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iPhone review of the day: Backbreaker 2: Vengeance - run, tackle... what more do you need?

On iPhone
Game: Backbreaker 2: Vengeance
Price: $0.99/£0.59 (at press time – regular price $2.99/£1.79)
Size: 18 MB
Get it now on the iTunes store: US / UK 

Backbreaker 2: Vengeance is technically a football game, but this isn’t a portable version of Madden. It’s more of an action puzzle game with a football theme. It boils the game down to its essence, creating an experience that’s about nothing more than tackling dudes and scoring touchdowns. And that’s just how we like it.

You don’t have to worry about playbooks or anything like that, because you’re only controlling one player. There are two different modes of play, one of which makes you the tackler, the other the tacklee. When your goal is to tackle, you’ll need to do everything in your power to knock down the glowing player with the ball. Other players will try to stop you, obstacles are thrown in your way, and you have a time limit. Likewise, when you’re the one carrying the ball, you’re only goal is to run it down the field for a touchdown, avoiding tackles and other obstacles.

Sounds simple, but the game is a cleverly disguised arcade puzzle game. Each mode is divided into challenges, which get progressively more difficult. You’ll start off up against just one opposing player, but that number slowly increases until you’re horribly outnumbered. There are obstacles to jump over and if you run over certain parts of the field you’ll earn bonus points.

It’s a hard game, but thankfully the controls are great. You steer your player by tilting the iPhone, and there are buttons that let you sprint, jump, juke, and spin. You can even do a little showboating on your way to a touchdown, which earns you extra points but also slows you down, making you more vulnerable to a tackle.

The number of available challenges isn’t huge, but they’re challenging and the high score system gives them a lot of replayability. You’ll even unlock new uniforms to customize your gridiron hero. So if even if you don’t know what an audible or a cornerback is, chances are you’ll still enjoy Backbreaker 2. It only looks like a football game, but it’s much more fun.

Jan 11, 2011

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