With 50 international teams to choose from, Total Football adheres to a strict formula that allows you to alter the length of the matches, the standard of refereeing and the type of pitch (six available). The joystick controls allow short passing movements, searching through balls with swerve from the after-couch option. At times the action can be particularly slow though, yet mixing up the short ball with the long can be easily increase the tempo substantially. Yet, the ball fails to stick to player's feet, a pretty known feature of the Kick-Off series and several others back then.
The game is missing a couple of features found in the genre though. There’s no substituting players, and also no injuries, though there are fouls, penalties and even players being sent off after particularly unfair attacks. But even though there are no injuries, particularly hard tackles may cause a player to get hurt in some manner anyways, causing him to hobble, move at a much slower pace and being less capable of controlling the ball for a while. Also response times is a bit of a problem, in such you don't get an instant response to your commands at times, as when you need to shoot quickly while under pressure, that extra moment often allows the computer to run in and steal the ball. More annoyingly, the game doesn’t allow you to manually switch what player you want to control while on the defense.
Despite its simplistic approach and some frustrating flaws, Total Football was a pretty good football game back then, which could easily stand with the (all famous) FIFA World Soccer.
visuals are crisp and colorful, offering quite enough detail of the pitch and the surroundings. Players are nicely drawn though the animations feel a little stiff sometimes. The spectators are fully animated too, giving an impressive aesthetic here! Also, the ball physics are pretty good, in such the ball doesn’t just go in straight lines but occasionally has a little swerve to it, and its bounce feels rather natural.
Sound is ok, offering all the usual SFX during the match, including sampled roars and gasps of the crowd. But when scoring, the crowd cheering is not that good as in other games of the genre I think. The main-menu tunes are fine too.