Table Football is an augmented reality (AR) game available for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS Vita. The game is a turn based approach to table football with exhibition matches and tournaments.
The game provides you with three game modes including: how to play, play now and tournament. The how to play game mode is a tutorial that is meant to bring you up to speed with how to use the AR cards, all of the controls, mechanics and rules of the game, but it unfortunately also includes an incredibly poor design choice thus creating a major flaw in the game being that if you cannot complete the tutorial, you cannot actually progress onto playing the proper game modes and all of the content that the game has to offer remains locked until you have overcome those frustrating touch screen controls. The play now mode is essentially an exhibition match, which you can play solo against another A.I controlled team or compete in ad-hoc multiplayer. The tournament mode consists of a league table that sees you competing against a series of A.I. controlled teams in your attempt for your team to climb the league tables to the very top. The A.I. controlled teams progressively increase in difficulty as each of the teams have statistical analysis based upon a three star ratings system from zero through three on the team selection menu. There are a number of international teams to choose from including: Argentina, Brazil, England, Italy, Japan and more. Outside of the game modes; there are customisation options consisting of team kit colours and ball colours. A considerable amount of customisation options, teams, game modes and general content are contained within the Match Day game pack available for download on the PlayStation Store for £0.79.
I found the controls in Table Football to be a major letdown and a huge flaw to my experience with the game. The controls are entirely revolving around the touch screen without any option to use the face buttons, analogue sticks, L and R or even the directional pad. This just seems to be an exercise on how not to make a touch screen based game work properly, as this especially frustrated me to the point that I could not even complete the tutorial. There really is only so many times that someone can put up without making any progress and having the same message, “Oops! Try again!” pop up without there seeming to be a problem with what you are doing and without any explanation as to the point of what you are doing wrong. This results in you remaining on the same section of the tutorial endlessly; until you get lucky in which case it really is only a case of how soon before it happens again, as it did with me. This is a tutorial that is supposed to teach you how to play the game and although it does a good job of explaining the purposes of each of the six AR cards; it doesn’t do a good job of explaining the controls. This is certainly not a problem with me not having played touch screen games before, because I have played some touch screen based games on the Vita and not had a problem, such as the touch screen quick time events in Uncharted: Golden Abyss and having done my research I have found other reviews and people in general that have experienced exactly the same problems and frustrations with the controls during the tutorial and across the game in general.
Table Football requires six AR cards to be simultaneously positioned directly underneath the Vita. The AR cards can be located anywhere you want them to be enabling you to position the football pitch outside in your front garden or in your living room with the only restrictions being that the AR cards have to be placed on a flat surface and they have to be used in a well lit environment. I found the syncing process of the AR cards to be on par with my experience of Table Ice Hockey as the AR cards synced rather quickly and created the objects they were meant to and I did not find the light to be as much of a factor as some of the other AR games. Cards 1, 2 and 3 are used to create the football pitch and can be moved further away from each other to increase the length of the pitch, while cards 4 and 5 are stands for the fans to be seated or standing in during the game and card 6 creates the score board. That is all good until you sit back in your chair only to have a “Out of range” message pop up at you, so you have to remain at a reasonable distance away from the AR cards that is not too far away from them.
The graphics are simplistic and as it is a turn based game meaning the animations are few and far between, so don’t make the mistake of expecting a realistic representation of football or any realistic football physics or animations from the game. The audio is of a good standard and consists of upbeat dance music, along with the roar of the crowd.
There is no trophy list, which removes some of the additional replayability value of Table Football in comparison to the range of AR games that cost £1.59 each, such as PulzAR, Table Ice Hockey, Table Mini Golf and Table Top Tanks.
As is also the case with Table Ice Hockey and Table Top Tanks; the online multiplayer is limited to ad-hoc only, which is a disappointment as if you don’t own two PlayStation Vita consoles or know someone else that lives nearby who owns a Vita, then you may find it difficult to even get into a multiplayer game, due to the limited range of one hundred feet or less between your Vita and the opponents’ Vita. Therefore, I have never actually played the ad-hoc multiplayer, which means I am unable to comment upon the performance of the game in this mode. However, as this is a turn based game there is a turn based multiplayer mode called pass around, which provides pass the Vita multiplayer.
If you dislike the controls as much as I do, then the replayability is drastically reduced from the occasional play to absolutely zero. The poor controls overpowered everything else to the point of total frustration and boredom, so unless that is your idea of entertainment, then I would not advise bothering with Table Football.
Overall, never would I have thought that I would have such an unenjoyable experience with a free game, but in the time that it took me to review this, I just wanted it to be all over! Due to the broken controls I found the most entertaining part of this game was the intro sequence with the players and the referee in the tunnel and how they enter onto the pitch. There are many redeeming features within this game, such as the effective syncing of the AR cards, the amount of teams, exhibition and tournament game modes and the audio, but it is all overpowered purely because of the broken touch screen controls. If only they would have patched or released Table Football to include options of using the various alternative control schemes that the Vita has to offer, then this may have been the turn based football equivalent of Table Ice Hockey, but instead it is a broken mess that lacks any fun factor or reason to continue playing. If you can somehow get past the frustrating controls, then there is a good free game to be downloaded here, but if you can’t get the better of those controls, then you won’t make it past the tutorial to play the actual game.
At A Glance
- Title: Table Football
- Publisher: Four Door Lemon (XDev Studio Europe)
- System: PS Vita
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: No
- Cross Play: No
- Online Multiplayer: Ad-Hoc only
- Memory Card Space Needed: 299Mb