For all its additions and advances, the FIFA franchise has lacked one thing: the ability to dismember opposing players. Sure, there is online play. Sure, there is the Yu-gi-oh parody mode, otherwise referred to as ultimate team. For all its features, FIFA Football is just too realistic, too precise and too refined.
Super Party Sports: Football: Xbox One [Reviewed], Android, iOS,
Release Date: 4 December 2015
Price: £3:99 [Disclosure Game Copy provided by Developer/Publisher]
If you have ever found yourself wanting to behead it like Beckham rather than bend it, however, now is your chance. Super Party Sports Football taps into the savage, primal brutality of modern football while putting a platformer-style level traversal mechanic in the game. This odd mix sees the gameplay take you down an unexpected road. Rather than play a game of football, your team are at fixed points on the level, with enemy players dotted around the map. It’s up to you to pummel the pigskin from player to player, all the while intentionally hitting the opposing team’s players in order to build up a gauge above the ball. Once all the enemy players have been dispatched, you can go for goal.
Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong. Each level is a 2-D, side-scrolling affair, with the ball acting as the player. With levels consisting of hills, floating platforms, spiked walls and even angry referees, getting the ball from player to player can be demanding during the game’s finer levels, with elevation changes, collapsible platforms and other hazards aiming to hinder you. Aside from the levels, opposing players come in varying varieties too. The standard enemies can be dispatched with a single touch of the ball. Larger enemies require two hits, as do helmeted enemies.
Regardless of the team you’re taking on, simply pressing the A button will kick the ball. If you’d rather not wait for the ball to bounce around the stage, you can tap A again to have the ball immediately return to the last player who kicked it. This is an invaluable addition given the fact that each level is timed. With only 30 seconds for each level, quick kicking is key. Thankfully, each player you pulverize earns you a few extra seconds, but the levels are designed in such a way as to ensure that you won’t have the time to rest on your laurels. Before each level starts, the camera pans from the goal to the start of the level, giving you a few seconds to plan your attack. Once you start, you’re expected to strategize on the fly, usually following the flow of the map, or using your teammates as waypoints.
Although speed is key in Super Party Sports Football, this can actually harm the game at times. Clearing entire levels in a matter of seconds results in clearing entire cups in minutes, with little to no replay value to be found in the game. Although there are 10 cups in the game – each one harder than the last – there just isn’t any legitimate incentive to carry on past the first few cups. There is an arbitrary currency in the game, but all it can buy you are different balls that have no significant effect on the game, or limited customisation outfits for your nondescript team of nobodies.
The overall presentation of the game leaves a lot to be desired, too. Every inch of the menus and in-game environments is minimalist, and there is virtually no text in menu screens. This reduces the game to little more than a dispensable mobile-app title that doesn’t feel quite at home on a powerful machine like an Xbox One
An entertaining game with an unexpected union of football and quasi-platformer/puzzler elements, Super Party Sports Football is a poor man’s Trials. Were this on a mobile or handheld, it would be a great little time-killer, but on a next-generation machine it just doesn’t earn its place. Perfectly average, with the exception of lifeless menus and levels, Super Party Sports Football is exactly what you’d expect from a game with a name that uses the words ‘super’ and ‘party’ for no discernible reason. Don’t expect anyone to be pulling a hamstring rushing to the marketplace for this title.