Dino Dini’s Kick Off Revival is an attempt to bring back the beloved classic arcade football game from the Amiga era of gaming. The idea is simple; to recreate the game of football, but add a more arcade spin on the gameplay. To that end, Dino Dini’s Kick Off Revival is hit and miss. The rules of football are here as you’d expect, and you’ll definitely have twenty-two guys chase a ball around the pitch attempting to kick said ball into the opponents goal – but where it falls apart is in the attempt to introduce gameplay that differs from the current football simulators the world over.
First up on the list of issues with gameplay are the controls. In a strange decision, the game opts to only utilise the left analogue stick and the X button. Whilst the idea of keeping things simple by limiting the number of controls to learn sounds good on paper, the reality is that performing the actions you want can be a mess and you’re at the mercy of the game interpreting your intent incorrectly far too often.
Take for example switching between normal dribbling and a more controlled dribble. In order to slow down you need to hold the X button whilst moving with the ball, but the X button also kicks the ball in whatever direction you’re aiming. See the problem? So many times I wanted to slow down and gain a measure of control, only to pelt the ball down the other end of the pitch. It’s a strange decision that feels like it could have been resolved by just using an extra button or two.
Alas the control issues don’t stop there, as trying to perform fundamental actions like dribbling with the ball is just a chore. Unless you’re attempting the slow dribble, the ball just pings off of players rather than sticking closer to the player in a more controlled manner. Plus, in order to alter direction you have to slightly adjust the analogue stick at the moment of contact – which is something requires an absurd amount of practice to pull off anywhere near consistently. This game is far from pick up and play, and that’s the crux of what is wrong – as if you want to offer an ‘arcade’ football game, then the barrier to entry needs to be considerably lower than what is on offer here.
Moving on from the gameplay issues, the game offers various modes for you to try out. There’s a cup mode where you can play through a whole tournament, taking your team from the group stages through to cup final glory. The game defaults to European teams, but fear not – as you’re free to choose from other continents as well. You’ll also be able to play one-off matches, choosing both teams and diving straight into a game. There are no customisation options in the one-off matches however, so this is just a quick play mode for when you have a few minutes to kill.
Most important is the practice mode – and credit where credit is due, the game offers a robust tutorial. It runs through the various fundamentals, and provides a quick challenge for the player to try. If you want to master the game then this should definitely be your first stop.
Last – but not least, the game offers the ability to test your mettle against others online. The online mode only allows quick play one-on-one matches which (whilst bare-bones) more than works well for a game like this. You select the team you want to play as, and go search for a game; it’s simple, and it works. It’s also the perfect for those that just want to pick up and play, as the opponents is likely to be just as bad as you are.
Dino Dini’s Kick Off Revival attempts to realise many fond memories of the old school football games – the ones that came long before the domination of the sims like FIFA. Unfortunately, the game fails to bring back the arcade game experience in a fun way. This Revival offers the bare minimum content, and awkward gameplay controls on top of that make for a disappointing game overall. As such, it’s hard to recommend this game to anyone but those desperately wanting to get that nostalgic kick in.