Soccer Up! (WiiWare)

Game Review

Soccer Up! Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Jacob Crites

Shoots too narrow

On the Wii Shop Channel, EnjoyUp! Games describes Soccer Up! as being "a funny soccer game." We're willing to bet you and EnjoyUp! Games have different senses of humour. But we're also willing to bet you have different definitions of "total control," "inertia" and "soccer." Indeed, much of Soccer Up!'s promises and intentions appear to be lost in translation, if not outright untrue. Jimmy Greaves famously said football is "a funny old game." He didn't mean it like this.

Just out of curiosity, when was the last time you played a truly unplayable soccer game? It's probably been a while. The rules are so simple, the gameplay so straightforward that it's tough for developers to screw it up too badly. Some games are better than others, certainly, but at this point it's like making a chess game: there are good chess games and mediocre chess games, but at the end of the day it's still chess.

Ah, but not so with Soccer Up!, whose mechanics are so broken and unreliable that the whole thing becomes less a game of soccer and more a game of total sensory disillusionment. "Grrr! Come here you stupid ball, you — wait! What just happened?! Grrr!" is a commonly shouted phrase while playing the game. Where does this "funny" side come in, exactly? Broken controls? Glitches? The inability to switch players? Oh, chortle-dee-dee! Excuse us while we mend our splitting sides!

About those controls. The description on the shop channel attempts to sell Soccer Up! as a "soccer game that allows you a total control of any action of your team players." That sure is a funny way of saying "you can't switch between players, dash, pass accurately or reasonably score a goal." Every action necessary to play a game of football is either cumbersome or nonexistent. If you're using the sideways Wii Remote scheme, 1 is used for "low kicks" and 2 for "high kicks"... or wait, maybe it was the other way around, because neither consistently does either one. The Nunchuk controls don't fare much better, since your character still only moves in eight directions regardless of whether or not you're using the control stick.

But the main issue is the inexplicable decision not to let the player manually switch between players; instead the game seems to switch to whichever teammate is closest to the ball. Combined with the fact that you also can't sprint, and your opponents can inexplicably always run faster than you, and because slide-tackling is completely useless, forming a legitimate strategy is impossible. Because slide-tacking almost never works, stealing the ball from an opponent requires running into the ball at an opposing angle and hoping it sticks to your feet, but remember: the game is constantly swapping your playable character for you, so just when you're coming in hot on the ball, the cursor will swap you to some other dude 20 feet away, completely destroying your defensive play. Soccer Up! is a game where you watch brutally difficult AI play soccer while you fumble around wondering what the heck is going on.

The in-game help screens and operations guide will not help you, by the way. They're full of incomprehensible, poorly translated nonsequitors like "each action have to shoot powers," and "once shot the ball you can control the effect with the direction on the control pad. Practice and you will be able to do incredible shoots!"

If you read all that and still feel compelled to buy this game, then there's no stopping you. But hey, we believe in full-service reviews around here (to quote the great Roger Ebert), so here's a few more reasons to soccer down. The game looks awful, for one thing: fuzzy, undistinguished little character models on a lusterless, stagnant field. Had it come out on the N64, these would be average visuals. It's not on the N64.

The saving grace would appear to be that you can play as your Mii (who doesn't like Miis, after all?) and customise your team. Thing is, you'll have to play it for two hours first to unlock that. Two hours. That's a whole lot of torture to endure to play as a cartoon version of yourself. You could play local multiplayer if you want to see two teams fumbling around in confusion on screen instead of just one. Of course it's all much more bearable with a few friends, but then most tragedies are.


It comes down to the fact that there isn't a single good thing about Soccer Up! It ranges from lazy to infuriating in every department, from the broken controls to the detrimentally limited gameplay. Even at the budget pricing of 500 Nintendo Points, Soccer Up! still somehow ends up asking way too much for way too little.

From the web

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User Comments (80)



CorporalPegasus said:

Enjoyup...what happened? Chrono Twins DX was such a good game, but now they make games equal to Fireplacing?



Shiryu said:

Wow what the...? I am sorry, but having read the review and having played the game for quite a while now with a friend, I strongly disagree with this final score. I would have given it a 7/10 or so, it's such a simple yet difficult to master arcade soccer game that reminds me so fondly of many other simpler, arcade soccer games like "Sensible Soccer" that it is hard not to like it. I hope to see the game expanded in the future...

PS: You can sprint by tapping A+B when you have the ball, btw.



alLabouTandroiD said:

Want to have a good, easy to control DLC soccer game on the Wii, Ninty ? Seems like you better go with Nintendo World Cup for the NES then.

