I’ve talked at length about Behold The Kickmen in the past, and it’s finally here! Well, available over on yonder Steam for the bargain basement price of £2.79! It’s a truly majestic little game that Dan Marshall has made, one that perfectly simulates the game of football*
* if you’ve got this far already, and think I am being serious when I say Kickmen perfectly simulates football, then you clearly haven’t read any of my previous coverage, or checked out the Steam page. Hell, in the first paragraph of the “about the game” section, Dan describes Kickmen as thus:
BEHOLD THE KICKMEN started as a silly Twitter joke, and evolved like a beautiful flower into the year’s least-exciting and mostly-incorrect Football Simulation. It’s football, as seen through the eyes of someone with no understanding of, or interest in, the Laws of Football.
In short, the game is a riot of fun, with Dan wilfully twisting footballing rules and the culture around the game into a delightful piece of entertainment. Yet, there is also an element of skill required, maybe not to the same levels of FIFA, but you can’t smash buttons randomly and expect to win. During matches, you can win by scoring the most goals, with an increasing number of goals being scored with shots further away from the enemies penalty box. But in the story mode, you need to improve your team to have a chance against the tougher enemies.
Before you ask, no, you don’t go around buying new players to bolster your squad. You improve your team by spending hard earned money on some very general attributes such as Teamplay and Goldkeeper Skills (oh yeah, a Goldkeeper is a goalie to you and I mortals). How do you earn money though? Not by winning games, but by chaining combos together to rinse money from the supporters you and Coach value oh so greatly. Pass the ball between your players, win the ball back in a bone crunching tackle by timing the press of the tackle button, dodge the enemy and finally, score a goal to bank all the money you have been collecting.
It all becomes a delicate balancing act of trying to chain actions together to build up your pot of money and actually scoring a goal. Scoring isn’t always easy, especially as you can’t pass the ball to directly to your teammates until you chose to unlock the skill after your opening few matches. While the rules of football have been well and truly subverted, there is a really fun sport to play here. Oval pitches, red cards after three fouls are committed (regardless of player), and an offside zone where touching the ball leads to an instant red. It’s great fun.
The story mode is also worth keeping an eye on as your player character keep in contact with Coach, who always has some nefarious money making idea up his sleeve, learn the secret about your father, and deal with the best player in the world, Pedro. It’s all a good laugh, albeit with some sly cutting digs at the real world football culture.
If you want, you can also turn this pleasant imagining of football into a deadly bloodsport, sending everything flying into the future where everyone wears super serious helmets and armour, and the tackles leave blood splatter all over the pitch. That’s my cup of footballing tea.
Kickmen is a great laugh, and for £2.79 you can’t go wrong. What’s stopping you from enjoying this take on the “The Wonderful Game”?
The Verdict – Red Mist
Platforms Available/Reviewed – PC
Review based on Steam press account copy. Additional copy of the game also purchased. Head here for more on our scoring policy.