The Flick Kick series of games are some of our favorite mobile sports titles, so we're always curious to find out more when we see a new one crop up on the App Store. In this Legends version of the soccer series, you're taking on a team of 70s football superstars - complete with questionable haircuts - on the march to league domination. Along the way, you'll have to not only execute perfect passes on the pitch, but also manage your team and acquire new players to keep the team on top form.
The developers have done a remarkable job of evolving the core gameplay of the previous Flick Kick soccer games into a more fluid experience that's built around attacking set pieces in motion. The other side will run at you too, and you'll have to make perfect flicks to intercept the ball. The game has a wonderful cel-shaded style to it as well, and while the distinctly regional humor might sail over the heads of anyone outside Britain, it's a lovely tongue-in-cheek parody of commentators and the ill-advised haircuts of yesteryear. While the management side of the game is very light, it's there to be tinkered with at least.
Apart from the match clock running far too fast, and tackling being so easy that we never conceded a single goal during our review, the gameplay's very solid overall. What really cripples the game though is the free-to play-model underpinning it. An energy meter limits the amount of time you can play, ads pop up on the screen (including those truly hateful ones with the tiny microscopic close button), new players are purchased in packs that can be bought with game cash or real money, and so on. It's an ugly, ugly system that ultimately kills your enthusiasm dead.
Largely excellent gameplay hamstrung by a over-enthusiastic, grabby business model? Nothing new about that, but when the gameplay, the visuals, the styling and everything else has been so lovingly cared for, it's all a bit of a tragedy really. Do give it a go, but unless we get a premium version of the game in the months ahead, do be prepared for long-term disappointment.