Remember Pigskin 621 A.D.? No? What about by its Genesis port, Jerry Glanville's Pigskin Footbrawl? Well, it was one of my childhood favorites, and if I don't mention it now I feel like I won't ever get to. Maybe that's one reason I love Footbrawl Quest; I feel like it is upholding the Footbrawl name. A true successor to 1992's "arcade sports simulation game of the year."
Okay, so maybe that's a bit of a stretch, but the fact still remains that Footbrawl Quest is a wonderful SRPG. The strategy elements are solid, but the football element is perhaps the most engaging. Unlike normal turn-based games of this nature, the goal isn't to kill everyone, it's to score a touchdown.
One unit starts with the football which, for the super uninitiated, must be brought across the enemy's endzone in order to score a touchdown and win. If that unit gets tackled (attacked), they will fumble the ball for anyone to pick up.
Let me just take this moment to express my love for the fumbling in this game. Although it's much slower paced than regular American football, the fumble still carries with it a feeling of intensity and suspense as if it were during the biggest game of the year. This is thanks to the wonderful randomness of where the football will land after a fumble, true to real fumbles and football physics.
The carrying of the football makes for some really interesting moments while playing. You can pass the ball to another unit, but you better be sure that they are safe from fumbles for at least a turn. You can have the bigger, bulkier units carry the football, but chances are you'll want them on the front lines of each encounter, increasing the chances of a fumble. You can give it to the lighter, quicker units, but if they get hit even once you can bet they'll fumble it real quick. The added layer of strategy from a single gameplay element is absolutely beautiful.
There are also treasure chests scattered throughout the random maps, containing some awesome powerups. Multiplayer is included, but you need to have the other player's IP address, so you'll need to plan ahead.
Oh, and here are some random tips to help you out:
- Pass the ball. Seriously, micromanaging the ball is crucial in this game.
- You can, and should, drop items for another unit to pick up. Send your fast dudes out to get the chests and then drop the damage/defense items for the big guys to pick up.
- Deal with everything on screen before you open a chest. Trust me.
- Sometimes, the best way into the end zone isn't from straight on.
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