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Xperia Play  header logo

Backbreaker 2: Vengeance

For: Xperia Play   Also on: Android, iPhone
Summary Review Screens Videos Articles Tips  

Don't go breakin' my back

Product: Backbreaker 2: Vengeance | Developer: Ideaworks Game Studio | Format: Xperia Play | Genre: Arcade, Sports | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Backbreaker 2: Vengeance Xperia Play, thumbnail 1
At a glance, Backbreaker 2: Vengeance looks like a hardcore American-football sim to challenge the likes of EA's Madden.

Scratch the surface a bit deeper, though, and you'll soon discover there's no need to keep pausing the game to look up plays, nor to find out why the athletes seem so determined to share their Catholicism with a 'Hail Mary'.

Turns out Backbreaker 2: Vengeance has more in common with rhythm-action titles than the common or garden sports game. And it's all the better for it, as you dodge, spin, and dance your way around defenders, picking up high score combos as you go.

Back for more back-breaking

For those who haven't read our review of the first game in the series on Android, you play an American footballer trying to run the ball the length of the pitch into the end zone without getting brutally taken down.

The sequel is generally more of the same, with one big new gameplay addition outlined below. Backbreaker 2: Vengeance is also currently an Xperia Play exclusive, which means that all the spins, dodging, speed bursts, and showboating are now handled by the phone's face buttons.

On Sony Ericsson's handset, then, you move the player with the D-pad, rather than by tilting the phone - an action that would occasionally make it tricky on iPhone to keep a track on what obstacles were coming up. Moving the player via the D-pad feels more precise, and the button timings are always accurate.

It also looks brilliant on the Xperia Play, running smoothly and managing to give a surprisingly visceral feel to each bone-crunching challenge, aided in part by the stylish instant replays and big match atmosphere.

Unnecessary roughness

The Vengeance part of the title refers to a new game mode that turns the game on its head, and charges you with taking down the attacker before he reaches the end zone.

Although it's satisfying crunching into the back of players, this new mode doesn't offer a great deal more than the main game, and actually takes away the most satisfying moment of the attacking mode: showboating as you finish running the gauntlet.

Judging whether or not you have time to show off and score the touchdown without getting clotheslined to the floor always makes for some brilliant risk / reward payoffs.

But it is another mode that sits on top of an already good game, and the Xperia Play controls make it even more compelling. Non-sports fans may be surprised by how much they get out of it, while people who understand the rules of gridiron should find plenty to enjoy, too.
Backbreaker 2: Vengeance
Reviewer photo
Alan Martin | 23 August 2011
The original Backbreaker sim contained visceral and addictive rhythm-action gameplay disguised as a sports game, and the Xperia Play sequel tops it. A new game mode and the physical controls make this the ultimate mobile version
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