Brutal Deluxe is a team name I have cherished since my youth. Just taste the words, “Brutal” and “Deluxe”. It was the standard name for the team when you started a season in Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe for the Amiga in the early 90s. 20 years later one of the best arcade action sports games surfaces for iOS, and Brutal Deluxe is still the standard name. Just as the name remains the same, so does the awesome game-play. In fact it is better on the small screen than it ever was for the Amiga, due to the sheer intensity created by the cramped space (a plus point for once).
The controls in Speedball 2 Evolution are streamlined down to an on screen stick for movement, and tap to perform the different offensive and defensive actions. You can also opt for a perfectly usable tilt movement setup if that is preferred. As the game-play is really hectic, it gets harder to use tilt as you progress to face harder opponents. In offense you tap to pass, and shoot. Keeping your finger pressed when tapping turns the pass into a Hail Mary. For defence the tap turns into sliding tackles, punches and general mayhem.
Speedball 2 is all about winning without compromise… there are no rules! You score points by hitting the goal, the bumpers in the middle of the arena, and stars along the walls. If you manage to injure an opponent then that will give you the same amount of points as if scoring a goal (10). Winning is either done by having the highest score at the final whistle, or by completely obliterating the opposition. This truly affects the strategy involved; if you have a physically weak team you better opt for quick, and efficient goal scoring otherwise the opponent will win by injuring your players. If, on the other hand, you have a brutal set of thugs you can let the opposition lead by 50 points after the first half. Then you focus on taking them out in the second half, and might actually win even though you haven’t scored a single goal.
Beside the hefty season mode there is an online multiplayer option, and that is really the icing on the cake. Playing a friend in Speedball 2 has always been a highlight both, due to the simple to get into game play, and the fact that smashing players is an integral part of the game. It is just as accessible, in terms of game-play, as the greatest soccer game of all time: Sensible Soccer. The game also comes with special challenges where you have to beat almost impossible odds. To keep track of scores, and achievements Speedball 2 Evolution comes with Game Center integration.
The presentation is great with smooth animations, cool effects and all the original aspects intact. All teams are unique, still with that famous Bitmap Brothers look, complete with cool names for all the players. Thumping menu music, and meaty sound effects all converge into a great experience. A built in music player lets you play your own library alongside the sound effects.
No game is flawless, but the few flaws found in Speedball 2 are minor and easy to fix in upcoming updates. The game saves after a match, and if you upgrade your team and start another match it doesn’t remember it if you don’t finish it. There is no multitask functionality, and if you get a call or otherwise quit the game it restarts from the main menu upon relaunch. Paired with a lack of immediate – upon exit – quick-save, this can be somewhat tedious when you have to go through the menus again to the next match. I hope to see these aspects updated, but they are not affecting the final rating of the game.
Speedball 2 Evolution is the best action sports game for iOS. It combines excellent and simple controls, with quick matches. Upgrading your squad, fighting impossible odds and coming out on top is great fun. At times the game is frustratingly hard (impossible) and you try your best to score as many regular goals as possible before your team is wiped out. At other times it is somewhat easy, and you go for the highest score possible or try to crush the opponents before the three minutes are over.
I am extremely happy with how well the game has been treated in its transfer to iOS. The control scheme is simple, but perfect for the touch screen. If you are a fan of the original Speedball and Speedball 2, then you need this, as it is in may opinion better in 2011 than it was back in the day. If you are completely new to the game you owe it to yourself to go brutal deluxe.
Speedball 2 Evolution $3.99
Seller: Tower Studios