A throwback top-down soccer game that reminds you of simpler times, Tiny Football reminds you how far games have come yet stays true to its core as a fun bite-sized arcade classic capable of sucking you into pixelated goodness. Tiny Football features 64 national and club teams playable through exhibition matches against friends or tournaments against the AI, as well as a season mode if you enjoy the grind. Despite not having authentic licenses, each club and national team is modeled after their real life-like counterparts.
Tiny Football Early Access Review
What I Like
Straight out of the early ’90s, Tiny Football uses pixelated squares, even down to the ball that moves around the pitch in that old-school way of yesteryear. While there isn’t much by way of graphical differences between the players, they still move in a much more realistic way than those early ’90s games. There are even weather effects like rain, which will lead to your players occasionally slipping as the ball skips across the surface.
Speaking of the surface, there isn’t a huge variety in pitch surfaces but there are enough to break up the monotony by giving you different visuals every so often.
The key to any game, regardless of how simple or sophisticated, usually comes down to controls and here is where Tiny Football excel. Simple yet intuitive, the responsive controls allow you to perform all the basic commands you’d come to expect in a soccer game like shooting, passing, tackling, and of course dribbling. Speaking of tackling, there are even injuries that can occur due to dirty challenges — injuries that can force substitutions. Even the pre-match team selection menus are extremely easy to use yet intuitive. (I know a few AAA companies that could take a lesson from this game on that front.)
As previously mentioned, Tiny Football has a little bit of everything for everyone, no matter how you prefer to play. Friendlies versus the AI or another human are most certainly an option with a World Cup-style tournament also available. Customizable match lengths (I played on 2-minute matches) allows you to breeze through Season mode while still keeping the scorelines respectable.
Most of my time was played in Tournament mode — playing a pseudo World Cup mode — equipped with customizable groups albeit no player stat tracking.
What I Don’t Like
Tiny Football is currently selling for $12.99 in the US while in early access. That’s a little bit too high in my opinion as it competes with other arcade-style football games like Retro Goal — a game that is much more affordable and properly priced at about $5. Considering the limitations of a game that is only available on PC, I can’t envision too many folks will be sitting down in front of their PCs and forking over some cash to play this when comparable alternatives are available for cheaper and on mobile devices.
Perhaps Tiny Football will eventually come to mobile platforms, but for now, only being on PC is a major drawback.
Despite the somewhat inflated price, Tiny Football is a fun, bite-sized football game that doesn’t take itself too seriously in its quest to bring back that vintage feeling when pixelated graphics dominated and games were supposed to be about fun. The developers have committed to pushing out updates so don’t be surprised to see even more items added. For now, we’ll definitely continue to come back to this one and play a few tournaments to see if we can top the digital table.