I first reviewed Dan Marshall’s Behold the Kickmen in 2017 on the PC, and absolutely loved it. Kickmen has now landed on the Switch, and with that I am re-publishing my original review with a few tweaks to take light of the changes for the Switch port.
I’ve talked at length about Behold The Kickmen in the past, and it’s finally here, on the Switch as well as the PC! You can pick it up on the Switch for less than the price of a pint at a real life football match…not that we’re ever going to be going to one of them again. But who needs to go to the football when this truly majestic little game exists, 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 eShop page. The game description reveals that this is:
a football game made by someone who has no understanding of, or interest in, what is affectionately known as “The Wonderful Game”.
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, even with the cheats that are available in this Switch port if you play in the ULTIMATE football mode. 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 teams you encounter further up the lead [Big Boring British Football Spreadsheet system -Ed].
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 perfectly timed bone crunching tackle, dodge your opponent 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 (or until you cheat to unlock all of those crucial skills). 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 during the game, 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 who just happens to paly for the best team, Brazil United. 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 the subtle control changes and the ULTIMATE mode that feature in this Switch mean that for £2.99, you can’t go wrong. This gets the same verdict as it did way back when.
The Verdict – Red Mist
Platforms Available – PC and Switch
Platform Reviewed – Switch
Review based on self-purchased copy. Head here for more on our scoring policy.