A Miniclip Masterpiece
If you’ve played more than just a few online flash games in your time, chances are you’ve trodden your virtual footsteps in the jurisdiction of Miniclip.com. One of the most popular flash gaming sites around, Miniclip and its staff are no stranger to quality, addictive gaming, and their talents apparently transfer very well to the mobile market, demonstrated primarily by their mobile soccer masterpiece, Soccer Stars. A billiards-like affair in its gameplay format, Soccer Stars has you commanding players on a field, though these players are actually Subbuteo-style spheres that must be pushed around on screen. Sound a little west of sensible? This review hopes to clarify a few things for you.
In contrast to the gameplay of other soccer games like PikPok’s hugely popular Flick Kick Football, Soccer Stars’ approach is very much based on multiplayer play. Further distancing itself from traditional soccer titles, this game’s entire mechanic is based on viewing the action from a birds-eye perspective from which you are able to see the players on yours and your opponent’s team. These players aren’t people like you would expect however: they are circular markers donning your team’s colour, each one representing a player on the field. The goal here is to score by flicking and bouncing these orbs off each other and the sides in order to get the ball into the net on the opposing side.
The controls are touch-screen based, controlling the five players on your team with a drag-based mechanic. You drag backwards on each disc to denote the power for the shot, and you can either aim with the same finger or use a finger on the other hand to choose the direction in which you’ll be guiding the ball.
The menu layout in this game makes it quite obvious that its developer, Miniclip.com, is working with a generic layout for more than one of their sports games. In fact, the layout of the 1v1, Tournament, Minigames, and “Play With Friends” sections are virtually identical to fellow Miniclip Sports game 8-Ball Pool. Also identical is the currency system, which consists of the lower-value coins (these can be earnt in abundance through playing games/tournaments) and the premium currency: cash.
Though you can earn tiny bits of the cash currency in the game, the only way to get enough to afford the premium teams, formations, and turns in the mini games is to actually purchase a heap of it with your own money. But in spite of the in-app purchase bottleneck, Soccer Stars remains very addictive, and it’s down to the pursuit of coins and the items you can buy with them.
Purchasing superior teams with advantageous force, aim, and shot times can allow you to get ahead of your opponents, and there are some whose discs just look plain cool. Different formations allow you to begin in better positions as well. Levelling up as you gain experience is also part of the game; this will ensure opponents of similar skill will be selected for your matches.
Vs. The Real Thing
Don’t expect epic 10-0 matches or 9-9 encounters in Soccer Stars though– whether you’re playing a tournament or a one-on-one session, the number of goals that denotes victory for the first team that gets there is a measly two. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you factor in the billiards-like format, it takes a little longer to get two goals scored than you may think. It’s also not quite the same as the flicking action of official Subbuteo, as purists will be more than hasty to point out, but it’s probably the closest it gets to Subbuteo on the mobile platform.
Much like real-life Subbuteo, there are numerous ways you can play the colourful and simply-designed Soccer Stars. 1 vs 1 matches can be good if you’re in a hurry, though Tournaments are where you are able to rack up some more serious coinage. The mini-games aren’t really Subbuteo or even soccer-related in format, but there is a trading card-like minigame where you buy card packs – bronze, silver, or gold packs are on hand if the price is right – which contain coins as well as other prizes like “Team Pieces”, which when collected as a set unlock different teams.
Now, it’s not clear whether Soccer Stars is “Subbuteo” enough in nature to please the likes of say, the English Subbuteo Association, but for the casual football or Subbuteo fan, Soccer Stars is quite a safe bet. 10 million downloads is a hard line on the résumé to argue with, and these numbers were more than likely racked up as a result of the game’s unique billiards-like gameplay combined with a very simple yet professional-looking interface. These features combine with the multiplayer-focused approach to make for a supreme soccer-themed experience found in few games at http://www.myfootballgames.co.uk/category/7/Soccer-Games/1.html and should have just enough Subbuteo style in it to please fans of the much-loved table-top game.