Developed by Panic Barn and published by No More Robots, Soccer Story is a crazy RPG dedicated to the world of football, filled with puzzles, dialogues, missions (main and side), a storyline to follow and, of course, football matches to win. We have saved the football up Nintendo Switch and this is ours review!
Soccer Story: One ball to set everyone free
Football has been banned from the world, no one can play football except in official matches authorized and controlled by the Soccer Inc. Since the “Magnet”, the sport has changed. Some words have become forbidden (woe to say “football”), some activities are even forbidden: soccer goals must rust, woe to throwing anything into them… especially if it’s a ball!
In this surreal scenery our adventure in Soccer Story comes to life. And it begins with a choice, namely the gender of the protagonist. Once you have chosen whether to be a man or a woman, the customization of the game ends there. No hair or skin color to change, we immediately take the field… oops, I meant: we enter the house!
Like every Pokémon self-respecting… ah no, this isn’t Pokémon… yet we find ourselves in our room, alone with our mother (the father has mysteriously disappeared). Also, setting the camera (fixed with top view) and the graphics that cunningly mix 2D and 3D do nothing but remind us of the atmospheres of old Pokémon.
But let’s go back to history, we said that this begins in our room where, very soon, we will be joined by a strange soccer ball that will literally break through our window. This ball it is decidedly strange, in fact, I dare say it is magical. The early stages of the game will lead us to chase the magic itemgetting to know the city where our protagonist lives and the iron control that Soccer Inc. has imposed practically everywhere, placing signs with bans (all related to football) and a series of referees (strictly numbered) as evil as they are idiots.
While looking for the ball, we will also discover that the avatar discarded at the beginning of the game has become our twin brother/s who will soon become part of our football team… ah no, of “goal”. Goal team. “Goal” you can say, referee, I checked! In any case, the goal ball sought us out for a reason: save the sport of soccer. we are therefore theelected who is charged with the onerous and exhilarating, as well as unsettling, task of restoring football to its former glory and to do so it will be necessary to create a team, earn fame and attention (winning the various tournaments in the areas to get to the Apple Cups) and overthrow the dominance of Soccer Inc.!
If that wasn’t clear enough, Soccer Story’s narrative works in his follyin his surrealism and in his way of entertaining and having fun. There is a lot self-irony, such as President Bob who uses the “teleporter” to move quickly from one area to another. And we want to talk about thecaptains” what else are they anthropomorphic animals with their vices worthy of sports stars? In short, Soccer Story is a well-finished product that makes irony one of its strong points, managing to provide the title with a respectable identity that manages to entertain from start to finish.
Soccer Story: How to kick a ball?
Soccer Story surprises for the typology of gameplay that he proposes, divided basically into several points. The first is the Pokémon-like one that sees us engaged in a macro map to explore almost freely with decidedly varied and well-maintained internal and external areas.
Not everything will be immediately accessible and here, for example, to proceed on sandy ground we will need special boots that will be unlocked by proceeding along the more linear path of the history. The bootson balance, act as Pokémon MN and offer, in addition to the possibility of unlocking certain new paths, also a series of skills of various kinds that make Soccer Story surprisingly deep and varied.
Just think about that you can summon, literally, the soccer ball when you prefer: with the single pressure of the “X” key, in fact, the ball will appear at your feet. You will be able to summon it indefinitely and be able to master it essential to proceed within the adventure.
Kick the ball, in Soccer Story, is mainly used to solve a series of environmental puzzles of various kinds: from hitting aerial targets to hitting elements at a great distance. Not to mention the “slip” of our hero; thanks to which you will be able to mow tufts of grass in search of gold coins useful for converting it into upgrades for your hero or the rest of the team. Always through the slip you will be able interact with certain objects or characters.
This variety in the gameplay is positive and enhances a system of main and secondary missions which, even if they don’t shine for pathos and seriousness, manage to give hours of fun. The world of Soccer Story is chock full of secrets and areas to explore, including some hidden and “visible” only by markings on the ground. These areas are also where the camera limps a little more, not always managing to follow the hero who inevitably hides behind the elements on the screen.
Not only does a ball live on football
There variety of Soccer Story also peeps out when the player is offered activities that it’s not just about football: so here you can find yourself on a golf course, and more! There is a lot to experience playfully speaking but, yes, sooner or later the time has come to take the field and here the game changes. We are not talking about FIFAnor Inazuma Eleven: Soccer Story does not offer precision and even the strategy lends itself to a system that is initially extremely chaotic to manageSoccer Story, in fact, is not very immediate, also thanks to an inconstant and not very exhaustive tutorial.
Don’t underestimate your opponents, even the team of “local infantscan overwhelm you with its fury. So scoring a goal turns out to be no joke: maneuver the chaos, learn to handle the ball, pass at the right moment and shoot! The commands on the field mirror those of exploration, but include the fact of being able rely on your team (you can change player). And this is where the look from comes into play Role playing game which, although simple, should not be underestimated.
Each character has a set of statistics: speed, throw, energy and strength. In addition to influencing on-field performance, these values also influence off-field activities. Speed, for example, guarantees a greater sprint both in the game and when we find ourselves running around in the mini open world.
Returning to field commands, you will directly control the character of your team that makes contact with the ball. The others will be managed by the AI (which doesn’t shine much). When you are in possession of the ball you can shoot, pass the ball or run with the sprint (which has a dedicated energy bar on the screen). Without the ball, you can make slides, switch players by pressing “B” (same key used for passing) and run with the sprint. Scoring is not easy and often you’ll find yourself shooting like hell to weaken the goalkeeper’s defences.
Last step on playful activities: Soccer Story, in addition to the matches, offers running/dribbling competitions, precision shooting, new challenges, 1vs1 clashes, a series of activities to be completed in multiplayer and many side missions (some of which will require us to look for collectibles from acorns to drop from trees to drones to shoot down with balls to much more).
The dark side of football
Soccer Story, sadly, isn’t without its flaws. The loading initial sometimes it was too long even if, on the other hand, the game does not have other loading phases (which is good). Of note are several episodes of crash (happened when talking to characters or leaving closed areas) and different bugs including the annoying reporting of completed missions which were however constantly marked as “still in progress”.
Also subtitles have some problems, with some sentences ending up off the screen and being unreadable. Other times, the name of the speaker does not match the speech, creating a lot of confusion in understanding who is saying what. In this regard, it should be noted that the title is entirely subtitled in Italian (absent dubbing) albeit with some errors.
Graphically Soccer Story mixes 2D and 3D in a smart but functional way. Part Pokémon, part Minecraft, the title manages to build its own identity without being a clone of similar titles such as Inazuma Eleven. The static artwork works well and the bright and lively color palette gives harmony to the game with a nice and effective system of lights and shadows, the animations. The sonorous defends itself well, offering pleasant effects and some cheerful and carefree tracks, in perfect harmony with the spirit of the title.