Yes yes, I know I’ve been talking about iOS games a lot lately, but it really has become my platform of choice when it comes to retrogaming. It’s like a magic box full of my favourite games that are either emulated or re-imagined.

Speedball 2 is one of the most important Amiga games ever made, and still easily one of the best sports games regardless of machine, but it’s had a horrid history of sequels since it’s early ’90s release. Finally though, we have a real good version of Speedball 2 for a new machine. HOORAH!

So, what’s new? Well, it’s a lot of superficial stuff that is welcome but not necessary – new characters, new teams, new stadium dressings and tilt controls, for starters. The funny thing is that the tilt controls work really well. Way better than tilt controls for this kind of game really should.

Of course, multiplayer is where Speedball is really at, and there is a multiplayer mode in it – sort of. Its not online for one thing, which is a shame, and when I tried getting some multiplayer working via local Bluetooth it took forever to actually connect and get started. On the five occasions I tried, only two of them ended in games that didn’t end up desynching to the point of crashing. Hopefully that will get fixed.

You know what I really miss in this version though? Manager Mode! It wasn’t until I started playing this on the iPad a lot that I remembered that I spent most of my MegaDrive Speedball 2 time neck deep in Manager Mode, watching the games play out and hoping against hope that my thousand-dollar goalie doesn’t get knocked out in the first half. I would be playing this on iPad a lot more if Manager Mode was in it, and if there’s anything I would ask for in a future update it’s this one.

Quick note on the music: there will never be an in-game soundtrack that is as good as the Amiga version of Speedball 2. The iOS version soundtrack comes pretty close, though.

Worth buying? Absolutely essential if you were a fan of the original. It’s the first good Speedball game since the Amiga / MegaDrive versions. If you never played it, I would still highly recommend it if you like gratuitous violence, future sports and the most finely balanced scoring design since the time someone designed a scoring system while walking a tight rope over a pit full of alligators.

Check out the trailer: