Football games are one of my personal favourites, but I’m always on the lookout for something different from the dominating forces of FIFA and PES. Not that there’s anything wrong with them, but a release each year is like when a new iPhone comes out; just a few more features, but doesn’t warrant a purchase until a couple of updates or so later. Super Soccer Blast is the latest title to hit the Switch looking to challenge for the title, and it’s a contender.
Unfinished Pixel has already had success with a range of other sports titles including Super Tennis Blast and Super Volley Blast I haven’t played them, but judging on the titles, there might be an assumed formula. If they’re anything like Super Soccer Blast, then they’re worth a look. With the latter, it’s a comic approach to the game with an emphasis on arcade play rather than management elements or player stats. The goal of the game is literally to score more goals than your opponent, without any bloat in-between of showing off, dragged out cinematics or endless menu systems. However, it does lean a bit too much towards those ideals as there are areas where it feels a little abrupt.
As you would expect, the gameplay is the same as the sport itself; put out a team of 11 players to win you a game of football. With the expected moves of a pass, lob and shoot, the game functions as it should, but has the indispensable through ball option which quite a few Switch games have omitted. Granted, you’ll often get intercepted, but if you can pull it off, the through ball offers a fun playstyle. When it comes to tactics though, don’t expect a build-up where you can cross the ball in for a quality finish. In Super Soccer Blast, the emphasis is on the arcade experience as you can shoot some corkers from long range, or by playing the long ball and scoring close-up. Unfortunately, that is open to abuse.
I found this out directly when I played a two-player. Cockily showing up the other player with my dribbling skills, then scoring from a decent range, I was shocked to see them score from kick-off with their first touch. And again, and again. The only way to counter this was not from the keeper, but if they pelted it a little too hard that it would hit the crossbar. For a while, this ‘technique’ broke the game. I’m a fan of arcade play and always keen to try scoring a goal from long range, but when a game ends in a total of 15+ goals when only playing for around five minutes or so, it kind of disappoints. However, this didn’t happen as much when playing the tournaments, though even on easy difficulty (there’s a very easy setting too!), the AI can put them past you with ease.
Dribbling the ball and the passing game isn’t anything over-complicated, and anyone can pick it up and play. The players really can boot the ball, which is a lot of fun – especially when the other player manages to get past your defence then overdoes it last minute. Cue some brow wiping. The only thing I didn’t like here though was what was mentioned before with set-pieces – they seem rushed, and there isn’t any variety in camera angles or mechanics. There are only three camera modes, and each is a sideline from the same angle, just zoomed in a little. While I always play on the sideline, it would have been nice to have a bit more choice, especially with set-pieces. Another thing to add while we’re at it is how nice it all is. For the time I’ve been playing this, I’ve never been booked or had an offside. If the other player outplays you, you can foul them without fear of being booked. Sure, you lose position and incur the odd penalty, but I’ve never had a played carded.
Moving on, there’s a customisation option where you can create a player and also the team. Most people will likely create themselves, but if you feel compelled, you can create a whole team, change their appearance and kit and name them whatever you choose. Any game with customisation this deep is a win for me, and seeing a version of myself of the pitch was fun and made the game more personal. You can also carry your team to victory this way too. The approach is very family-friendly, and there’s a lot to choose from, and I’d argue that it’s better than the Mii options on the Switch too.
So, while Super Soccer Blast is a watered-down version of the game in that there aren’t any ‘fancy bits’ between stoppages, it really is a good football game. The controls are tight, selecting a playing isn’t automatic, but swift enough that you can get the right person in front of the ball. There is, of course, a sprint option which can’t be overused and is perfect for making your runs. Shooting is perhaps the most satisfying element as position yourself correctly and shoots from a distance, and when the ball hits the back of the net, I’m waging on you jumping out of your chair – it’s gratifying.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Super Soccer Blast Review
Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 6/10
Replay Value - 8/10
While the goals from kick-off are disappointing and the game feels a little rushed with moving through set-pieces, Super Soccer Blast IS a blast and is now my go-to football game on the Switch. It lacks the depth of FIFA, but it never aimed to compete with it.
Fluid, effective and accurate controls.
Character and team customisation.
Immense satisfaction from scoring.
Cheap shots that get past the keeper.
No variation of the one main view.
Lacks some of the finishing touches of bigger titles.