Backbreaker 2: Vengeance
You may feel a bit woozy after playing this mildly enjoyable but uninspired football game.
We have plenty of love for the original Backbreaker, an iPhone game that challenged players to run like mad across a football field and score touchdowns without being tackled. It wasn't exactly the deepest of Apps, but the sharp graphics, rag doll physics and tilt controls made it a guilty pleasure. Backbreaker 2: Vengeance expands on this idea with the ability to hurdle defenders and plow through them. You can even turn the tables and tackle the ball carrier, but is this sequel worth $2.99? Eh.
The biggest issue you'll face while playing this game is boredom, which sets in quickly. Developer NaturalMotion Games evolved the successful formula, but not enough. Despite having the ability to jump and truck opponents, the basic concept not only remains the same, but also significantly overpowers the enhancements, to the point that the original Backbreaker and this one blend together. Whether you can leap over someone or not, it's still the same old thing. Get to the end zone at all costs.
In addition, this sequel is embarrassingly sloppy. Players clip through objects, so don't be surprised if someone's head passes halfway through a pole, or his legs disappear inside an obstacle. It looks terrible.
On top of that, learning how to jump over things takes some getting used to. Since the camera sits behind your football player, it's tough gauging how close he is to an object, which often results in premature leaps that result in failure, even when it seems like you nailed it. And for whatever reason, you cannot use turbo and jump at the same time. That makes no sense.
We also had problems with turning around after missing tackles, especially since the developers don't give us the whole field to work with. Instead, they section it off with red lines that signify out of bounds. Touch one even the slightest bit, and you lose a turn.
Finally, there are too many buttons on the screen. On the iPad, this is a bit easier to work with, despite the game looking worse (there is no dedicated iPad version, so you'll need to magnify the action 2X). With the iPhone, it's too easy to lose track of your finger and juke when you wanted to jump. It's annoying.
Now to be fair, being able to tackle is a cool addition. We had some fun running through a guy and watching the entertaining animations that ensued. The developers also added more stadiums and teams, as well as tons of challenges to complete, so if anything, you get a good deal for the money.
By now, though, NaturalMotion should have considered quarterback drills or even full football games to really expand the franchise. This lack of creativity ultimate makes Backbreaker 2: Vengeance feel more like Backbreaker 1.5 than a true sequel. Of course, if you never experienced the original, this may keep you entertained, at least for a little while.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Requires iOS 2.2.1 or later.
What's Hot: Tons of challenges to complete, plenty of achievements to unlock, customizing players, tackling fools, detailed stadiums.
What's Not: Excessive clipping, the button-cluttered screen, timing those jumps.