Forget real football players, since they’re generally very stupid and unnecessary: pick up ‘Slide Soccer’ where all you need are a few discs, a football pitch and your best sliding finger to score the best goal.
I’ve encountered a fair few variations on the theme of football games: some involve swiping to shoot the ball, some require a flicking motion to control the action, and some merely require the pressing of some on-screen buttons to give rise to the resulting actions in the game.
Slide Soccer comes from a different side of the game-mechanics universe. It’s all about the sliding motion in this one, with your finger controlling the action and the action looking somewhat like a cross between air-hockey and football. It’s simple, it’s challenging, and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t have multiplayer functionality. I’d forget live players if I were you; motionless discs make the perfect substitute for your average football player, and a simple slide is all it takes to turn the match around. Get your best sliding finger ready, as you’ll need it for the foreseeable future of the game.
A football game at its heart, Slide Soccer is a quaint mash-up of the aforementioned sport with hints of air hockey, foosball and even a touch of billiards/snooker. The ultimate aim of the game, like any football title, is to win by scoring the most goals. The movement of the ‘players’ is a little different in this instance however, since the players are actually represented by small, motionless discs decorated in your team’s colour, which do not move unless you apply direct force to them. This is achieved by pressing on your selected disc and dragging your finger back, showing a directional arrow which also indicates the power of your shot. Simply slide back to your preferred power and release to shoot the disc. You will find that you must manipulate both the ball as well as the other discs around you in order to be successful at the game. Using the angles and a moderate quantity of special judgement (and the occasional curve shot), you must blast your way across the pitch to get the ball to the goal on the opposite side. It’s that simple, you’ll kick yourself for thinking any differently.
While the core of the gameplay always remains in the format described above, the game offers several different gameplay modes and opportunities to bring some variation to the whole thing. ‘Quick Game’ allows you to face the game’s AI and get to grips with both your own movements and the likely movements of the opposing team’s discs. The game chooses the variables which are usually user-defined in order to create the quickest possible experience. One and two-player modes are also available, allowing you to set the parameters of a showdown between you and either the computer or an actual, real-life friend.
The game truly shines eternal with its multiplayer facility, however. In this mode, the gameplay remains the same as one or two-player, but you are now pitted via the Gamecentre against one of many opponents around the world that happen to have the simultaneous desire to enter into a Slide Football match with someone in the world that they don’t know. Because the principles of the gameplay are so remarkably simple yet wildly entertaining, situating the game within the realm of multiplayer functionality seems to work incredibly well, bringing fans of the game around the world together on a 1vs1 basis.
Don’t like it? Change It
In addition to its multifarious modes of gameplay, Slide Soccer manages to offer further choice to the player in terms of the many variables which set the parameters for each match. These variables range from the material that the football pitch is made from and the type of ball to the number of goals/minutes before the match ends, the formation of your team, the difficulty of the match, and the design of the tokens themselves. Sadly, you are required to pay for many of the options such as an icy stadium or rugby/golf balls to grace the pitch with, but you can get along fine without these optional extras. Many of the variables have the effect of changing the pace of the ball and its behaviour on the pitch, transforming the experience somewhat and changing the physics of the gameplay.
You are also able to control the format in which turns are taken, starting with the classic turn-based, one-after-the-other option and going on to ‘Real Time’, where turns are taken as they happen and no waiting between goes. ‘Time’ mode gives each player a certain amount of time to make as many moves as possible; ‘Total’ allows you to set the movements of all of your tokens before their turn is taken, and ‘Strategic’ allows you control of any number of your tokens and the advent of a ‘play’ button which sets in motion the moves you have made. As you can see, there is no shortage of variation within the gameplay itself, which should keep the whole game fresher for longer, like a well-chilled casserole of entertainment in the fridge of mobile gaming. It simply works
Ooo, SO close
It can’t all be bunnies and rainbows, however, and the thing that turns the sugar and spice into things that are distinctly not nice is the incessant advertising which is forced upon you as part of the whole ‘Freemium’ experience. Though adverts are necessary to keep things free, I think I’d rather pay a little for the game and have it without them because the frequency at which they pop up makes it feel like I’ve gone forward fifty years into a dystopian world where adverts are streamed directly onto my retinas. No thanks, Slide Football, I don’t enjoy you that much.
Positive vibes: Excellent tutorial, clever concept, choice of variables, amazing multiplayer
Negative jibes: Adverts. Adverts. Adverts. Adverts.