Fluid Football is a new iOS release from Gray Cooper Media, Chromativity Ltd (formerly Lighning Fish) and AppyNation. The game is available now as a free download with optional in-app purchases for additional levels, in-game currency and removal of advertising.
Fluid Football is ostensibly a soccer game, but in practice it is more of a line-drawing puzzle game somewhat akin to titles such as Flight Control. The player is presented with a series of soccer setpieces and is tasked with completing various objectives as quickly as possible. One of the tasks is usually “score a goal,” but others may vary from “score within the penalty area” to “score with 5 or more passes.” Players must follow the rules of soccer while attempting to complete the rules of the challenge — the ball must not go out of play, it must not be intercepted by another player and the offside rule, whereby an attacking player with the ball may not be further up the pitch all of the defending team members, must be adhered to.
The game is controlled entirely by tapping and dragging on the screen. Drawing a line from a player causes them to move into position; tapping and holding a player with the ball causes them to kick the ball into space or pass to another player; tapping an on-screen “shoot” button preps the next player to receive the ball to make an attempt on goal. When the time comes to shoot, play switches to a first-person perspective, and the player must use swipe controls to curve the ball around any defending players and the goalkeeper in order to score. If they are successful, the level is completed; if they fail, they are given the opportunity to either try the shot again or start the level anew if their setup was poor.
If the player is struggling to complete a level, in-game currency may be used to purchase hints or solutions. Coins are earned through completing the requirements for various achievements or may also be acquired via in-app purchase. Several level packs are also available for in-app purchase — the base free package includes 48 levels, but three $0.99 packs unlock access to a considerable amount of extra content each. Alternatively, the player may purchase all three packs for $1.99, saving them a little bit of money if they’re sure they would like to commit to the whole game.
Fluid Football is a fun game, and not just for soccer fans. The simple line-drawing gameplay means that the controls are straightforward and accessible for players of all ability levels. Casual players will appreciate the light strategic puzzle-solving gameplay, while more hardcore soccer fans will appreciate the authentic tactical situations that the game’s various challenges are based on. Those who enjoy British soccer coverage will also be delighted with the involvement of expert commentators Andy Gray and Richard Keys, who regularly offer thoughts on the player’s performance — though naturally those from outside the United Kingdom may be unfamiliar.
Ultimately, Fluid Football is a well-designed mobile game that has a good understanding of what players want from a free game. There’s a considerable amount of content on offer that doesn’t require any in-app purchasing, and those who particularly enjoy the experience can choose to support the game by buying the additional level packs. A single level takes less than a minute to complete, making it an ideal game to play during moments of downtime, but the later levels get fiendish enough to tax even the most dedicated tactical brains. In short, it’s a good balance between accessibility for casual players and depth for the more committed, hardcore fans.
Fluid Football is not listed on our tracking service AppData at the time of writing. Check back shortly to follow its progress through the App Store charts.