It’s not often that a mobile game garners the extreme attention of the gaming community. New Star Soccer however has recently hit the headlines with its shock BAFTA win last week. The game beat multi million budgeted games from major developers such as Forza Horizon and FIFA 13, the attention this upset has caused will bring many new players to the game. Yet the question is was this award deserved? And how good is the mobile game really?
New Star Soccer is set up as a football manager like simulation, the game does not require any football knowledge to play and is more like web based flash game jumpers for goalposts. The player is first given a tutorial on how to execute passes, shots and interceptions. You line the shot up with an arrow and then must tap the area of the ball to either hit a straight shot or put a bend on it, particularly useful for free kicks. The skills can be quite tricky at times but the longer you stick at the game the better you will get at them, you’ll even start to enjoy hitting 40 yard screamers into the back of the net. The touch screen of the iPhone is perfect for lining up shots and setting the curve of the ball, having also played the web browser version, I found using a mouse clunky and , while the iPhone’s touch pad is smooth and easy to control.
New Star Soccer isn’t quite as simple as skills and trick shots, there are aspects to the game involving some form of strategy. You must keep the happiness of your boss, your team mates and the fans up, keeping these stats up will affect how matches are played. If your boss likes you then you are more likely to get a starting place in the team and it is much easier to negotiate a pay rise. In a similar way, if your team mates like you then they are more likely to pass you the ball which means more goals and more money. It is important to achieve success in the leagues so that you don’t spend your entire career playing for Chelmsford town in the conference.
Money is another important part of the game. If you have money then you can afford to buy fancy things like phones, cars and houses. Raising your profile will make you more likely to get a girlfriend in the game, which combined with a good reputation will attract the attention of bigger clubs in bigger leagues. You will also want to be spending your money on energy, I found myself buying an energy drink between every game so that I could afford to train up my skills and also play in the next game. Your skill stats go up when you take the time to train in between matches, if these stats are higher then again you will have more luck when it comes to the actual matches.
The game is really quite fun, it starts off somewhat frustrating when you realise how long it could take you to get into the top leagues. However, it is extremely rewarding when you do get the reward of a promotion or a contract from a top class team. The shots and passes are quite tricky to pull off but with time become easier, and like in real football you can’t expect to be scoring at every opportunity. The training aspects of the game help with this aspect as you will be awarding yourself far more chances the more work you put in on the training field.
All in all, for a mobile based game it is very good but did it really deserve a BAFTA? Simply put, no it didn’t In my opinion FIFA 13 deserved to win in this category, FIFA 13 was the perfect sport sim it had everything. Realistic gameplay, a compelling career mode and solid online multiplayer. For what New Star Soccer is it is very good, if the brilliant The Walking Dead game hadn’t been in the best mobile game category then New Star Soccer would surely have been the front runner. The game is available to download from the App Store, it is free initially however the developers sneakily will charge you 69p to start up a career mode. When you consider that top range games can cost you £30+, you can forgive the developers for adding this small fee to a game which will give you hours of casual gameplay. New Star Soccer is well worth checking out, but admittedly won’t be for everyone.