I feel like I’ve been playing a lot of Gamevil games recently; Air Penguin sucking up the “waiting” times, while Soccer Superstars 2011 has been sucking up the rest of my time.
And with good reason: Soccer Superstars 2011 may as well be the next, great sports game on the iPhone. Before this, I’ve been playing Madden NFL 11—that’s right, 2011—on my iPhone, as it was the only sports game that really was enjoyable for me. I love soccer as well, but all of the soccer games on the App Store are pretty outdated, starting with X2 Football 2010.
I do see some glaring issues with Soccer Superstars though. So far, after 6 hours of play, it has crashed on me twice causing me to start over whatever game I was playing. Along with that, Gamevil continues to apply the horrid, extremely small buttons in the UI along with the extremely small text. On top of that, the controls are slightly off in that whenever I try to change direction, it takes about half a second to switch. And when a defender is in front of you, that’s a bit too late, as the ball has already been stolen from you.
Restoring your condition after every game is a bit of a nuisance as well, on top of the whole “you look tired, I’m going to bench you” sort of thing that appears in the My League mode.
And while that looks like a large pile of bad things compared to a small pile of good things, Soccer Superstars 2011 is still, probably, one of the best soccer games to date.
Improved: I never played Soccer Superstars 2010 for a lot of reasons, starting with the controls and frustrating UI. While Gamevil went on to fix the controls, by that time, the game had already been deleted from my phone and that was that. While the controls here need a very slight improvement, it’s come a long way from the controls found in the first edition. On top of that, there’s that it factor in here that wasn’t in the first one; I don’t feel compelled at all to delete this game. In fact, this is probably my most played game on my phone as of this instance.
Content: The content here is endless, considering that in the My League mode—the mode I’ve been playing the most—you go from Year 1 to Year 2 to Year 3, etc. There’s really no end to it, and it’s pretty realistic for a cartoony soccer game. Each year is different, with you trying to win the championship at the end (kind of like winning the Super Bowl). On top of that, there is the season mode, match play (some variant of online multiplayer), dramatic mode (solve missions and earn G points), and the exhibition mode. For $4.99, you’re getting a boatload of content and lots and lots of “productive” hours.
Small annoyances: There are a lot of nitpicky annoyances in the league mode, especially the times when “Chance!” comes up on the screen. You can switch from playing only when you have the ball or just watching the game unfold before you; the latter being the much better choice. But it also comes with its problems, as there are times when those chances come up and you’re either offsides, someone else has the ball, or you are nowhere near the ball. Other small annoyances include the offsides rule itself. One time I was shooting the ball and it happened to hit one of my players; that player was “offsides”, and even though I was shooting and not passing the ball, it was still called as offsides.
Another annoyance is the clock. I’m shooting the ball, it reflects off the goalkeeper, and right when I’m about to shoot the ball again, it says “Halftime”. That has happened to me a numerous amount of times, and it does get pretty annoying. Especially when you lose by one goal and know that it could have been a draw.
And yet another annoyance: stamina and “condition”. I’m currently in Year 5 and I have to recover my condition every single time after a game. And even though I recover my condition, it doesn’t really do much. And it gets even more frustrating when your guy gets taken out 30 minutes into the game, and with no goals or attempts, your morale, popularity, reputation, etc. all go down because of it. I really, REALLY hope Gamevil strongly considers removing this feature because 1) it’s useless and 2) it’s annoying.
UI: The text is too small, the buttons are too small, and the main menu is too confusing. This has been a main problem with most Gamevil games, and while it’s a bit better in Soccer Superstars 2011, it still does bother at times.
Soccer Superstars is an extremely fun game. I would go right on ahead and give it that coveted Must Have award, but there are those small, nitpicky annoyances in there that prevent me from doing so. I’ve spent hours upon hours playing this game, and while a huge improvement over the previous edition, it still needs some work, especially on the whole stamina and condition thing. But other than that, for $4.99, you’re getting at least 6 hours of simple, soccer fun.