- Platform: Windows, Macintosh
- ESRB Rating: Everyone
- Media: CD-ROM
- Item Quantity: 1
Starting with a season game, the interface first lets you choose which of the 31 football teams will be in the season (you are allowed to choose about 25 of them), and which team you wish to play as your own. Each division also has a CUSTOM team that you can choose. You can customize this team's name and jersey colors. The team names are limited to the selections they give you, but this is for the purposes of the in-game announcers.
Then comes the player selections, which gives you a very wide variety. There are all sorts of players to choose from, from African Americans, Asians, Latinos, and many more. There is also a player in a wheelchair to choose from! The political correctness of this game is deep, which is a good thing for children. There are also a group of kids based on real NFL players, such as Ricky Williams, Brett Favre, Drew Bledsoe, and Junior Seau. The only gripe I have is the low number of these NFL players, and the fact that they only had current players and none of the recent greats like Dan Marino. This is a small gripe that is countered by the ability to create your own player. Although it is a custom player, you must choose one of the default nicknames -- because the announcers will use the nicknames during the game. Choosing the players is a lot of fun and has some strategy. For instance, one of the players plays better if you have pink uniforms, and another plays better if you also choose her twin sister for your team. Each player has rankings based on Passing, Running, Catching, Kicking, and Defense.
The game itself is very simple. Choose a play, click to hike the ball, and hold the mouse down in the direction you want to run, or click past the line of scrimmage to pass to a receiver. You can choose from 12 plays in your playbook. You can customize your playbook from existing plays, or make your own play. There is also the addition of special magic plays that are for 1 use only, and are awarded when your team does certain things (like run a lot of yards). An example is the leapfrog play. Your QB hands off to the RB, who then leaps over all the players for an instant 5 yards (great for goal line plays). Supersonic will cause a loud boom that will stun all opposing players for a few seconds for a free run. There are defensive special plays too. Overall the plays are varied enough to keep the play calling interesting, and the special plays are a lot of fun. You can also call a timeout to substitute your tired players with fresh players on the bench.
Scoring a touchdown is very interesting because when a player scores, all the players on the field clap their hands and cheer (even the opposing team). The scorer then does a custom victory dance. This is a very kid-friendly design that the developers chose.
There are 3 difficulty settings to be played, with lots of toggle switches. For example, you can turn off special plays, or turn on player fatigue.
The main gripe I have is that you cannot re-draft players between seasons, without starting a brand new team. But this is a minor concern since the game itself is a lot of fun.
The easy interface is simple yet effective, and the fun factor is very high. I recommend this game to any football fan out there, and parents who are looking for a fun and safe game for their children to play.
The game loads automatically when inserted into the CD-ROM drive. The version I purchased did not come with instructions, but I found that I didn't need them. The game is set up in an easy to understand format, that is extremely user friendly. The options allow the user to change the settings on the game, and includes an option to switch from mouse to gamepad. However, I kept the setting on mouse, and found that it was extremely easy to use in that mode. The game begins in the "Clubhouse" and allows a "menu" of options that are depicted with corresponding pictures. To draft a team, you click on the picture of a clipboard. To check out the playing fields, you click on a pair of binoculars. To begin, you click "play football." You can choose between single games, playoff games, and full season.
The gameplay is extremely easy. The point and click ease of your mouse makes the controls very simple. After picking a team, you can begin playing a season against division rivals. Each game rotates between a variety of fields and weather conditions (which can be turned off in the settings). The games consists of four quarters, which last one minute each. You take turns running the offense and defense. The objective, like real football, is to score points, while preventing your opponent from scoring more. For more advanced players, you can custom design your own plays, and add them to your playbook. When you are on offense, you are able to pick a play from the playbook that you think will outwit your opponents defense. The quarterback gets the ball by clicking the mouse. Then the cursor is moved to the place you want to throw the ball, and an additional click makes the quarterback throw. It is a good idea to throw to an open receiver, because there are plenty of interceptions in this game.
I was surprised at how good the graphics on this game are. They are not advanced like the graphics you see on the adult sports games, but they have a great deal of detail. The players on the bench fidget and play during team selection, and the gameplay moves smoothly. The cartoon feel of the game makes it feel like you are creating your own cartoon version of a football game. The characters are interesting and have a wide range of characteristics. You even have an option of creating your own player, where you choose the hair style, head style, color, and physical abilities. When you are actually playing the game, the graphics aren't phenomenal, but they are way better than the magnetic football game that I had when I was a kid.
My son is too young to play this game, and my daughter isn't very interested in sports. So, I have had this game all to myself. I like it. My son enjoys watching the game being played, but he isn't old enough yet to understand how to operate it (he is only two). My son loves sports, and I think he will probably log a few hours on this game as soon as he is old enough to play it (if I haven't worn it out first). The gameplay is interesting and held MY attention for several hours of play. After a while, I grew a little tired, because the game was too easy. Easy is good, though, for this age range.
I would recommend this game for children in the age range listed. I think older children would enjoy the game, as well. However, they will probably grow bored of the game after a while, because it is fairly easy to beat the computer.