It took us way too long to realise why we’re getting an ‘America vs Europe’ of Super Soccer Blast. In the past year alone, we’ve had Super Soccer Blast and Super Sports Blast, which had a Super Soccer Blast tucked inside of it, so why this and why now? You might have realised before we did: this has been released to coincide with the Copa America and Euro 2020 – albeit a year late. If FIFA can do the cynical re-release, why not Super Soccer Blast?
What you’re getting for your money is the original Super Soccer Blast, but with those two tournaments slapped on top. You can play any of the teams in the Copa America or Euro 2020, and follow their path to glory from group stages to final. Having run through the Euros a few times, we can confirm that Turkey and the Czech Republic are dark horses and will run away with the whole thing (maybe not Turkey).
There’s a fair few asterisks here, though. While the groups are correct, the order of matches isn’t. For reasons we can’t fathom, it’s not been replicated perfectly, and opening matches are in the wrong order (England start against the Czech Republic, for example), and knockout matches are between the wrong teams. When you consider that Super Soccer Blast: America vs Europe’s sole reason-for-being is to coincide and capitalise on the two big tournaments, it’s kind of inexcusable.
It goes without saying that you’re not getting an official product here either, so the player names are way off. There are some nice Sensible Soccer-style replacements for about five of the players – Ivo Bramovich leisurely strolls about at the front of Sweden’s attack – but the rest are generic. Credit to Unfinished Pixel, then, for packing in a full (and awesome, frankly) avatar, team and name editor, so you can work into the wee hours making sure that Phil Foden’s got exactly the right Gazza buzzcut.
This is an international version of Super Soccer Blast, so you’re at least getting the right team names. Argentina can’t sue for using their name, after all. The kits are mostly on point too, but – heinously – there’s no second kit for each team, so if you’re playing England vs Germany then you’ll need your binos out to try to spot the difference between the men in white. It’s game-crippling at times.
Otherwise, Super Soccer Blast: America vs Europe is – as far as we can tell – identical to Super Soccer Blast.
It clearly knows that it can’t compete with the big names, so it offers something simple, immediate and colourful. With the editor and the ability to mix and match with male and female players, this is one of the better (and more affordable) choices for a younger player who is more interested in creating their family as footballers, rather than roleplaying as Kylian Mbappe.
For anyone who expects a little more from their football games, though, Super Soccer Blast: America vs Europe is a mixed bag. It has some nice arcadey touches that might make it an after-pub diversion, but it’s too rough-edged on the gameplay and lacking key features to be anything more than that.
We got some flashbacks to Olympic Soccer on the PS1, as Super Soccer Blast: America vs Europe is the brand of footballer that revels in the longshot. There’s a satisfying, arcadey heft to a shot, and you can take a punt from the halfway line and still force the goalkeeper into a save and resulting corner. We lost count of the number of times that we bicycle-kicked out of defence and accidentally notched a shot on target, as the ball looped toward the opposition goal. We’re clearly not in sim territory here, but once you understand what Super Soccer Blast: America vs Europe is prioritising, it can make multiplayer games a laugh.
Everyone connects with the ball like they’re Matt Le Tissier, and we’ve scored some absolute worldies in Super Soccer Blast: America vs Europe. The cross-and-head, too, is a silver bullet for unlocking any defence. Hoof it into the box and your striker will thunder it into the top corner. Again, it’s part of the arcade and high-scoring charm.
But for all these quirky positives, a few things pull it down. The AI is fine when the ball is at a player’s feet: if it’s on yours, they will hound you and pressure with gegenpressing, and if it’s on theirs then they’ll make decent attacks. But the moment the ball is loose, the AI loses its damn mind. They will be dumbstruck, letting you past without a keeper rush or interception in sight. Sometimes they will spin on the spot, trying to shake loose the existential dread of a loose-ball by chasing their tail.
And while the various passes, lobs and shots are all present and powerful, there’s a weird auto-assist at play that feels off. You will spot a raking long pass, but the game won’t let you action it, as it’s locked onto someone closer. For a younger player, this assist will be a godsend, but it’s a training wheel too far for an adult player, and there’s no ability to change it. Switching between players feels similarly difficult.
If we were to summarise how Super Soccer Blast: America vs Europe plays, it’s chunky and powerful, with every shot and pass absolutely pummelled. But it’s also slow and lumbering, and you never feel completely in control. You end up feeling like you have a team of Harry Maguires, rather than someone with a touch more finesse.
Basic features are missing too. Even stuff you’d expect from, well, any football game. There are no offsides, and no red or yellow cards, so goal-hang and hack to your heart’s content. Score and you won’t be able to watch a replay, or view a summary screen to check the current scorers. They’re all weird omissions, particularly when you consider it’s the third iteration of the game, and they wouldn’t take long to implement.
We’d struggle to say that Super Soccer Blast: America vs Europe is actually bad. You’ll score some absolute bangers, and the basics of attacking and defending are handled well. There’s even an argument for it being a My First FIFA for a younger player, thanks to a cracking customisation system.
But it’s too slimline for a game that’s on its third release, and the glaring issues should really have been fixed by now. Super Soccer Blast: America vs Europe just about makes it through the group stages, but gets unceremoniously dumped out in the first of the knockout matches.
You can buy Super Soccer Blast: America vs Europe for £8.39 from the Xbox Store for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S