In a world of screen-tap gaming, a suite of mobile apps is asking sports-minded mobile gamers to kick, thwack and sling until their index fingers ache.
Sports games in the "flick" category - led by the Coventry, England-based Full Fat Games - focus on a sole situational skill, such as a soccer free kick. Players then repeatedly trace a finger across the screen, varying the swipe's length and speed, to wing the soccer ball past the keeper and into a target. By inserting obstacles such as windand defenders, the developers keep the game fresh and challenging.
Here are three of Full Fat's top downloads this year:
$0.99 for iPhone, $1.99 for iPad
With each swing, players are looking to ace one of several sweeping par-3 holes. Vivid, lifelike graphics and the sounds of rushing wind and water accompany play. The sequel, Flick Golf Extreme, sets up holes on oil rigs, aircraft carriers and penthouse rooftops.
NFL Flick QB
$2.99 for iPhone, $4.99 for iPad
Licensed by the league, NFL Flick QB gives users a customized uniform to play quarterback for their favorite team - not to make handoffs but to pass, over and over. The Playmaker mode furnishes a wide receiver to target, plus three defensive backs and a pass rusher to avoid.
$0.99 for iPhone
Like its sister games, Flick Soccer allows users to "bend" their shots in-flight. That's a crucial ability when taking on a goalkeeper whose location changes with each shot. The five different modes - one involves smashing glass panes on the goal's face - are sure to keep players engrossed.