While RPS’s understanding of foot-to-ball can be best summarised by this cartoon, we do have a slightly better grasp of foosball. First of all because it’s so much more fun to say. And secondly because all the little men have been brutally wedged onto a metal pole, like a giant’s scrawny kebab, and are then spun around and around, forced to hit the ball with their suspended heads. And yes, spinning is totally allowed. This is somewhat recreated in a new indie demo of Foosball Maniac from Hungarian team, Cybertron BT.
I’m not sure the word “maniac” has ever been more inappropriately applied. Foosball Maniac is a sedate and sensible recreation of the table-top ball-bashing, the demo offering you games against the easiest two players. It’s nicely realised, the poles automatically assigning themselves to your mouse as the ball comes near, and then instinctively controlled, either by swishing the mouse about to kick, or hitting a mouse button to punt the ball. But that’s it. It’s a super-simple game, decent physics, minimalist controls, but perhaps lacking in alien attacks and a laser-dicso foos-to-ball mode. Ooh, you know what they should do? A setting where the action is obscured by a barely translucent sheet of scratched, cracked perspex, for ultimate realism. Oh! And an ability to grab the stub of your opponent’s pole so when he tries to move it he can’t! Or bash it so it stabs him in the groin. Seriously, I should be doing R&D for these things.
The demo‘s second character gives you a half-decent game, by which I mean half-bad too. His defence isn’t impressive. If you want a better challenge, you’ll have to fork out the ten bucks for the full version.