It’s that time of year again! The new football seasons are kicking off and soccer’s world tournaments are bringing in the crowds. That also means that us lucky gamers get treated to the latest iterations of footballs biggest kickers within video gaming, as well as a dribbling of other indie delights that produce their own take on the sport. As per usual, the larger stadiums will play host to the Fifas and Pro Evos of the world. But what about the rest of us? The one’s who simply can’t afford the big money transfers, or the players who have grown frustrated with playing the same game year after year and want to try a different position. Well, fear not, as developers, Purple Tree and publishers, Klabater have teamed up to bring us Golazo! as it shoots a release onto the Nintendo Switch.
As a breakaway from the seriousness of simulation and realism, Golazo! brings a very arcade style to the field with retro throwbacks, fast, fluid gameplay and holds aloft the red card to the ruling of fouls and offsides. The game presents you with three game modes to choose from: Quick Match, International Cup and World League. You can also choose from over fifty International teams from the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. Each of the modes available play as you would expect with a one-off match, cup tournament and league season. As well as playing in a single-player capacity, the game also caters for local couch-multiplayer for up to four people; sadly though, there’s no online functionality here.
Despite containing world teams and the usual soccer-fest of game modes, this plays a very different game to what you may be expecting. Firstly, this is purely six-a-side soccer, not including the keeper. There’s no real-name players, in fact, there are no player names at all and you can choose from four formations: 3-1-2, 4-2, 3-3 and 2-4. Secondly, there’s no fouls or offsides; creating a free-flowing game that forces the action from end-to-end. Originally, the game first released on other platforms as ‘90s Football Stars and although this Switch version has been given a new name, it still retains the same level of content as its previous iteration. Players, managers and kits are all based on their nineties counterparts; you can even change the screen settings to produce a VHS video cassette style presentation to produce a more throwback style to the proceedings.
On the pitch, the game presents a 2.5D view of the pitch; with each team shooting towards the left or the right. Offensive and defensive play comes with an array of accessible and simplistic controls from passing, lobbing and shooting to slide tackling, stealing and pushing for possession. With the shoulder buttons, you can sprint, change players or perform a trick that sees you jump or twist with the ball in order to escape those foul-less tackles. Each of the move sets are bound to specific face or shoulder buttons, creating an instantly accessible control scheme; although if you’re used to playing Fifa, then the shoot button being bound to the Y button can take some getting used to.
When it comes to the game itself, its free-flowing nature and end-to-end style of play creates a fast-paced game that is enjoyable and fun, but only to a certain degree. Although you can switch between players in order to give yourself the best position, specifically when defending, I never felt that I was in complete control of my team. The keepers are AI controlled, which is pretty much a standard affair these days, but the AI of your team-mates, and even of the opposing team, can leave a lot to be desired. Finding a team-mate in an effective position or within space can be frustrating at times and when faced with an open goal, the opposition ran along my goal line into the post; a goal only occurring because the ball ricocheted off the post and into the net. Despite this though, the game still contains elements that produce a fun, arcade experience.
At various stages within the matches, each of the teams gain a temporary boost to a variety of techniques. These range from super-sprint speed to super-tackles and super-shots. These abilities do add to the fast nature of the game and can be a game changer. However, should your team posses super-sprint and the other team doesn’t, it can be all too easy to just run at the defence into the six-yard box and score. The same can also said of the reverse. In terms of this, the game can feel a little unfair, or just too easy at times; again, negating the concept of ever feeling truly in control of the game. Despite its faults though, the game actually excels when played in local multiplayer; making this more of a title that leans towards friends and family rather than solo play.
Winning or drawing a match not only rewards you with points in a league match or advancement within a cup, but also awards coins that can be used to purchase a variety of cosmetics from an in-game store. These can range from alternative kits to boots, footballs and even celebrations. They can add a form longevity if you’re willing to collect everything on offer and do, in some way, promote a level of keeping you playing. Audio presentation is largely quite good with limited, but adequate commentary and a good level of crowd noise that enhances the atmospherics. There are also various weather conditions and flags within the stands of the two nations that are playing. What is missing though, is a crowd. Despite the level of noise and number of flags, the stadium remains empty and devoid of life within the terraces; apart from a sprinkling of supporters, the majority of the stands contain empty seats.
Overall though, Golazo! isn’t the worst non-Fifa or non-PES football available on the Switch. In fact, in terms of its arcade style, it’s actually a very playable game and does hold a good level of fun. It shines brighter when playing in local multiplayer and the lack of online play is sorely missed here, as it could have probably propelled the game to a higher league. It does contain a couple of nuances, but to be honest with you, there’s nothing game breaking and no apparent bugs that ruined the experience. What nuances it does contain can a little frustrating at times, but never detract from the overall enjoyment of the game. It holds enough content in its number of teams and game modes, plus a number of options from difficulty to screen display do allow you to mix things up a bit. Its in-game store is also interesting, allowing you add a variety of extras through playing matches; thus expanding its long-term appeal. It doesn’t try to be a premier league game, but then it doesn’t have too, as what is does do, is play a fast-paced, free-flowing arcade game, and actually does so in some style.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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Gameplay - 7/10
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Replay Value - 7/10
User Review( votes)
Golazo! provides arcade footy thrills with no fouls or offsides, to produce a fast-paced, free-flowing game of soccer.