A game of two halves.
It's been a while since we've got our hands on a decent penalty shootout game in the vein of Flick Kick Soccer, but this week saw the release of Perfect Kick, Chillingo's take on the most terrifyingly tense aspect of the world's favorite sport.
You're initially placed in the lowest league of the game, and from here you embark on a series of one-on-one matches against random players or friends. It costs game currency to take part in each match, and as you move up the leagues the stakes get higher and higher. The competition in all cases is turn-based, so you'll switch between taking your own shots, and saving that of your opponent's, in a best-of-five scoring setup that determines the winner.
Perfect Kick's shooting system doesn't possess anything like the smooth finesse of Flick Kick Soccer, but it works fairly well. A directional flick of a finger sends the ball off in your chosen direction, while the power of your shot's determined by the speed with which you moved your finger. You can add a little curve to the shot if you wish, although in practice we found this a bit too unreliable to really be worth it.
When the boot's on the other foot, and you have to keep your opponent's shots out, things get remarkable tense. From your perspective behind the goalkeeper, you need to very carefully judge the power and direction of the striker's shot, and time your directional swipe to block the incoming ball with caution. Go too early and the ball will likely bounce over your keeper's body, now on the floor. Leave it too late, and you simply won't reach it in time.
Win a match and you'll receive a handful of currencies that you can use to pick up new items that give you a little more power or finesse when making your shots and saves. That means you can also go to the in-app purchase store and buy yourself a bit of an advantage of course, so those without deep pockets will want to stick to playing with trustworthy friends.
Moreish though all this highly competitive gameplay is, there are a few things that hold Perfect Kick back from greatness. Firstly, the performance of this very simply styled game is very choppy, even on a 4th generation iPad. It's not a game-breaker by any means, just a little annoying. Secondly, network performance is highly variable and can cause delays and choppiness during gameplay. Finally, there's a general air of scrappiness about the game's interface and menu system that lets the whole package down a bit.
It's a game in need of just a little more polish, then, but if you can look passed these problems you'll have plenty of fun with the game. It doesn't quite have the effortless style of the likes of Flick Kick Soccer, but it's enough to satisfy fans of this particular corner of the App Store, not least because we've been neglected for so long.
What's Hot:A very addictive and competitive penalty shootout game that will appeal to any soccer fan.
What's Not:It runs choppily at times, network delays can be frustrating, and we'd have liked a more interesting shooting system.