There are plenty of generalised football/soccer games out there, but very few catering to the niche market of die-hard Subbuteo fans who just want something resembling their table-top passion to occupy space on their smartphone. Of the handful of apps out there that are worthy enough to live up to the most fanatical of Subbuteo players’ expectations, Slide Soccer is most certainly one that fits the bill almost to perfection. Taking after its successful competitor – the much-loved and prolifically downloaded Soccer Stars – Slide Soccer offers up some highly enjoyable flick-based football mechanics and furnishes the experience with some much-welcome extra content and variables like additional ball types, layered difficulty, and a variety of playing surfaces.
Slide Soccer’s gameplay is one of the closest experiences you can get to table-top Subbuteo on the mobile platform. Leaving aside for a second its various modes and also the impressive level of control you are afforded over many different variables (playing surface, ball type, formation, and also the choice between multiplayer and single-player modes), your aim in each match is simply to score more goals than your opponent. The team that reaches the (adjustable) goal limit first emerges the victor. Much like Subbuteo, you have a pitch that is populated with items that are representative of players – in this case, coloured discs that you must flick in whichever direction you want.
The input mechanics are drag-based, requiring you to tap on the disc of your choice, drag backwards/forwards to choose the power of your shot, and release to “flick” the disc in the direction you’ve chosen. A useful visual guide to the direction and power of your shots is provided by the on-screen arrows, which deliver dynamic feedback. In other words, the arrows change direction and length according to your input instructions. You can also curve the ball by using another finger once the first finger has initiated the shot power/direction process. Though a long way from the gameplay of fully-fledged console games like FIFA, Slide Soccer’s input mechanics are without doubt the best of all the Subbuteo-like games available for mobile.
Modes of Play & Customisation
There are a few modes in which you can enjoy the solid gameplay of Slide Soccer. A single-player mode comes in the form of a World Championship tournament which you can find more about at slidesoccer.ludei.com where you choose from a fully-stocked database of all the international teams. You then proceed to play individual games consecutively, moving up through the table until you (hopefully) reach the finals. More impressive however, is the Multiplayer mode, which allows you to enjoy matches against your friends or other online players. Other modes such as Quick Game and Exhibition also provide further variation.
Even more impressive than the selection of modes is the potential for creating hundreds of unique match situations through the ability to customise the majority of properties pertaining to the physics and general properties of each match. This means you can choose the surface you play on (grass, ice, dirt, and concrete all result in the ball and disc-players themselves moving differently depending on which surface you’re playing on), the kind of ball you play with (soccer, rugby, leather, golf, or even an orange!), and tthe number of goals/minutes a match goes on for. You can also change the mode of each game according to whether you wish it to be turn-based, real-time, consecutive moves, and many more. Even the formation of your discs can be changed, as can the material from which they are made.
What the above content results in is a serious amount of control over the kind of matches you play and the way in which you play them. As a complete package, there are no games that provide such a total solution to your mobile-based Subbuteo needs. The graphics sound are also top-notch, with a polished look that has no noticeable faults. The menus are also highly intuitive and easy to navigate, which is not as easy to pull off as it sounds due to the staggering quantity of customisation options that have to be presented in a clear and concise fashion. For this alone, Ludei (the game’s developer) should be praised highly.
But presenting the content only represents a fraction of the developer’s achievements here. After all, this developer has created a game that manages to bring a Subbuteo-esque experience to mobile that is (arguably) better than any of the games that are in competition with this one. Slide Soccer puts the clumsy physics of Pocket Soccer to shame, and even gives Miniclip’s Soccer Stars a serious run for its money.