by Andrew Brown - June 30, 2011, 2:30 pm PDT
Total comments: 13


It's the only Australian Football League game on Wii, but that doesn't mean it can't be the best.

For many Australians, Aussie-rules football is a way of life, an age-old tradition. Players booting the spheroid-shaped ball up and down the field, the white-clad umpires whistling in the goals to the cheers (and often chagrin) of the fans, the echoing siren signaling both victorious triumph and brutal defeat all at the same instant. Now Wii owners can experience all of that tradition within their own homes. 

Like all good sports games, there are multiple control schemes -  the Wii Remote and Nunchuck combo, the Wii Remote on its own, and the GameCube controller. There's the standard fare of Wii swinging, shaking, and pointing with the Remote options. For example, to kick the ball, hold down the A button to build up power, then swing upwards and release the button at the required power. If tackling another player for possession of the ball, there's a frantic wrestling match to see who can shake their remote the fastest. When multiple players go in for a mark (that is, a contest to cleanly catch the ball as it descends from the air), a picture of the football bounces about the screen, and the first player to point their hand icon at it and press A will steal the ball away. Though it works and is entirely playable with the motion controls, it's rather awkward and ultimately the GameCube controller gives the smoothest experience and is the most fun. 

There are a lot of modes to explore, from quick, single matches to entire seasons where players can jump in and control one or several teams as they climb the ladder to the finals. There's also a Career Manager mode allowing you to take command of a team of your choice, allocating funds to various assisting roles, organizing team members and seeing them through the footy season as best you can. Any of these longer modes can be halted and resumed from where you left off, which is a handy feature. 

There's a small collection of mini-games that are fairly simple but pretty fun for a quick multiplayer jaunt, including the tried and true handball competition. Finally, of course, there's a big list of achievement medals to earn, which unlock new stadiums to play in, special teams and game modes. Striving to collect everything can be a big part of the experience, and quite satisfying. 

At first glance, AFL is not a pretty game. The character models are blocky and texture mapping, particularly on the players' faces, looks stretched and disproportionate. The audience stands consist of a blurry collection of colored blobs that cycle through all of two animation frames. Given the number of players on the field and the simultaneous detail required this is understandable, but compared to other games it sometimes looks a little under polished. 

With that said, however, all the graphical foibles are meaningless when in the throes of competition, players running about lunging on top of each other, squabbling like seagulls over the ball. The action is fast paced and the visuals show what they need to – you can differentiate players and team uniforms, and most importantly the ball is always visible. Add to this the recreation of many stadiums from around Australia, the locales do look like their real life counterparts and make you feel like you're actually there. The game menus are crisp and clear, with logos, icons, and team emblems looking great. The artistic detail of the achievement medals looks especially nice. 

AFL is officially licensed, meaning everything is spot on – there are over 50 teams from the AFL, VFL, TAC Cup and Under 18's leagues. All the team colors are exact, the player names are real, even official announcers Dennis Cometti and Brian Taylor are there to relay the goings on for that extra touch of authenticity, though the commentary is a mixed bag. The two voiceovers provide plenty of official-sounding lines and amusing observations of the game, but there seems to be very little variation in the recordings of the team and player names, often resulting in uncomfortably large pauses and robotic phrases. "The Saints! Lead. Brisbane? By... twenty. SIX! Points." On occasion they randomly pipe in with a confusing or irrelevant comment – at one halftime break Brian said he could see no clear advantage on either side and the match outcome was impossible to tell, despite the fact that I was leading at 0 to 15 points. This is balanced out with high-quality recordings of the official team anthems, as well as one or two footy theme songs from the last decade to round out the package. None of the songs or tunes are ever annoying or grating, even when looping endlessly while checking menus and stats.

One small inconvenience is the choice to make the player skip through multiple publisher and developer logos before getting to the file select screen, each one slowly fading in and out. The game doesn't continue loading if nothing is pressed. 

