Are you ready for some football? Yeah, well, are you ready for some Backyard Football? Backyard Football attempts to carve a niche in the crowded sports gaming world by giving you the opportunity to play your favorite sports with superstar athletes as children. While this is a unique twist, the game won't appeal to everyone, but then again, I don't think it was meant to. simplifies the game, so that younger games, in the 7-12 year old range, can enjoy the fun of portable football action. How well did they succeed? Read on.
I love sports titles and I was looking for a solid game that not only appealed to me, but my kids as well. With high hopes, I began playing. Humongous Games, a division of Infogrames, does a good job of re-creating the childhood experience of alternating team captains picking kids to be on their teams. Along with the assortment of childhood athletes, there are a host of other miscellaneous children to select from. Don't get to excited about scoring Jerry Rice for your team'sure he's fast, but once the game starts, he'll look like the rest of your team. In fact, children only come in three sizes: tall and thin, short, and large & chunky. While the scoreboard and play selection displays are all high quality, I was a bit disappointed by the character graphics. Most of the players looked like an oversized helmet with feet. This was kind of a let down since the intro screens and displays looked solid.
I enjoyed playing my first season but was frustrated by several things. The AI was nonexistent. Example: the computer never seemed to want to punt. They would be 4th and 40 yards to go and they would go for it. They wouldn't even go for the bomb; they would try to run around the end. It didn't make sense. I was also disappointed by the fact that the game became a bit monotonous after playing it several times. Once you figure it out, you can run and pass almost at will. Even playing on the hardest difficulty didn't seem to make a difference. On a smaller note, it was a bit of a let down to labor through a season, make it into the playoffs, work your way towards a glorious Super Bowl Championship, only to win it and go back to the announcers saying goodbye. No celebration or reward for going the distance.
There are things to like about BYFT, namely that the game is easy to just start playing. I tried this on my five year-old and while he needed a bit of help from me, he was able to run some screens for good yardage. As your team consists of 5 players, it's easy to keep track of them on the field and isn't the confusing mass of bodies crammed on the GBA screen like with Madden. I grew up loving Coleco Electronic Football, so I didn't need 11 guys crowding the screen. If simplicity was their aim, BYFT succeeds well. While gamers with children should check this out, for the more serious gamer, this game will lose its fun after the first complete season.