Footy! review

Footy! is a Facebook-based soccer game from Babuki. The game is over two years old, but has been showing some strong growth recently — yesterday, it was the No. 15 top gainer by monthly active users, with an increase of 50,000 MAU in the past week.

Footy! casts players in the role of a small soccer team having a kickabout in the park. A confident goalkeeper shows up and challenges the team to score a goal on him — this challenge forms the basis of the game’s initial tutorial. Once the player has successfully scored on the confident goalie (who, as it happens, is not as good as his attitude suggests) the game starts proper.

Footy! is split into several distinct components. Initially, the player is presented with their home ground, at which they are able to build various facilities if they have leveled up enough and have enough money on hand. Most items provide a bonus to two important stats — Match Income, which provides the player with in-game currency for every game they play, and Win Bonus, which provides additional money if the player successfully wins a match. Some items are level-locked; some are friend-gated; others still require the player to win “pennants” by competing against their Facebook friends.

The player initially only has a limited amount of space in which to build. As they progress through the levels, however, they earn the ability to purchase bigger grounds — this also provides a nice visual representation of their achievements in the game. Low-level players will still be kicking the ball around in their local park; higher-level players will have more elaborate training grounds and stadia.

When the time comes to compete in a match, players have two options — compete against a random opponent or a friend. In the former case, players earn increasingly-large rewards the more matches they win in succession; in the latter, they compete for pennants, which are used to construct certain facilities. Both types of match are asynchronous in nature — there does not appear to be the facility to play a “live” match at this time.

Playing the match itself is entirely mouse-controlled. Clicking on the pitch causes the active player to run in that direction; clicking on a member of one’s own team passes the ball (assuming it is in the player’s possession); clicking on an opposing team member tackles them. Running near to the opponent’s goal area brings up a power bar; clicking and holding shoots the ball with the relevant amount of power towards wherever the player clicked. No real attempt has been made to make Footy! an accurate simulation of professional soccer — there is no implementation of complex rules such as offside, and while tackles usually seem to leave the opposing players flattened on the floor, dazed, there does not appear to be any “foul” mechanic. While this may frustrate soccer purists, it does make the game highly accessible to both newcomers and those who do not normally enjoy soccer games.

The game monetizes primarily through its hard currency of Tokens. These have three main uses: bypassing quest objectives, restoring energy (required to take part in matches) and purchasing premium items. Tokens do not allow players to access level-locked items early, however — they must still actually progress through the game to earn access to them.

Footy! is a solid if simple game that still works well. Quite why it has been re-emerging recently isn’t exactly clear right now, as the game doesn’t appear to have been updated for some time, judging by the broken links on the game canvas and the age of the posts on the game’s GetSatisfaction page. The game also carries a number of options marked as “Coming Soon!” — whether or not players will ever see these proposed features is, at this time, anyone’s guess. The game’s App Page is still active, however, and earlier this week the developers noted that a “major update” will be released “very soon.” Exactly what this “major update” includes hasn’t been revealed, but anticipation for it may have accounted for the recent jump in user figures.