When is a clone not a clone? When it has a distinguishing characteristic, of course, and Flick Soccer certainly has one. Its foundations are straight up copied from Pik Pok's Flick Kick Football, which is a miniature masterpiece and one of the few permanent-fixture iOS games. You flick a football from a firstperson perspective towards a goal: in Flick Kick Football's case this was defended by cardboard cut-out defenders and keepers, hitting the very edges of the goal awarded an extra life (up to a maximum of three), and failing to score meant the loss of a life.
Flick Soccer looks similar, but by slightly changing the elements and criteria for high scores it changes the game. The defending team are now animated figures who actively try to stop the ball by jumping or diving – becoming more proficient as your score ticks up. Though Flick Soccer's visuals aren't quite in the same league as Flick Kick Football's retro style, these tweaks are nice enough.
What justifies this game's existence is the score attack mode being based on time rather than misses – and adding to this a moving target and the option for time bonuses. As a result, flicking has to be extremely precise, necessitating greater use of Flick Soccer's more comprehensive aftertouch system, and each kick has to be taken quickly. The rewards are intense. Not only does hitting a bullseye add three seconds to the timer, but it also plays a brilliant celebratory jingle that, when you're kicking accurately, forms a metronome for timing. In short, Flick Soccer has a great way of getting players into the zone quickly, and keeping them there.
Is it better than Flick Kick Football? It lacks the purity of Pik Pok's original, and isn't nearly so charming. But where Flick Kick lapses into formula after you reach a high enough score, Flick Soccer gets even more challenging – and in full flow, it can provide a magical experience. In the sea of copies that sometimes seems to define the App Store, Flick Soccer is a very good one.