The Sports Head Treatment
I sometimes despair for the mundane football titles out there; they are becoming more and more obsolete these days and are really nothing more than bland filler for flash game websites as they stand in the shadows of well-rounded titles like New Star Soccer. My point is that standard match play won’t really suffice in football games anymore, and titles must at very least offer something a little different to the norm to even stand a chance of being noticed. Sports Heads is a series of games from Mousebreaker that specialise in taking a variety of sports, making their player’s heads massive, and making them as quick-fire as can be. Sports Heads: Football obviously takes the titular sport and gives it this distinctive treatment; addiction ensues.
Origins of Greatness
The game centres around a very simple premise that is almost arcade-like in its simplicity and pace, putting you up against a single opponent on a very small pitch and requiring you to score goals against him by heading or booting the ball into the net. Use the directional arrows to move your player, pushing the upwards arrow to jump (making a distinctive arcade-like sound when doing so) and the spacebar to kick the ball. The twist in the otherwise unremarkable tale is the inclusion of power-ups that appear at random locations and intervals throughout the relatively short matches. Whether you’re playing first-to-7 goals or one-minute-matches, all you need to be concerned about is scoring more goals than your opponent. This is a simplicity that makes the game that much more fun to play, and it doesn’t take long to realise that this game is the origin of the series’ greatness.
Ups and Downs
To add some variety to the gameplay, there are several power-ups to collect during the game, each with different effects on the game. One power up increases the size of your opponent’s goal, for example, and another shrinks it. Each of the power ups have a corresponding power-down as it were, with one freezing your opponent in place, but its opposite fixing you in your current position and rendering you unable to move left or right until a goal is scored. There are also ones that make bombs drop from above, change the ball physics, and even make a streaker appear on the pitch. The power-ups not only make the game a lot more fun to play than a regular football game without interference from tiny goals or head-only streakers, but they also create an air of unpredictability about each match meaning that no two are ever the same.
Big Headed and Proud
You won’t spend hours playing Sports Heads Football, mainly due to the fact that there are only ten players in total to go up against, so the title is relatively short compared to the more in-depth career-based titles and also its sequel, Sports Heads: Football Championship. Its short length is no reflection on the quality of the gameplay, however, and its design and graphics are more polished than most similar titles. The game is definitely worth a moment of your time, particularly because a moment turns to a minute, and before you know it you’ve completed the game and have moved onto the sequel. This game is nothing if it isn’t fiendishly addictive in every way.