All in all, despite its share of flaws the game is still very enjoyable and easy to pick up and jump in. It provides a great experience to fans of Aussie-rules footy and has a complete set of features. There is a ton of content packed in, and it fares exceptionally well against this year's PS3 and Xbox 360 AFL Live games as it is not affected by the reported system-crashing glitches that freeze the console when certain teams compete. The motion controls help add to the immersion, but serious players will dust off their old GameCube controllers. 


  • A lot of fun
  • Authentic voiceovers that can be hilariously robotic and vague
  • Lots to unlock and do, you won't be finished in a day
  • Play with official teams and players
  • Authentic voiceovers that can be hilariously robotic and vague
  • Graphics are sometimes below standard, especially on HDTV
  • Motion controls can be quirky and clumsy
  • No Classic Controller support


CericJune 30, 2011

What is Aussie Football in American?

TJ SpykeJuly 01, 2011

Just that, Aussie football or Australian rules football.

famicomplicatedJames Charlton, Staff AlumnusJuly 01, 2011

It's funny how Europe/Americas/Australia all say football for entirely different sports.

Although at this stage I'd like to point out that only one of them primarily involves using your, you know, "foot" with a spherical "ball'.  :P:

Aussie rules looks a lot like rugby to me though, which puts me off, is it that different?

Aussie-rules is called football because you're not allowed to carry the ball for more than a few steps, and the primary means to get it to travel large distances is to kick it across the field. Goals are also attained by kicking the ball between the goal posts, you cannot carry it onto the goal area like rugby. They're the major differences.

CericJuly 01, 2011

Ok, I asked because some of those pics had people carrying the ball and made it look like rugby.  I like a rugby game.

The official rule is that the ball must touch the ground at least once per 15 metres traveled, so the players bounce the ball every few steps, or kick it to other players closer to the goal posts. If another player attempts to tackle them and steal the ball away, they must cleanly dispose of the ball, or they'll be penalized for what's known as "holding the ball".

Had to dust off my old rule book for that precise detail, but there you go.

CericJuly 01, 2011

How do you tell 15 Metres?  I don't see any lines in that picture to get a good sense of it.  Basketball has traveling which sounds similar but, its a number of steps if memory serves.

I wonder if their is somewhere I can watch a game this sounds much more interesting then Soccer.

apdudeJuly 01, 2011

I recall watching an Australian rules football match once on TV.  I always found it hilarious waiting for the referee to make the call of whether or not the ball went through the goal posts.  They would always take their time an then make an elaborate, emphatic movement similar to an over-zelious umpire in baseball making a strike call.  Not sure if it was just that one ref or that is the correct way to make the call.

Like I said I think it's generally down to every few steps to avoid going over the limit. If you want to watch some games I'm sure you can find them on youtube, plus there's the official trailer for the Wii game here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-p3q-24ye8

Generally, there's a lot less physical contact between players as opposed to rugby, but players do tackle each other in attempt to steal the ball, and have been known to squabble all over each other to get a mark (see review for explanation).

From seeing the video on YouTube, the graphics are a bit...under par. But it looks pretty interesting. I've never seen Australian Football before. Looks interesting.

CericJuly 02, 2011

Looking at the clips it reminds me of Quidditch and games with Kangaroo Men... AFL: When you need Platformers.

DasmosJuly 03, 2011

I keep waiting for a AFL that I'll enjoy more than Aussie Rules Footy for the NES. I don't think it's going to happen anytime soon, just like there's never going to be a cricket game better than Super International Cricket for SNES.

famicomplicatedJames Charlton, Staff AlumnusJuly 05, 2011

Quote from: Dasmos

I keep waiting for a AFL that I'll enjoy more than Aussie Rules Footy for the NES. I don't think it's going to happen anytime soon, just like there's never going to be a cricket game better than Super International Cricket for SNES.

Ha! I played that back in the day!
Bet the Americans reading this are jealous, never came out there!
They got to play FF3, Earthbound and Mario RPG, but inside they were jealous.

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AFL Box Art

Genre Sports
Developer Wicked Witch Software
Players1 - 4

Worldwide Releases

aus: AFL
Release May 19, 2011
PublisherTru Blu Entertainment

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