Backbreaker 2 on the iPhone is a cracking game and you should buy it. I’ve got that out of the way first because it’s currently only 59p on the app store and I’d feel bad for wasting your time that could be spent downloading this handful of happiness. So go, now! Go, go, go!
Now… Either you’ve already bought it and you’re just interested in what I have to say or you are too tight to part with 59p and need further convincing…. Well let me convince you, sir.
Backbreaker 2 takes the sport of football and boils it down to the most exciting parts; runnin’ and tacklin’. There are no teams here, it’s every man for himself, and all the more engrossing for it. The game is split into two modes, Tackle Alley and Vengeance.
Now, Tackle Alley may sound like a euphemism for Old Compton Street in Soho but it’s actually the aforementioned “runnin” part of the game where you control the ball-holder, whose only purpose in life is to get to the end of the field and score himself a touchdown. You must dodge opponents and objects as you make your way up the field and are awarded points for doing so in the quickest and flashiest way possible. For example, sprinting as fast as you can and avoiding defenders will award you with a time bonus but unless you hit the specified coloured zones you will not score as highly. You also get “style” points for getting close to defenders and spinning or juking out of their way at the very last moment, which also provides the games most exhilarating and fun moments. There are also a couple of context specific moves for red and yellow coloured players, which you can jump over and “truck” through, respectively. Once you have made it past the last defender the option to showboat will appear, which you can do right up until the last minute, earning you mega-points, provided you don’t get pummelled to the ground before that, of course.
In Vengeance mode you are, once again, the only player on your team and you must take down the ball carrier, racking up points as you go. It doesn’t really play too differently from Tackle Alley, you still must dodge players who are blocking your target and you still earn points for running through specific zones. The only difference here is that you get to dish out the bone-crunching tackles.
As you progress through the levels the challenges get harder with the addition of obstacles that you must leap over and duck under, which moves you further away from the sport of football and closer to a whacky Japanese game show… Not that that’s a bad thing. As you progress you unlock different teams, which adds to the customisation options so you can change your players uniform as well as his name and squad number.
The games strength lies in its intuitive controls. You tilt your iPhone forward to run and steer him by tilting left and right. The commands to sprint, tackle, spin and juke are all on the screen and in an easy-to-learn layout. The controls only let me down a few times where I felt the player didn’t react quick enough because of the lag between pressing the buttons and the player performing the selected action. Other than this minor quibble I enjoyed every minute with this game. The gameplay is amazing for an iPhone game because you really get a sense of speed when running down the field and the hefty tackles feel so satisfying, even more so than when I’ve played NFL games on a regular console.
I’ve played the game for a good 3 hours now and have yet to complete all the challenges, so there’s definitely enough game here for the asking price. The game features integrated Game Center scoreboards so you can instantly see where you place in leaderboards globally, locally and between your friends, which definitely adds longevity.
Overall I’d say it’s a pretty neat little package and perfect for a quick blast on the go.