I do enjoy a good football game that isn’t an EA Sports FIFA game because that series has been on a downward trend for many years. And whilst it’s unlikely to have a major rival for a similar game outside of eFootball from Konami, you may be surprised at just how many football games there are. One such game that has just been released in Early Access is Tiny Football by Martyn Bissett and Microprose.
Since football fever is so high at the moment with the 2022 FIFA World Cup taking place as we speak, I thought what better time to take a look at a new football game than now? So let’s see if good things do in fact come in small packages by taking a look at just what Tiny Football has to offer.
Straight away from the trailers and even just booting the game up, Tiny Football reminded me of the style of a football game I used to play on my original GameBoy, albeit with brighter colours. It has a really nostalgic feel to it with its pixelated graphics that make it almost impossible to recognise who each player on the pitch is. This isn’t made any easier by team and player names being different from their actual counterparts, but that’s obviously a licensing issue again it does bring back fond memories of playing PES where you’d be playing as Merseyside Red (Liverpool) vs Manchester Blue (Manchester City).
So whilst some may find issues with this, I actually welcomed the lack of official names because it brought back such fond memories of a time when football games were good and not overly complicated. But the way a game looks is one thing, the way it plays is what is really important.
The gameplay is incredibly simple, whether you choose to play Tiny Football on a keyboard or with a controller. You use the d-pad or arrow keys to run and have one button to kick the ball. That’s one button to shoot and pass, which means if you’re in the wrong part of the pitch, don’t expect to be taking shots from the halfway line or trying to whip a ball into the box, because it’ll likely do the opposite of what you want.
Fortunately, aiming and passing are pretty easy, just hold down your kick button to power up whatever it is you doing and run in the direction of the player you want to pass to. Release and the ball should land at their feet unless you over/under-hit it.
The simplicity of Tiny Football’s gameplay is part of what gives it its charm, but it can be frustrating too. Especially when it comes to tackling which, you guessed it, uses the same single button. And you can only slide in. If your timing is as bad as mine, you’ll be racking up cards left (back), right (back) and centre (mid).
My only real issue became my lack of scoring goals because for the love of me I’m terrible at football games and Tiny Football is no different. But on the few occasions, I did manage to not concede, the game’s usually go to penalties (except during the season mode). And whilst you may think penalties should be easy when your player runs up to take one then runs off the pitch and you have no idea what is going on (clearly a bug) you end up missing the spot kick that costs you the game.
Value for money
As it currently stands, the game is available on Steam for £10.99. It does offer a fun nostalgic experience, and there is the ability to play against the computer or against friends, which does make the game more fun. There are also plenty of game modes too from friendly quickplay games to being able to play out a full season. However, besides setting your lineup and formation, the game offers a little more depth, and there are a couple of bugs in there as well which is expected with early-access titles.
I’d therefore have to say that £10.99 for what you get right now feels a little steep, and somewhere in the £5.99 to £6.99 price range would be more adequate for what is on offer. But if you are into your football games and long for the good old days when games weren’t about all this trickery and then spending five minutes performing a celebration, you’ll likely enjoy this game that takes you on a trip down memory lane.
Overall thoughts on Tiny Football
I wouldn’t quite say Tiny Football proves that good things do come in small packages, but it does have big potential. It’s a fun little game that doesn’t take itself too seriously and takes us back to the days in which football games felt like they were more about having fun than showing off. There is some work to be done, but we enjoyed our time checking this one out and can’t wait to see what more is to come from this nostalgic little game.
Tiny Football is developed by Martyn Bissett and published by Microprose. It is available to play now in Early Access on Steam for £10.99. Don’t forget to check out more early access previews by clicking here.