We thought it’d be sensible to talk a little bit about why Fluid Football is special. Not just to us, and not just to the people who spend all day and all night making it, but to football games in general.

A big claim, but hopefully by the end of this post you’ll see what we’re on about!

First, a recap from Simon Prytherch, the big boss at Chromativity – the developers behind this little gem of a game.

Simon: “Fluid Football brings the world of football strategy to iOS. Or another way of looking at Fluid Football is it is a football-themed puzzle game with infinite solutions to each level.

You control your team with an intuitive touch-screen interface.  Draw lines with your finger to map out players’ runs both on and off the ball.  Choose the right moment to pass, cross and dribble.  When you get in on goal, make sure your shot finds the back of the net.  By default, the action plays out in slow motion, giving the feeling of an action replay and allowing the user thinking time to set up elaborate moves and out-play the opposition.”

But let’s break it down even further, in a post-match analysis kind of way.

A game of more than two halves

The game sees the player progress through Cups representing increasingly high-profile tournaments. Each Cup contains eight levels (matches), and there are six Cups in each of the three countries represented so far – with even more planned for release post-launch. This totals 48 matches to complete in each country, and a grand total of 144 levels available to unlock at launch.

Each level is actually a set piece – a free kick, a throw-in or a corner – where the player is mere moments from scoring an amazing goal, and must do so to progress. Doing so unlocks the next match in that cup, and so on. Each level also has a subset of three Skill Challenges that will ask things like “complete 4 passes” or “score from the penalty box” just to mix things up for the real football fans out there.

Title screen

Fluid Football’s title screen (click to enlarge).

For the total newcomer (and in acknowledgement that Fluid Football controls a little bit differently from the average football game) we’ve created the Academy mode. This is a fun set of simple challenges that ease you into the basics of the game, like making an off-ball run, passing directly to a stationary player and passing to another player running onto the ball. It culminates by showing you how to shoot and score a goal – though you can also practice your expert striker skills by selecting… well… Practice from the main menu (obviously – Ed.).

The warm-up

When you’re ready to go for it and dive into the main game, you’ll find that the first cup is graded easy (for beginners). You’ll see the three challenges we mentioned before displayed in detail before you go into the match – the first one is obviously to score a goal, but the other two change depending on the match. In the case of the first match you get additional points and coins for scoring after five or more passes, or for scoring from within the goal area.

The Academy

Fluid Football’s Academy (click to enlarge).

You can also get Hints or an example Solution if you select Ask Andy – and this is where the legendary Andy Gray comes in to his own. You get to listen to advice, tips and tricks for each level straight from the big man himself! Seeing as the game is so tactical, with timing and foresight just as crucial as reacting quickly, this titbits can really help out a struggling player in their moment of need. (Yeah, whatever, I’ve seen you using them on almost every level! – Ed.).

Kick off!

The most liberating and exciting part of Fluid Football is that it gives you control over all of your players simultaneously. You simply draw lines for your players to follow; you can set up off-the-ball runs that drag defenders out of position, dribble around defenders in the box, avoid the occasional offside trap with a carefully timed burst – all this and more, choreographed using your touch screen and one finger.

Read that again, if it didn’t sink in! (Cheeky! – Ed.)

The majority of the game is viewed from a top-down perspective. You can move the camera around by dragging it with your finger, and just by double-tapping any empty part of the screen the camera zooms right out so you can see all of your players at once (another double-tap zooms to maximum zoom in, and pinching zooms to set a specific zoom) so that you can get a really good look at the strategic options at your disposal.

Tactical play

Some sneaky passing play (click to enlarge).

Another game-changer is that the game runs in slow motion, which we feel gives you enough time to devise and execute the kind of complex moves you’ve always dreamed Crystal Palace would make (steady on, now – Ed.). How you choose to tackle a particular match is completely down to you: do you play a long-ball game, pass the opposition to death, or opt for a near-post cross? If you come unstuck, you can turn to Andy Gray for advice, and if you’re hotter than Balotelli on a beach, you can turn up the pressure by switching the game to 2x speed, where things really start to get interesting!

So, once you’ve moved your players around and made a series of excellently timed and well thought-out passes between them, you’re ready to take your shot.

He shoots…

…he scores! Well, he hopes. Tapping the SHOOT button is the point of no return.

As soon as you do so, the game changes viewpoint to Shot Mode, where you view the goal from an on-the-pitch players-eye-view. By swiping your finger through the ball you decide on the direction, height and curve of the shot. Unlike other football games on mobile, the position from which you’re taking the shot – and of course the positions of any defenders – has been directly influenced by you and the decision you made during the build up. Defenders move in to close the player down, and the goalkeeper slides and dives to save the ball, but the better your strategy leading up to the shot, the more time and space you have to make it count!

Shot View

Reckon you could score this (click to enlarge)?

If you pull a Daniel Sturridge and fluff the shot, then you have the option to retake the shot again. Of course if you score a goal you can admire your handiwork in the Action Replay, and you can even brag about your achievements by linking up to Facebook and boasting to all your mates!

Hopefully that’s given you a fairly exhaustive idea of why Fluid Football is so exciting, fresh and unique.

As you play through Fluid Football you will actually learn more about the tactics of attacking football, both from your own experience beating the huge amount of matches in there, and from the hints and tips dispensed by football legend Andy Gray.

Fluid Football is out now (grab it here) for iOS – keep an eye on this blog, twitter and Facebook for more great content about it!