World Soccer Review (iOS)
You know it’s coming don’t you? Not only do we have the FIFA World Cup this year but the Commonwealth Games as well. Prepare for the shovel-ware! Loads of “games” branded with these sports trying to cash in and steal your hard earned dosh. Well, we at CalmDownTom seem to have come across and anomaly – a free football themed game that’s got some good things going for it.
World Soccer is a “match three” type game with a football theme from one man Indie studio Triple B Games. The game is played on the iPad and is split in half. The idea of world soccer is that you pick a national football team and start to match three objects from your area. You are playing against an opponent who is doing likewise. In between both of your playing areas is a wee football pitch complete with goalposts and twenty-two little itty bitty men and the better you play your match three game, the better your team will play football. The object is therefore to match three as best you can in order to help your chosen football team win. And that’s it – that’s the game. It’s a simple and interesting concept which it pulls off with varying degrees of success.
World soccer has single and two player modes. Playing the game solo allows you to either play a quick game or world cup tournament against an AI opponent. This brings up one of the issues with the game. The AI seems to zip through the match three process with no difficulties whatsoever. The algorithm seems to have been built with no flaws and no difficulty scale. The AI will carry on regardless of whether it is playing as Brazil or Scotland. The only visible difference seems to be the wee football team it controls. This means that if your match three skills are not as good as a computer programme, you are going to battle to win a game of football. Now, as off-putting as that notion is, you will find yourself actually liking the game. This is because the whole “match three” mechanic is well done. The fact that this is now a timed test of your observation skills and the outcome will affect your team adds a sense of urgency and responsibility to ensure you do your best not to “let the side down”.
Where World Soccer truly shines though is the two player mode. Playing head to head against your friends means that the dodgy AI issue is taken out of the picture and the addictive little match three gameplay can take centre field. Adding the competitive element in the form of the football score is a genius move that allows brings out the “best two out of three” response from the losing player. The game is easy to pick up and teach and has already provided this reviewer and friends with a good couple of hours of fun.
World Soccer, however, is not without a few flaws. There is no tutorial for the game at all. Now, I know I said the game is east to learn but there is no explanation to how your matching three helps your chosen team so no strategies can be employed. There are also three powerups you can use during a game. These are never explained so as far as I can figure out one shows possible items to match, one refreshes your game board and the last one is a free kick which I still have no idea what that does. This could be all cleared up with a wee “how to play” section that has a few bullet points explaining these things.
World Soccer is living proof that if you get the gameplay experience right, the rest doesn’t matter as much. I’d love to see a patch for the game that makes the single player mode a bit fairer and a tutorial “thing” to make it an awesome little game. As it stands right now though, World Soccer is still deserving of your time despite its shortcomings. The fact that this little free game stands head and shoulder above some of the rubbish you need to pay for is testament to the solid effort put in by the developer.
3 balls hitting the post out of 5