AppStore Game Review: LED Football

by: Dan -
More On: AppStore
Tweeeet!   Back in 1978, like most kids my age I had one of the versions of the handheld Mattel LED Football game. I used to play the hell out of that thing trying to score TDs on every play. Now the game was about as simple as it got (does anything besides smoke detectors use 9-volt batteries anymore?) so why am I bringing this up 30+ years later in 2009? Simple, as developer touchGrove has come up with a way to take old-school and marry it to the one of the most advanced handheld devices on today’s market with LED Football for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

To try to describe, review or speak of the actual gameplay would probably insult the millions that called this piece of handheld history their own. It was (and is) to avoid the red dashes and get your ass to the endzone because touchGrove essentially hit the time machine and emulated the game play to a ‘T’. The only thing that seemed slightly amiss was that the AI in this game seemed to be the smartest LED Football AI I have ever come across. Now, part of that may be my lack of playing the game in almost 25 years (especially in light of fellow GN staffer Sean Cahill picking it up and knocking off two touchdowns in less than a minute while I hadn’t yet scored one at that time) or just my chubby fingers not doing so hot with the touch screen controls.

While the gameplay has been duplicated, the biggest kudos come to touchGrove for the masterful job of recreating much of the controls and display area of the LED football games of yesteryear to work on the iPod Touch and iPhone. In fact, the button design, field area, scoreboard and basic layout all have that “old friend” feel, right down to the cream coloring. In the last couple of releases, touchGrove added a toggle switch for 1-2 players, more details for the “back panel” and simulated “wear-down” feature for the virtual buttons. You know, make the paint wear off by playing the damn game 500 times a day….

Other than my ineptitude at playing the game, the biggest challenge is getting used to the lack of a button under your thumbs. That spring loaded action was the pulse of the original handheld, but is now just a spot on the screen that you have to hit without looking. To see the level of detail the developers put into the game, hit the information button in the upper right corner to flip the “handheld” over. It is simply a great way to display the instructions and show off a bit more of the nostalgia. Overall LED Football plays like the real thing and brings back a ton of memories. The folks at touchGrove continue to support this app and add improvements to it. Simply put, it is worth every penny of the price. Final GamingNexus Grade: A-

LED Football was originally released by touchGrove on August 29th, 2008 and can be found here on iTunes. The version reviewed was release v 1.2 and has a list price of $0.99 at the time of publish. Check out screen shots after the jump.
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