Gamevil is one of the most respected developers on iOS. Very rarely do they put out content that doesn’t radiate depth, thought, and their Korean culture. Most known for their RPGS and fantasy simulation sports games, their latest product has arrived in Soccer Superstars 2012. Our last look at this series was nearly two years ago with Soccer Superstars, and we’re curious to see how the progression has continued since then.
Those familiar with Gamevil know their sports offerings can be intimidating. There are so many options and ways to play that the open-ended approach can turn off casual players. Besides playing the actual game of soccer here, you have micromanagement elements all over the place. You’ll be leveling up your team, creating players, signing players, drafting players, and it can all seem overwhelming. Soccer Superstars 2012, to its credit, has a guided tutorial for almost everything. From gameplay to the general manager responsibilities, the game does a reasonable job of explaining how its systems work. There are areas that can be improved, but we’ll have more on that front shortly.
Customize to your heart’s content.
Gameplay systems have been expanded to include more foundational elements of soccer. Now you can do through balls, evasive skill moves, and more defensive pressure with pressing. The virtual buttons now have labels that change depending on whether you’re on offense or defense. All things considered, the play on the pitch is still solid and the functional additions are welcome. Also new is the option to play as the entire team (Total Play) or only your created player (Chance Play) in every match. Total Play is nothing new; it’s what you’ve always played. Chance Play on the other hand is a big fat misstep. This mode is simulated until the ball is in your player’s possession with an opportunity to score. The problem is 95% of the game will be simulated and there’s little gameplay interaction.
Four main modes make up the experience in Soccer Superstars 2012: League Match, Cup Match, Event Match, and Quick Match. Like all Gamevil sports titles, you’ll have plenty of content to play through–we’re talking dozens of hours. It’s a free-to-play game, though, and there are hooks all throughout the game to get you to spend cash. Sure you can play the game without ever pumping physical money into it, but you will run into teams that have double or triple your skill attributes. If you want to compete, you’ll need to open your wallet for gold and stars to upgrade your talent.
And that’s how it’s done.
As deep as Soccer Superstars 2012 is, the attention to detail and polish we’re used to isn’t here this time around. For starters, you can’t play the game without being online. We’re sure the developers have their reasons for this, but it is a dealbreaker for someone trying to play on the go without a 3G connection (e.g. iPod Touch, Wi-Fi iPad, poor reception etc.).
The camera view is too close, and that’s a huge problem because you’re firing off many more blind passes than before. This is especially annoying on the iPhone where so much of the screen is already compromised by your two thumbs. Of all the customization options in the game, the camera is not one you can adjust. Finally, the menus and text are hit and miss. There are several typos and grammar issues in the tutorials, text overruns graphical bubbles, and the UI feels cluttered and unrefined. With this game demanding players spend so much time on the micromanagement side of the house, Gamevil has to do better than what has been served up.
Fans of this series will still find fun, and the game has never looked better with visuals optimized for Retina displays. We encourage you to see if it scratches that soccer itch as the UEFA tournament winds down. If you’re remotely interested, check out it out; it’s free to play.