Pigskin Pass throws challenging quarterback play your way

Posted: June 25, 2009 in Sports

Lately, I’ve been encouraged by games that focus on specific mechanics of a sport rather than provide a full on sports game. No doubt that I still prefer the full experience of a season or tournament mode where I get the complete experience. But with the recent release of 3D homerun derby Baseball Slugger, I decided to pay particular attention to the latest update of Pigskin Pass, a quarterback challenge that tests your quarterback passing and accuracy skills. And, I have to say that the game provides a good dose of fun balanced with just the right amount of challenge.

As with any quarterback challenge-type game, the objective with Pigskin Pass is to hit your bulls-eye targets, and the more accurate you are, the more points scored. The game has a good feel to it with the crowd noise and epic football soundtrack, and visually, it’s more than adequate for this type of game.

One of the elements I like about Pigskin Pass is the three game modes: Arcade, Time Attack, and Practice. Depending on your mood, you should find one of the modes to your liking.

In Arcade, you get four 2 minute quarters to show your stuff going through 4 downs of play per possession as you move down the field. 4th down incompletions result in time deductions and they also take you back to the 20 yard line to start the move downfield all over again. This is by far my favorite mode because there is a sense of game progression as you march down the field, and it provides a quarter-by-quarter breakdown of points as well completion stats and quarterback rating.

In Time Attack, you get a total of 2 minutes to rack up as many completions and points by hitting targets. This provides similar stats found in Arcade mode, and is pretty entertaining once you’ve mastered the controls.

In both Arcade and Time Attack, targets are live and move according to play calls presented prior to the snap. You can either accept the presented play call or use one of 3 audibles to change the play call at which point you can scroll through a slideshow of plays. Points are scored based on completing passes and bonus points are given for longer passes. What would be ideal is if options for setting additional time so you have longer than 2 minutes to play a quarter or in a time-based mode.

In Practice, play calls are provided and targets do not move and there is no timer or points tallied.

The different game modes are really well done, and each is presented with instructions so you know exactly what’s expected. The one thing I did notice is that the timer in Arcade and Time Attack starts ticking away even as you’re reading the instructions so this needs some tweaking. The other thing to note is you won’t be able to haphazardly throw passes and hope for a completion. The challenge of the game is that you really have to know the play called, how it transpires and lead with your throw in many cases.

The controls used in the game are nicely implemented. The controls touch and accelerometer based and they do take some practice. When you’re starting a play, an arrow appears in front of your quarterback. Using tilt, you can tilt left and right to move the arrow in the direction you wish to pass. In addition, by tilting forward and back, you control the power behind the throw. To throw, you swipe upward with your finger and off the pass goes. Other than swiping to throw, the directions can be somewhat vague in controlling the strength of the throw. After practicing this a bit, the controls become second nature, and they work well. While short passes are easy to complete, bombing the ball downfield for a completion can be quite satisfying.

Another control scheme similar to what I’ve seen in other games using a power meter and touch would be helpful. This would aid in accuracy and would definitely reduce the learning curve. But the more I play with the current controls, the better I get at this game.

In terms of scoring, there is local scoring as well as online scoring so you can see how you compare with others, and based on the numbers I’ve seen, I’ll be on the bench for a little while longer. Beyond that, I can envision an achievement milestone system that for example could track 100 career completions or touchdowns, 50 first downs, and 20 completed bomb passes among others.

If you’re looking for an entertaining game that offers a good degree of challenge and satisfaction along with a good amount of gameplay, Pigskin Pass is one you should consider.

Albie Meter: 4 Stars (recommended for those who love football and even those new to the sport looking for target practice; offers challenging gameplay and future updates will only make this better)

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