Dino Dini is a name that anyone aged under 15 probably wouldn’t recognise. To most youngsters, Dino Dini sounds like a cheap knock-off Pokemon, but to the dads of the world, Dino Dini means greatness.
The guy was behind one of the best footy games ever made in its time, and he then went on to follow it up with numerous successors. The guy is a legend, just go and ask your dad.
The legend has returned to game development with the aptly named Dino Dini’s Kick Off Revival that’s coming first to PlayStation 4 and PS Vita. I’ve been knocking the digital ball around for a few hours now and this is what I make of it:
I’m not a fan.
It’s not that the game is utterly without merit. It’s not that the game looks awful. It’s that it just doesn’t play especially well, nor does it really spark that fire how I expected it to. See, it’s a relatively simple game, football, and the genius of the original Kick Off was that it was so, so simple.
Kick Off Revival is still fairly simple, though something has been lost along the way. For a start, there’s no bloody instructions. I know that the millennials are a bunch of spoiled brats, but at least give the poor sods a fighting chance by having a little tutorial or something.
I booted up the game and got straight into a 1 Player game against the computer. Hope and joy were what I felt as the game booted into the match screen and the little men trotted across the screen to their starting positions. “It’s happening!” I thought. Then the digital referee blew his whistle to signal kick-off and… well, I never really did much.
The ball went from one player to another, back to another player, then to another. The problem was that it was never my player in possession of the ball. I know, I know, “Chris, you’ve got to tackle, duh!” is what you’re thinking. Fair enough, but I did give it a bloody good go. Tackling in Kick Off Revival is a game of chance: you either get the ball, or you crunch the poor opponents legs and concede a free-kick or a penalty.
All too often I found myself unable to perform a clean tackle, though I don’t think it would have mattered much anyway as when I did eventually receive the ball and I tried to move forward, the ball just wandered off on its own adventure. Not good, then. There is a ‘Practice’ mode to try and figure things out in, but after 20 minutes of awkwardly losing the ball against no opposing team, I deemed it a waste of my time. Utterly useless.
The controls are fiddly to say the least, and it doesn’t help that the game runs at lightning speed. On the few rare occasions I did get the ball, I tried in vain to move slowly and with purpose, but that just ended up with the other team coming over and taking the ball with ease. The developers describe the gameplay as “easy to learn and incredibly hard to master.”
I’d argue that it’s both hard to learn and probably even harder to master. As it stands, I just can’t bring myself to play it anymore. The reason: a lack of fun.
There are some redeeming qualities, though, as the game does at least look decent, but then again, the lack of sound is really something else. During gameplay there’s the thud of the ball, the ping of the goalpost and the cheers of the crowd, and that’s it.
At least I managed to score a goal before I put the controller down and called it a day. But it was against myself. And my player celebrated. To be fair, I did, too.
Dino Dini's Kick Off Revival Review (PS4, PS Vita)
Dino Dini's Kick Off Revival is a bitter disappointment. As a fan of the older games that took hours of my young life away with me, I'm let down by the fact that Kick Off Revival won't be doing the same.
Unless you're a hardcore Dino Dini follower, avoid this one and go back to the older games.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital code provided by the game’s publisher. This does not affect the content of the review or the score. For more information, please read our Review Policy.