Playstation Vita and its AR Play Cards have already brought us the mildly entertaining Cliff Diving. The next offering, available for free download on PSN now, is Table Football. I was disappointed to discover that the title doesn’t refer to Foosball, undisputed sport of kings. Instead, we’re forced to endure a rendition of nerd-tacular tabletop soccer game Subbuteo. The bar wasn’t set too highly with the last AR game (it got firmly stuck in the ‘lukewarm interest’ position), so how does this compare?
Subbuteo’s miniaturised pitch is emulated by positioning three of the cards, spacing them according to the size of pitch you want. You can then arrange the others to form the stands and scoreboard, so a full complement of six cards is compatible. At this point, the usual inexplicable sorcery and general logic-defiance of augmented reality comes into play, and everything springs into existence. You and your opponent’s squads of trademark Subbuteo circle-assed plastic freaks assemble, and the game begins.
It’s the touchscreen control system that I struggle with. In another nod to the original game, sliding a finger across the screen ‘flicks’ a player to elsewhere on the pitch, while the same movement with the ball will pass and shoot. As simplistic as this sounds, everything on screen is so infuriatingly small that it’s a damn fiddly process. The zoom function is fairly dire, all told, so I often managed to launch the ball into the stratosphere by mistake when simply trying to get a player to get their ass in gear.
But I’m being overly judgmental. These games are intended as nothing more than glorified tech demos for the system, and they play this part perfectly. They’re the go-to software for anyone interested in having a quick look at what the system’s capable of. In my defense, I just think Subbuteo is ludicrous enough full-sized, so squeezing it onto a portable was never going to be pretty.
Maybe you’re not familiar with this terrible tabletop game. Maybe you’re feeling particularly brave and/or masochistic. Whatever the reason, feel free to check out this short demonstration of the game.
Go ahead, I won’t judge.
Article by Chris Littlechild