credits in-game to boost your squad and buy players but I am not sure why someone would want to do this but you can see that the publisher has opted to do this as the game is itself free.
In summary, a good port of a classic which was let down by the lack of sound and in my opinion one for the casual gamer due to the iPad’s form factor and limited challenge. It is FREE so advice that it should be on your iOS device.
Value for Money 5/5