Created by Cloak and Dagger Games and ported to the Playstation platform by Ratalaika, Football Game is a short narrative adventure that’s out now. It’s a cross-buy purchase, meaning you get both the PS4 and Vita versions.
Inspired by the works of David Lynch, the adventure story Football Game casts you as Tommy, a high school football hero in the eighties who’s not currently on the team. Waking up, he’s planning to meet his girlfriend at tonight’s game, but when he finally gets ready he had trouble finding her. With only about an hour of gameplay I won’t go into too much detail here, but a series of flashbacks tell us there’s more to this story than meets the eye.
Football Game plays out much like the classic adventure games of old, with a simple control system to help interact with objects and the environment, talk to people and manage your inventory. Not everything in the environment can be interacted with, so it’s fairly easy to stay on track – some options only opening up after you perform a certain action or talk to someone.
Certainly an indie title, the game’s visuals are relatively simple and the soundtrack almost non-existent in parts. There are no voice-overs, and music and sound effects are only really used for dramatic effect. Having played adventure games like Broken Age or the remasters of Full Throttle and Day of the Tentacle on the Vita, Football Game feels a little bare even if it’s somewhat intentional. On the other hand, this is also a game that sells for just 2 dollars/euros on Steam, so perhaps we should be a bit more forgiving.
I’ve already mentioned this is a short game, but despite the runtime of only about an hour there’s also quite a bit of padding from replies and actions taking a second to start (or become skippable) – Football game’s a slow-paced tale that suddenly picks up in the last ten minutes or so. It’s a tad light on gameplay as a result, but interesting enough from a storytelling perspective.
As with most Ratalaika games you can earn another platinum trophy without spending too much time, but be warned that this time some of these can actually be missed and you might have to play through the game a second time if you’re not careful. Luckily this isn’t too bad of an option either, especially considering the ending of the game.
If you were hoping for the next great adventure game on the Vita, this isn’t it. It’s an interesting short story that’s a nice diversion, but doesn’t compare to the likes of the classic Lucasarts games or indie greats like the Blackwell series by Wadjet Eye. Let’s hope Ratalaika eventually ports those to the Vita! Until then, this is worth grabbing if you’re a fan of Lynch-like storytelling.