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Old 09-17-2005, 08:58 PM   #1
Bob Russell
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MiniReview: Master Kick for PalmOS

Master Kick from Industry Entertainment is a new game for PalmOS that puts the fun of foosball (table soccer) into the palm of your hand.

The product site says, "Master Kick arises in glory of the best arcade version of table soccer seen till now! It's not just a game with stunning graphics of various playfields and players, weather visual effects, or live cheering. Master kick gives you the full atmosphere of soccer match combined with foosball skill. Highly sophisticated AI plus numerous formations selection, playing in a league or quick match will not fail any soccer fan expectations. Great dynamic music and sound powered by MODULA Audio Engine and fullscreen support enlarge the overall game experience. Master Kick is available for all the latest PalmOS devices. One thing is for certan, Master Kick tried once, will become your favorite addiction!"

I've seen lots of advertising hype before, but the amazing thing is that with Master Kick it's not just hype. They deliver the goods.

My test run for this review was done with a Palm Treo 650, so the screen is quite small. I think the game will be even more impressive on other devices.

Summary
This is a fantastic game. Great game play, awesome simulation, lots of fun. While I've listed a lot of points under weaknesses, don't let that fool you. They're minor points and don't take away at all from the fun and excellent nature of the game.

I highly recommend it, and heartily give it a 5/5 rating as one of the best.

Read on if you want a few more of the details...

Strengths

  • Fantastic game play

    No complicated controls to learn, and you can hardly believe how natural the game play is. It draws you in the way only a great simulation can do. The ball action looks real as well as the kicking. You control the power of the kicks. And the screen scrolling is so natural that I didn't even realize it was happening until one time I looked for my goalie and found him just off the screen. They really nailed the action on this one.

  • Flexible game options

    You can set things like the sound level, of course, but in addition you have many options for choice of team, choice of field, distribution of your players across rods, whether games end by number or goals or by time remaining, etc.

  • League play mode

    This allows you to play a multigame league season, complete with standings. Adds considerably to the replayability of the game.
  • Customer Support

    There is an email address for support, and I got prompt (next day) responses each time, always friendly and helpful. I also tried to do a "stealth" support email from another account so it wouldn't be influenced by my reviewer status, and I got similar response. I would be a terrible spy... my name got sent from the other account so I probably wasn't as anonymous as I hoped, but still I get the impression that you will find help when you need it.

  • Fun

    Yes, it's a lot of fun to play. And when you score you even get a replay of your slick moves (easily aborted with a quick button push if you want to get on with the business at hand.)
Weaknesses
  • Limited documentation

    There's really only a short text readme file to get you going. Don't expect any really significant tips or suggestions of how to play or control your players. It even took me a while to figure out how to play, and to realize that the replay of scores is optional. But it's so simple, it's no big deal. No forums for players either, which would be nice.

  • Accidental button push pauses the game

    On my Treo, I was using the D-pad for up/down control of the players. Right in the middle of action, I accidently hit the middle button, which pauses the game. That was a bit irritating, but probably wouldn't happen as much on a non-Treo device, partly because the d-pad would be bigger. On contacting support about it, they said they would look at modifying that.

  • Registration

    The registration number and display was really tiny. I wanted a magnifying glass on my tiny Treo screen to get through the process, but it worked out okay. Shouldn't be a problem with a different device with a larger screen.

    The registration is also tied directly to the device rather than the hotsync id, which is something I usually try to avoid where possible. But for a game program, and with the expectation that you can get a new code if you get a new device, I don't think that's too bad.

  • Install adds a Game category to the Launcher

    (Now you can tell I'm being really picky because there really aren't any significant weaknesses!) I don't use categories on my Launcher, so there is no game category. When I did the install, I ended up with it in a game category that was created automatically on the install. I suppose that's probably common to most games, and was easy to resolve by deleting the category. That's something that most users won't even notice, but I find that everything all together is great with the built-in keyboard because I find my programs now with the first letter followed by d-pad when necessary.

  • Nag screens hold your device hostage in the demo version

    I was definitely not a fan of the way the nag screens work in the demo. If, for example, you are trying the program out and need to get to your address book really fast, forget it. It will hold you frozen at the splash advertisement for a good many seconds. This was probably the one and only thing I really didn't like about the program, but of course if you buy it, it's no longer an issue.

  • Memory requirement

    Again this is an issue primarily because I have a Treo. The program seems to be a bit more than 3meg in size, which is a lot on a Treo. But you could surely put it on an SD card, with ZLauncher for example, or if you have a more recent non-Treo device the 3megs is probably not a big deal anyway.
Master Kick for PalmOS (v1.0.2) is $19.95 and there is an evaluation version available. It runs on the following devices:

PALM / PALMONE:
Treo 650
LifeDrive
Tungsten T5, Tungsten T3, Tungsten T2, Tungsten T
Tungsten C
Tungsten E2, Tungsten E
Zire 72, Zire 72s, Zire 71

SONY:
Clie VZ90
Clie TH55
Clie UX50, Clie UX40
Clie TJ37, Clie TJ35, Clie TJ27, Clie TJ25
Clie TG50
Clie NX80V, Clie NX73V, Clie NX70V, Clie NX60
Clie NZ90

TAPWAVE:
Zodiac 2, Zodiac 1

GARMIN:
iQue 3600, iQue 3200

SAMSUNG:
SPH-i550, SCH-i539, SGH-i530, SGH-i500

If this type of game interests you, I'd give it a try. You're sure to be delighted!

Last edited by BobR; 09-17-2005 at 09:04 PM. Reason: Formatting
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Old 09-18-2005, 06:53 PM   #2
Colin Dunstan
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Great review on an apparently great game!
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