Even with the World Cup frenzy starting to taper off due to our US national team falling to the hands of the floptacular Ghana squad, there’s still reason to celebrate. Soccer seems to be growing in popularity among US sports fans; local bars and pubs around our neighborhood have been packed. Not one to miss out on a unique opportunity, Gamevil has recently launched Soccer Superstars, their take on the world’s most popular sport. Does Gamevil continue their streak of excellence, or does this one veer left of the goal?
Soccer Superstars stands on the shoulders of the fantastic Baseball Superstars franchise. Mixing arcade gameplay with simulation-style modes and micromanagement was a winning combination netting Baseball Superstars sales of over 10 million copies. That formula has been successfully translated over to Soccer Superstars.
Responsive and intuitive controls are crucial with fluid sports Ike soccer, and Soccer Superstars completely delivers here. Using an on-screen joystick and 3 buttons feels completely natural, making this game a cinch to pick up and play. Offensively, there are buttons to shoot, pass and fire off a skill shot. Just like in Baseball Superstars, you must select an all-star ringer who can run and shoot harder than anyone else. Another thing that makes these ringers unique is their ability to blast off a “Super Shot,” a nearly impossible shot to defend against. Playing solid defense is great too. Holding a button initiates an auto defense scheme, which has the closest defender to the ball jockey for a steal. When times get especially tense, tackling ball handlers is an option as well; be wary of picking up a yellow or red card though. Anyway you kick it, Soccer Superstars plays an amazing game of soccer.
Quiddich meets the World Cup.
Gamevil is known for packing their games full of value, and Soccer Superstars is no exception. There are a plethora of gameplay modes: Exhibition (play a one-off game), Season Mode (32 game league), Cup Mode (World Cup inspired), My League (develop a created player) and our favorite: Dramatic Mode. What makes Dramatic Mode so awesome is that it’s a collection of do-or-die scenarios. Missions like converting the winning goal on a penalty kick, or scoring a goal on a powerhouse nation to earn a tie mixes things up nicely. It’s no exaggeration to suggest that the combination of these modes will give you hours upon hours of gameplay. As the proverbial cherry on top, you can play as dozens of countries and edit the rosters to your heart’s content. So if you want to place David Beckham, Ronaldo and Landon Donavan on the team, nothing is stopping you. Sports heads will eat this up, but it’d be even better if rosters were sharable.
Soccer Superstars completely impresses with it’s graphics as well. The anime-inspired visuals are sharp, and the characters move like a convincing game of soccer. The ball physics appear solid, and watching it bounce all over the place shows that nothing is canned. Another apt touch is a mini-map giving perspective of the entire field. Figuring out where to dribble and pass becomes more strategic and deliberate with that touch.
We’re not the biggest soccer aficionados, but that’s not required to enjoy this game. But if you are, the ability to tinker with attacking formations and other strategic options should keep you satisfied too. Soccer Superstars is a feature or two shy from being the complete perfect package. Nitpickers can look to the exclusion of multiplayer or achievements as something to hang over this game’s head. But with loads of fun content to dig through, Soccer Superstars is right up there with the best sports games on the iPhone.