Researching prior to sitting down and writing this review, I was astounded by the fact that there are national organizations that hold competitive tournaments for table football matches – or better known in North America; foosball. Growing up, foosball was a lot like billiards or pinball, as you were able to find a table in almost every bar or group hangout spot. I even played foosball in my college dorm on occasion, although in a casual fashion. Following in suit of the rise of other tabletop games turned video games, such as pinball and billiards, Quirkat hopes to succeed in similar fashion with Pro Foosball. Although not the first foosball title for the platform, Pro Foosball is the best choice for authentic foosball action and quirky four-player multiplayer on the PS3.
Make no mistakes, Pro Foosball has an extremely difficult learning curve, especially if you’ve never played tabletop foosball in real life. A game is comprised of two teams of opposing colors with a set amount of figures attached to each row. The amount can be customized depending on the set of rules you want to adhere to, allowing for more figures on defensive rows or an increase in the amount of figures close to your opponents goal. Using the left analog stick you are able to move the row closest to the ball back and forth. The face buttons allow for easily shooting or passing (yes, passing exists in foosball, that’s news to me too) between figures on the same row.
If you are looking for more direct control over your figures, instead of using the face buttons, you are able to control the spin of the figures in either direction. I outscored the AI in my first few games, if you count the amount of times I scored on my own goal. Typically tournament rules disallow the spinning of rows in complete 360 degree circles (something that every kid has done in real life, I know I have). The game warns you that constantly spinning will not be permitted, but I’ve only had play stopped once in all of my games, even if I was button mashing. Quirkat has mimicked the sport quite well, even down to the ball getting stuck in the corner as it always does in my real-life matches. Pro Foosball does support the PlayStation Move, but I was unable to test in time for the review.
Outside of the standard foosball matches, Quirkat has included a number of gameplay modifiers changing the way the game is played. Low gravity mixed with adding a bumpy playing surface was a favorite during my four-player multiplayer sections. Other modifiers can drastically affect the table, by making it longer than normal, reminiscent of the 7-meter table created by artist Maurizio Cattelan, or by removing the edges of the table completely. I don’t know anyone that would want to play with no barriers, as it slows down the pace of the game as you wait for the ball to be reset every few seconds.
The most fun I had with Pro Foosball was playing against other people locally with different combination of modifiers. Online multiplayer would have been nice to include, but I see Pro Foosball as more of a local multiplayer title. The vanilla version of foosball can become boring after a few matches, but using the modifiers can add some longevity to the title.
Note: The Pro Foosball review was written based on the PS3 version of the game.