Is this worth a kick-around?
It’s been a year since The Calamity tore apart the very foundations of soccer as we know it, and since then, Soccer Inc. has made dang well sure that not a soul has been allowed to even look at a soccer ball, let alone kick it. Soccer may have been banned across the world… but now there is hope! A magical soccer ball has chosen you, our Saviour of Soccer! Soccer Story is a physics-driven adventure RPG, where every problem can be solved with your trusty magic ball. Along the way, you’ll need to best bad guys in 1v1s, compete in a range of different sports (with your soccer ball, of course), and sometimes use your brain just as much as your balls. In a world that has long forgotten The Beautiful Game, can you remind them why soccer is top of the table, and best the most formidable teams, including the local toddlers and a group of sharks
At the time of writing, England are still in the World Cup. All is good and then there’s a Football RPG that has the potential to be great, but does it deliver it to the back of the net?
It’s hard to say that it doesn’t. The great thing about Soccer Story is that you don’t even need to be good at football games to enjoy it. You will play 5-a-side or 1v1 matches throughout the game but the real heart of the game comes the world itself and the puzzles/quests you’ll need to complete in order to take on the evil Soccer Inc and its leader “Bep Jatter”. I’m not kidding, that’s really his name. If they do a sequel we need a parody character of Gianni Infantino, maybe saying that “He feels…pixelated” …
Your character will run about different areas of the land like the beach, woodland, athletic city and even a town full of ninjas. There’s a good sense of humour to be found here and the puzzles are simple but fun overall. You will gain upgrades for your character and your teammates that will allow you to run faster or shoot higher, which you will need for certain puzzle targets in the overworld. These can be bought from vending machines for coins you find or you can get them by completing side-quests like scoring in every potential goal in an area or hitting all the hidden targets.
There are also a few mini-game events like golf and track and field events that will also award you upgrades if you beat the hardest level of them. Matches themselves are 4 minutes long if you are 5v5 or 3 minutes if you are 1v1 and the controls are simple enough and the AI’s difficulty can be adjusted at any time so you can either give yourself a challenge or make it easy for yourself and annihilate them.
I did come across a few bugs that I hope will get fixed soon. The first essentially made me do a full reset of the game since it wouldn’t let me talk to an NPC to progress the story. Luckily for me it was within the first hour, so repeating that didn’t take half as long the second time.
Another was that I got locked into the golf mini-game without any menus or controls so I had to exit the game through the Xbox dashboard and restart it, but it worked fine the next time I tried. The visuals are simple but charming and it works well overall. The framerate is solid and load times are essentially non-existent. The soundtrack is subtle but gets the job done.
I found Soccer Story to be a highly enjoyable experience from beginning to end. It has a nice story, decent puzzles and side-quests, mini-games and simple controls for the matches. It has a few bugs that need ironed out, but it definitely scores highly for me. And the best news is that you can get it on Xbox Game Pass right now!