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App Friday: Why I can’t stop playing Flick Kick Football

Most weeks, our App Friday post focuses on a bunch of apps, giving a wide choice of handheld entertainment to see you through the weekend. Not this week. If you’re looking to while away a few hours between now and the World Cup final and you own an iPhone, buy Flick Kick Football. In fact, buy it even if you don’t like football.

It’s the latest in a line of iPhone games that sound simple at first, but end up consuming your life. You can set it alongside Doodle Jump, Flight Control, Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja – five games that for a total cost of £2.95, deliver a frankly frightening ‘gameplay hours to the pound’ ratio.

So, Flick Kick Football. It’s a casual free-kick game where you have a football on-screen, and you flick it to kick it at the goal. You can lob it and swerve it with a bit of practice, and you get a bonus for kicking it just inside the posts or just under the crossbar. Cardboard cut-out defenders and goalkeepers present obstacles, and there’s a choice of Arcade or Time Attack modes to play.

It’s genius. The handy stats screen tells me I’ve spent three hours playing it on my iPhone in the last couple of days alone, taking 2,954 kicks in total, hitting the crossbar 250 times, hoofing it into the defenders 426 times, and slotting the ball into the bonus ‘skill zones’ 329 times.

And that doesn’t even count the separate playtime on my iPad: Apple‘s £429 tablet is, in this house at least, currently a device whose main purpose is ‘making Flick Kick Football a bit easier due to the larger screen’ (and it’s true, try it if you don’t believe me).

It’s a sign that iPhone and the new breed of smartphones and app stores are breeding new kinds of hit game, which have more in common with the best Flash games on the web. Except thankfully for developers like PikPok, which makes this one, people pay for them on iPhone. The company is being pretty smart about working its franchise too, having released versions for rugby, American football and Aussie Rules before this.

There are going to be many great ‘gamer’ games on iPhone and its rivals – just this week, excellent first-person shooter Archetype appeared on the App Store, while the likes of EA and Activision are firmly focused on bringing their biggest console hits to iPhone too.

The explosion in cheap ’99-cent’ games (59p to us Brits) is sometimes criticised for clogging up the App Store for these ‘proper’ games. It’s true, there’s a lot of cheap tat on offer. But there are also games like Flick Kick Football, which will suck up millions of minutes of millions of people’s time.

My record in Arcade mode is 55. Get to it.


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