Sep 21, 2010
Who would have thought the game of soccer would one day be played with hands only? Gamevil certainly did and they have convinced the little green Android that Soccer Superstars, their latest addition to the Android Market, is the way to do it.
I wouldn’t consider myself a vuvuzela weilding uber soccer fan but I do enjoy the game so I was eager to try this out. Demoing this RPG style sports game became sort of an oxymoron considering there were more features than, well, this thing:
I soon found myself so invested into the story of my character that I couldn’t seem to put down the game until finally my battery died (never been more relieved to see my battery die). There are many different options and ways to play this game, which makes for tremendous replay value, but don’t get too excited just yet because it does have some pitfalls.
The first thing you will notice about the game in the opening scene is the anime-style graphics. These give the game a more casual and fun feel. After a quick click, you enter the main menu screen where you can choose from the 5 options: About, Edit, Game Start, Help, and Options. About, Help, and Options are pretty much self explanatory so I won’t go into details. The Edit options gives you the ability to edit the names and positions of all 78 listed teams, which in itself makes for hours of name-inventing fun.
The Game Start menu opens up to the 5 different game modes offered for play. These include: Exhibition, My League, Season, Cup and Dramatic Mode. Let’s take a look at what each mode has to offer:
- Exhibition – In exhibition mode you choose a team, an opponent and a super player. Super players are special characters who each have different abilities. Once selected you can choose to begin the match, manage your team, view opponent info, select strategy settings or edit match settings (Did I mention this game has more features than an android powered device). You can fiddle with all the options for hours or if you’re like me just start playing and figure out the rest later.
- My League – Here’s where the RPG fun begins. The story begins with a customizable personal player who is beginning his soccer career as a lonely rookie. Take him through a series of training, matches, events, special items and coach lectures to enhance his performance and moral with the goal of transforming this once isolated rookie into a confident veteran soccer superstar. With a 13 season maximum and guaranteed 7 season minimum My League’s RPG styled game play mode will keep you completely absorbed for hours upon hours (you have been warned).
- Season Mode – In season mode you choose a team and manage them through a whole season in search of becoming league champions, on road to the glory of a cup championship. You can even use your My League player during the season mode by registering them as a legendary player. Fully equipped with the usual barrage of features this mode adds even more hours of game play if you dare.
- Cup Mode – Cup mode gives you a choice of 5 short tournaments to play in. Dominate your way through the International, European, American, Asian and Gamevil cups and collect all 5 trophies to prove you’ve got game.
- Dramatic Mode – Last but not least we have the Dramatic Mode which gives you the opportunity to relive the most memorable international soccer moments in history. See how you react in these high pressure games and earn rewards for your success.
Gamevil really did a good job with the seemingly endless gameplay value of “Soccer Superstars” but how IS the gameplay? Well.. here’s where we get those pitfalls I was talking about. The graphics and the game itself ran extremely smooth on my Motorola Droid. I had absolutely no issues with lag and I really can say this was one of the smoothest games to date that I have played on my device. I was very impressed with that fact. The problems I have mostly arise when it comes to the controls.
For controls you can either use the touchscreen or keys/d-pad to control your player. The help and options claim to have two options for controlling your players movement: manual and semi-automatic, but I found there to be no difference between the two. You will notice right away that your player pretty much moves on his own. You can direct him but he still seems to be automatic. This becomes very frustrating and doesn’t make for a fun experience. You are also supposed to have 2 modes of movement: a normal mode and a dash mode. You are supposed to be able to dash by simply holding down on the directional pad or screen. This really is hit or miss and I couldn’t find any sort of consistency, making you feel even more powerless over the controls. Then you have the button controls.
There are 3 buttons, an A, B, and S all of which have their own assignment for offense and defense. On offense the A button will pass, B will shoot, and S is allocated to Super Players and My Players which allows them to Super Shoot or use Skill. Each mode of attack can be increased by holding the button until maximum power is achieved and then releasing. Again, not consistent at all. I found that the button controls rarely acted as you intend and sometimes didn’t act at all. As for defense I didn’t really experience any problems. A is for adding pressure to an opponent or charging and B is used to tackle, clear ball (defender), and goal kick(goalkeeper).
Different modes offer variations and some other controls such as camera views and calling for a pass but all in all I found the game controls to be so frustrating to the point of not wanting to even bother. After experimenting for a while I found the best way to play the game is to forget about trying to control your player. Let the game and automatic movements do their thing and just concentrate on the button controls (passing and shooting). This was the only way I was able to actually enjoy playing the game when it came to the actual sport part of the game. If you sit back and just let the players automatically move you almost get the feel of a real soccer game. I found the back and forth ping pong action really characteristic of watching real life soccer. The in-game AI made for competitive game play with there being no real pure domination by either side which I found to be a nice change from some games I’m used to playing.
All-in-all Soccer Superstars is a fun, feature filled, option loaded RPG style arcade sports game that will keep you busy for a long time and has really impressed me with its fluidity. The controls could use some improvement which would give this game a solid 5 star rating in my opinion but for now seems to be the only thorn in its side.
Soccer Superstars Review Rundown8.5Graphics / Sound - Very smooth and fun anime graphics. Sound during game play pretty realistic. Menu sound a tad monotonous.4Game Controls - More like lack of control.8.5Gameplay - With so many features and options, especially its RPG style modes, you really become captivated.9Replay Value - With all the different modes Soccer Superstars provides almost endless gameplay as long as the controls don't force you to give up.8.5Overall - One of the most fluid games I've played. Potentially endless replay value. Improved controls move this game to a 9-10.