I hate the close season. Nothing but crap transfer rumours about your favourite players leaving your club and either lacklustre or overly ambitious signings replacing them. Football gamers suffer too, with having to wait until late September to get their hands on the new AAA football games released by Konami or EA. The impatient fans, of which I am definitely one, will almost certainly take to finding any football game and giving it a try. Anything to scratch that football itch. This time last year, I was pleasantly surprised when I found out about Kopanito All Stars Soccer. This year, I got gifted Pixel Cup Soccer 17 to try and relieve some football-related boredom.
Like being back in an arcade
The visuals and controls really make me think I’m back playing in an arcade or on a SNES. It’s cutesy, but really well presented, and my favourite football video games are amongst those that are slightly older, but have a bit of personality to it, so Pixel Cup Soccer really gives me some great nostalgic feelings. All players look amazing – even if they do all look very similar to eachother – and they all celebrate / commiserate after goals or the final whistle. Batovi Games, the developers, have set their sights on creating a retro-feeling game, and they’ve hit the target perfectly with what they’ve put out.
Having a lot of competitions to play is the key with these games. They often lack a bit of substance, opting for simplicity over complicated moves, so having a number of teams and competitions is the way they appeal to players. I remember a few games in the past that just had a friendly match, or perhaps a single league to play, but Pixel Cup Soccer has it all. Olympics, continental competitions and the world cup is all there, but that’s not all – as well as having all of the men’s competitions, all the women’s competitions are present too. As the women’s game is growing all the time, in both popularity and skill, it’s good to see developers take note of that and give players the option of playing as their favourite players. On that note, a lot of players are in the game. Their surnames aren’t, but all of their forenames are, so it’s easy to recognise all of the best players in the beautiful game.
Almost as if the game was set back in the 1800s
Although this is a cutesy football game, Pixel Cup Soccer does have some flaws. The main flaw being that it’s missing a large number of footballing elements. There are no substitutions, no injury time, no tactics, no fouls even. Without these, the game does lack a little bit of, well, tactical nuance. With everyone playing in set formations, there is no way to change it up. Not that formations really matter in this game – there aren’t any offsides, so your strikers can and will goalhang for the entire game. It makes it very easy to score goals, but all the challenge is removed. I can understand that the developers wanted to keep the game simple, but removing core components of the game is probably not the best way to go about it.
The Final Word
Pixel Cup Soccer is still in early access, so there is still hope for it to add the rest of the features to really enhance this game. It’s definitely not bad, and I thoroughly enjoyed playing it for a couple of hours, but it may have been due to it reminding me of games from my childhood. Still, I will probably keep playing it until I’ve beaten everything, because it is still pretty fun to play.