There are times when a game can be judged completely by its title. Grand Theft Auto for instance started out life as a car stealing sim. Assassin’s Creed delves deep into the inner sanctum of stabby stabby land. The FIFA series covers the beautiful game with a fully licensed replica.
Super Party Sports: Football therefore should be a great little football party game – one which you can play with a load of mates, beer in hand before beginning a decent night out. Or, it could be a physics based soccer puzzler.
Not for one minute was I expecting it to be like the latter.
Handy Games have a background in mobile only titles, with Super Party Sports: Football being their first foray onto the big screen and our super powerful consoles. You would therefore allow them to bring a little of what they know over to the other side of the table, but I’m not sure I was expecting a game that was so much like a mobile title.
Super Party Sports: Football gives you a football and tasks you with firing the wee ball around 100 stages, earning trophies and coins along the way. With a rival team in your way, you’ll need to blast the ball through the unsuspecting defenders in order to power it up sufficiently so that the man in the sticks, the one with the gloves, stands no chance at parrying it out for a corner. It’s a world away from any football game that you would have played before, but honestly speaking, it’s been fairly decent fun. To an extent.
You set out by choosing your team. Now, your choice here makes next to no difference in regards the rest of the gameplay as all you are deciding is which colour shirt and shorts your large headed cartoon like characters will be adorned with. As is the way with any cup, there are 32 international teams to choose from, each with their respective kits in place, but should you play through Super Party Sports: Football enough, then you’ll be able to unlock further kits, humourous hats and crazy beach wear. For the most part, my boring old 40 year brain told me to venture no further than the plain white of England though. Humour is well over rated!
Once you’ve decided on your team and kit of choice, you’re greeted with ten different cups, all of which will need unlocking should you wish to progress further. Each contains no less than ten unique stages, and it’ll be up to you to use your wit and skills to gather all three of the trophies that are available for each stage. Initially, that is relatively easy to do as the well designed and cleverly thought out puzzles that you need to kick your ball through are simple enough to start off with. Using the right stick to give you an overview of the level, working out your best way through is essential but from there on in, it’s a bit of a battle against the clock.
Whilst your players can’t move, the ball obviously can and it’ll be up to you to ping the ball between your team in order to reach the goal at the end of the stage. With each despatch of an opponent adding time to your ever decreasing shot clock, the quicker you fire off those precise kicks, the easier it’ll be for you to acquire all three trophies. Time is key, but without precision and a fairly well thought out plan, you’ll fail over and over again…and treated to a Gazza style breakdown along the way.
Succeed however and you’ll move your way through the stages and cups until you eventually reach Cup ten, round ten. If you manage to do this, then you’re a better man than me as I began to seriously struggle with the delicate timekeeping and frustrating power meter that is dropped into each stage. With the latter cups only unlocked once you earn enough trophies on the lower stages, you’ll find you need to repeat many of the stages over and over again, learning the best route possible, whilst attempting to get through in the quickest time that you can.
Super Party Sports: Football begins off as a fun, light hearted look at the beautiful game. It does however quickly transcend into a frustrating and sometimes baffling game of five-a-side. This is down in no small part to the super twitchy control scheme which, whilst no doubt being prime on mobile, doesn’t translate brilliantly to the Xbox One controller. Using the left stick to both aim your shot and control the power of your kick doesn’t allow for precision and leaves you with firing the ball at full power around the levels in the hope that one of your team will grab the ball. There is a little more precision allowed when using the d-pad, but this is slower and the constantly ticking timer doesn’t allow for slow play. If only there was the option to control the power of the shot via the bumpers, triggers, or face buttons, then Football wouldn’t get as frustrating as it is.
And that’s a bit of a shame because the ideas that are included are decent. Numerous ball types, destructible platforms and cunningly placed spikes bring about a huge degree of tactical fun and the physics are pretty well spot on, allowing for a well detailed plan to give you half a chance of glory. The inclusion of tougher players and an eagle eyed ref who will happily send off your player should he see you committing fouls, allow for the game to evolve as you play. Thankfully, if you find yourself struggling too much on any one level, then the coins you’ve earned in previous levels can be used to stop the ref or the bully boys from inflicting too much pain, whilst a similarly placed ‘power up’ gives extra seconds should you be needing them.
There are times when you’ll get away with just blasting the ball with as much ferocity as possible, but that’ll only be on the early levels, after which a plan will be key. Or at least it should be if the controls included in Super Party Sports: Football allowed it to.
Handy Games should however be applauded for a decent initial offering onto the Xbox One market. They’re not going to win any awards for Super Party Sports: Football, but it is worth a bit of a look if you looking for something a little different…just remember to look past the finicky controls. If you’re expecting a new hot football title to rival the likes of FIFA 16 or PES 2016, then you couldn’t be further from the truth.
As a mobile game, I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up Super Party Sports: Football. But on Xbox One? Well…it is at least something different and the price makes it a bit of a tempter.