19th Jun2018

Digital Shorts: ‘Soccer Slammers’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts

In DIGITAL SHORTS we review some of the latest video games that are only available digitally (at least in the UK), in a short-form review format. In this edition we take a look at Soccer Slammers, a new arcade-style footie game now available on the Nintendo Switch.

soccer-slammers

Soccer Slammers is a game that I was quite looking forward to playing but ended up being disappointed by. All of the ingredients were there for a fun arcade-style football romp, even including local multiplayer for up to four people, but it’s paper-thin, repetitive gameplay relegates it to little more than a novelty item released in the run-up to World Cup fever.

The general presentation to Soccer Slammers is well done and the pitch of it being a pick up and play arcade game was right up my strasse, however I could find little to enjoy when it came to the actual gameplay, beyond the smooth movement of the ball and the colourful palette.

Each game of football (which by default is set to a minute per half, to give you an idea of the speed of the game) is played out by choosing one of forty teams, differentiated by country (there are stats, but I’m not sure how much impact this has on game play) and then either having a quick match or playing through a World Cup tournament. Soccer Slammers is a 2-on-2 game with each team having a goalkeeper that is automatically controlled, the controls are nice and responsive with a tackle, pass and shoot button on offer (along with a sprint button) to keep things simple. Beyond this, every match will pretty much be the same. You kick off and within five seconds, one of you will score and after a brief flag-laden celebration, you’ll re-start from the centre of the field and the process will repeat.

Pretty much all shots on goal will score (you can charge up the shot to make it even more likely) and the small size of the boxed-in pitch means that it only takes a second or two to get to the other side of the field. The basic, voxel graphics mean that players have quite simplistic animation as they trot along and tackle etc. the ball movement is smooth but as every match ends up with scores in double figures, goals lose their meaning faster than the player loses interest. Sometimes, the computer would score and they’d kick off and be running up the pitch to score again before the camera had even reset back to the centre of the pitch from their previous goal. The pace of the game didn’t make me feel excited or tense; it just made me irritated as nothing felt like it had any robustness or consequence. I have no issues with how stripped back the game is or the lack of modes on offer, it’s just that once you begin a match, it’s so samey and boring.

This really is a game that I would expect to find on Steam for a couple of quid or perhaps for download on a mobile. It’s so basic and threadbare that after a few minutes I felt like I’d seen all that the game had to offer. It’s possible that in a four-player tournament with some friends around some more value and a few laughs could be gleaned from it but honestly, when there are so many other four-player games around that offer more depth for the same price, it’s hard to recommend Soccer Slammers, which is a shame as it leaves an arcade-style football gamed shape on the Nintendo eStore that I hope is filled soon.

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