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Foot-to-ball-to-Net: Football Superstars Open Beta

I found myself drinking with assorted comic people last Thursday, and found myself in conversation with the spouse of an artist friend of mine. I knew he was working at an MMO company, but I didn’t know which – and he reveals he’s working on Football Superstars, which I wasn’t really aware of but seemed exciting and since it was available to download and play now, I couldn’t see why we hadn’t already blogged about it. Bar RPS’ famous aversion to Foot-to-ball, natch – in fact, an aversion to even reading each other’s posts about it, as Jim had totally blogged about it and I hadn’t noticed. Now, I’ve finally played it and discovered that rather than the management game I presumed, it’s actually an action-lead football game, with a one-player one-actual-team player model. A handful of Impressions and video beneath the cut…

It’s not bad actually – seeing the ability for your characters to buy skills, I was dreading some manner of World-of-Warcraft derived USE THE ULTRA-BALL! hi-jinks, perhaps grinding a tricky goalie with multiple shots before finally getting a goal in. As it is, it’s really an action game, but with the tactic angle focused on a single player. Stuff like a player’s exhaustion is key, with you having to manage your energy bars, saving your sprints for the vital moment. The passing and shooting system is mouse driven, with your position on the screen defining whether you want to lob or play it along the ground, as well as the length of you holding setting power. Also, elements like setting up a shot by aiming with the right mouse button, which only is actually played when you release it and… well, there certainly seems to be room for finesse play. The game also includes a load of social elements – going to a club, etc – as well as more oddities like talking to journalists to raise your fame rating. Also, girl players if anyone fancies staring in a web-based stirring remix of Bend it like Beckham.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever go and play it again – but more because there’s very much the sense that it’s a game which is going to reward if you commit, play in one of the player-lead teams and go native. I don’t have time for an MMO, let alone a football one. That said, since it’s free-download, a mob of RPSers going online and playing a kickabout with one another could be splendid. C’mon Steam Group!

And here’s a video. Yes.

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Kieron Gillen

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Kieron Gillen is robo-crazy.

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