Big Match Striker is an online football game in which you answer trivia questions to win matches. It’s a free PC football game, so you just download and start playing. Simple as that. Except Big Match Striker is so addictive it should come with a warning label.
Why is this game so addictive? Two reasons. First is the relatively simple question-answering, goal-scoring matchday action. Second is the incredible depth of the rest of the game, which involves picking formations, buying players and building stadiums.
Here’s how the matchday action works: It’s your team vs the opposition team in an arcade football looking match. Except instead of tricks and flicks, you answer questions. When in possession, you choose either a short pass or a long pass. Short passes give you a little more “advantage” time, where you can answer but your opponent can’t.
If you answer correctly and before your opponent does then you move up the field. If your opponent answers correctly before you can, then the opposition team tackles you and wins the ball back.
The game looks great in an almost-cartoony kind of way, and has a pleasantly cheeky sense of humour thanks to an Alan Partridge-esque commentator. But I’ve played football trivia games before and things can get pretty old pretty fast, especially once you start seeing the same questions over and over again. So the best part about Big Match Striker is that the questions are updated every week.
You’ll be asked things like “Who scored Arsenal’s first goal this past weekend?” and “How many goals have Leeds United scored so far this season?” It keeps the game feeling fresh, and the more attention you pay to recent football events, the better you’ll do.
Luckily, there’s a lot more to Big Match Striker than just answering questions. Even the best online football games can be a little one-dimensional, but in this game you progress by building a stadium, winning fans, changing your kit, buying players to strengthen your team, changing your formation and so on. It’s veering into Football Manager territory.
But why build up your team, your stadium and your fanbase if all you have to do to win games is answer questions? Well, that brings us to both the smartest idea but also the biggest downside of Big Match Striker.
Every opposition team you play against belongs to another Big Match Striker gamer. But you’re not actually playing against them in real time. It’s not you vs. the other gamer, sitting in front of your computers competing to click the correct answer first. Instead you’re playing against that gamer’s team, the strength of which is determined by the gamer’s performances so far (their football IQ) and the players they’ve signed and the formation they are using.
This applies to your team too. No matter how smart you are or how quickly you can answer questions, your team won’t win any trophies if you’re losing all your simulated games, so this gives you a huge incentive to constantly strengthen your team. It’s a neat fix to the nightmare that would have been arranging for players to face off in real time, and massive motivation to keep playing and keep improving your team (and maybe even to spend some of your actual money to gain an advantage). But I can’t help imagining the excitement that would come with a genuine mano-a-mano matchday showdown.
I’m still giving Big Match Striker a massive thumbs up though. The up to date questions, the enjoyable look and feel of the game, plus the balance between the initial simplicity of the gameplay and the sort of depth and detail you don’t expect from an free online football game make this is an excellent product.
Soccerlens Rating: 8/10
Here’s the trailer for Big Match Striker: