When it comes to the most popular sport in the world, soccer is the one that’s always on top. Spanish developer EnjoyUp Games, who has been putting out a decent amount of titles for Nintendo’s DSiWare format has decided to finally release a 3DSWare title, Soccer Up 3D. While we’ve seen yearly releases of soccer sim games like FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer, EnjoyUp wanted to bring a more simplistic, pickup-and-play game for a more accommodating price. However, is Soccer Up 3D worth your time?
Soccer Up 3D is actually an enhanced version to 2011’s WiiWare release, Soccer Up. EnjoyUp Games listened to some of the criticisms the game received and aimed to provide solutions to those in the 3DS edition. Now, if you’re a soccer sim buff that loves FIFA or PES, I will say right off the bat that this game will probably not satisfy your soccer needs. This is a more basic, old-school approach soccer game that’s not looking to carry any real soccer players or locales.
Soccer Up 3D provides a World Cup, Exhibition and Training mode to play around with. World Cup has you aiming for the big trophy that every soccer hopes to win. Exhibition lets you play a single match against the CPU. And lastly, Training has you get acclimated to the controls and mechanics. All of these modes provide for some customization as well, whether you tinker the game time, control setup and stadium you play in. The core foundation of the game is here, but there’s a single important problem…it just doesn’t play well.
Controls are more or less easy to grasp for a soccer title, albeit with an additional mechanic known as “After Kick”. This lets you slightly curve the ball after kicking it, which is a nice feature that’s rewarding to pull off. Aside from this feature, the mechanics start to feel less fleshed out. Controlling players on the field is pretty responsive, but switching players is a pain. When it released on the WiiWare, the players would automatically switch. On the 3DS, they give you the option to switch players manually. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work as well as it should, usually picking a player that’s not closest to the ball. Another severe issue is the slide tackle. The button might as well be labeled in red saying “DON’T PRESS THIS BUTTON!” because no matter how perfectly you position your slide tackle, the opposing player will trip and the whistle will be blown. What’s the purpose of the button/mechanic if all it does is penalize you? There’s no way to take the ball from your opponent except to run up to them and hope your player grabs the ball from them. Another issue experienced with the game is the glitched “injury time”. After doing a 90 minute game, the injury time went up to an additional 40 minutes…and I can say right now that there wasn’t anywhere near that much time that happened in the match that needed 40 extra minutes. This happened twice in similar occurrences during my playthrough of the game.
Now, it wouldn’t be a sports game without a multiplayer component. After all, sports game shine quite well when playing with friends. First off, I need to give EnjoyUp credit for how they handled this. The game offers Download Play, but actually provides the non-owner the entire game to play until they quit the application or shut off the system. This is a very welcome approach to Download Play and I hope many other developers take note to this. Now, the multiplayer seems to work decently most of the time, but again, glitches were found here. Some laughable, some not so forgiving. During my multiplayer run, my friend and I were running mid-field trying to take the ball from each other and then suddenly, we were teleported to a corner kick. Another issue (that’s not a glitch) was the penalty shootouts. While in reality, I hate penalty shootouts because it’s nothing more than a game of luck, this shows you where your opponent is aiming to kick. While that may seem handy, that just seemed odd and makes the intensity of a shootout less engaging. The multiplayer is certainly more entertaining than going up against the CPU, so aim to have someone else with a 3DS nearby to get a bit more enjoyment out of the game. There’s no online play, strictly local play only.
When you play two hours of the game, you’ll unlock the Mii feature to add your Miis to a custom team, choose the jersey colors and which Mii belongs at which position. It’s a cool feature for sure, but you never really see your Miis up-close in action. Speaking of teams, you do get to choose to play as your favorite nations around the world…except every player has the same generic look to them. The only difference in all honesty when choosing a team is the jersey color they represent…that’s about it. Visually, the game looks ok for a 3DSWare game, but the banners around the stadium are low-res. Animations are serviceable and get the job done for a soccer title. The 3D effect is done pretty well, without it straining your eyes much at all. Audio wise, there’s menu music (only one song in the whole game) and a few lines of dialogue the commentator says. There’s no “real” commentating though aside from “Kick-off”, “GOALLLLLL!” and calls of that nature. Sometimes you’ll hear the crowd in the stadium but it kicks in and out too seldom. The sounds of the players kicking the ball and running on the field are appropriate though.
Soccer Up 3D is an enhanced version to the WiiWare title released in 2011. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t play well enough for me to recommend to soccer fans of any type. It’s buggy and just simply, not much fun at all. While it may be a budget soccer title for on-the-go entertainment at $5.99, think carefully if you want to spend it on this game. It’s not godawful or anything like that, but it’s certainly subpar.
Overall Score: 4.5 out of 10 = Don’t Buy It!
A special thank you to EnjoyUp Games for providing us the review copy for Soccer Up 3D!