@Private-Pegasus: I found Little Red Riding Hood's Zombie BBQ to be great too. Kinda like Sin & Punishment from a top down perspective. What more could you ask for.



Ikki80 said:

This review is full of errors and wrote without a right "background".
You CAN'T pretend to play a 90'ish soccer game as a modern game.
You CAN pass accurately, you CAN sprint, you CAN build tactics, you CAN slide tackle without foul,you CAN score regularly.
But to do all these things, you have to train, trying to understand how the aftertouch system works (it's unquestionably true that the manual is not clear on controls).
Sorry but I can't agree with this review,



Neko_Ichigofan said:

This has got to be the least accurate review on the entire website no offence, but Soccer up is one of the best sports games on WiiWare and this review does it an injustice.
I would explain my viewpoints about it, but it would be a massive article even larger than the review.



Shiryu said:

I really, REALLY ask you reconsider this entire review. I am glad I am not alone in considering "Soccer UP!" way above the 1/10 mark. This is not Wiiware shovelware.



Crunchy_in_milk said:

Daaaaaaaang! A one? This MUST be bad since there's only 4 more of those on this site! Welcome to the club Soccer Up!



BJQ1972 said:

I think most people who would be looking to buy this game would do so because if its apparent similarity to Sensible Soccer and Kick Off. How does it compare to those games in terms of gameplay and controls?

Has the reviewer actually played those games as a reference point?



Neko_Ichigofan said:

It shouldn't be a 1/10 based on NL scoring criteria I would give this a 6/10 - 7/10.
It's a tad difficult to learn the controls, but the game itself is enjoyable......How this got a 1/10 I'll never be able to fathom.



SKTTR said:

in my eyes this is not a review. it´s not even a preview since the reviewer doesn´t even get the game mechanics down.
the game is a 7/10 in my eyes and i hate modern soccer games with a passion. yeah, it isn´t great in graphics, music or content but the controls are great, there´s strategies and depth, the gameplay is fun and the cpu is challenging.
indeed this feels like one of those classic amiga soccer games from simpler times.
i understand that on bad days a rather decent game gets bombed with a heavy 4 or 3/10 but giving this one a 1 is wrong on all levels.



WiiLovePeace said:

Wow I'm suprised that so many people seem to disagree with the reviewer. I'm glad to hear this because I was excited for a retro-styled soccer game & will be getting this one & even if it turns out completely fail, it'll be funny so it's win-win.



accc said:

Yeah I've never played this game, but it definitely does not sound like it deserves a 1/10 based on what other people are saying about it.



JulioMoruno said:

Soccer Up for EnjoyUp team is a great game. But, Jacob don´t like it. Sorry!!!! Is a different gameplay stile. If you want a Kick Off or a Sensible Soccer, Soccer Up is a good option.
Thanks for your support guys!!! Now Soccer Up is Number 1 on all Europe countries.



stromboli said:

I haven't played this game, but it seems to me that the score is too harsh, especially reading quite a few positive reactions from the game. I wonder how much this game would have scored on the iphone. EDIT: I think the score will be updated to a 4/10 or a 5/10 based on some of the comments... if the reviewer did not know all the controls, then it's a huge part of the review.



Geonjaha said:

Well that's a tad harsh. Just looking at the game I would say it can't be below 3/10.



BJQ1972 said:

Everybody who was expecting a Sensi/Kick Off update seems to be reasonably positive - a US critic, who I would guess has not played these classic 90s style football games is not.



Arturo said:

I can't understand and of course nor agree with this score.

If the reviewer had played games like Kick-off, Sensible Soccer or even Match Day… games from a date when FIFAs and PESs weren't even a project and, IMHO, Soccer Up! is the closest homage have today to those classics. I honestly believe that if a person with a background on this kind of games reviews Soccer Up!, the final score would be a very different story.



edhe said:

The reviewers main gripe was the automatic swapping of players, but to be honest, I never really had a problem with that. I may have had a player swapped at an inopportune moment, but that isn't my biggest gripe.

My biggest gripe, and the game breaker for me was the controls. Contrary to what I said in the topic (it was a typo), you're supposed to press-hold-release "high kick", then for about half a second after the ball leaves your foot, you can press the direction buttons to alter its course. UP and DOWN alter its swerve, while LEFT and RIGHT alter its pitch (or height). Swerve is optional, and can be turned off in the pre match screen, but height is pretty much vital, and is just as hard to utilise in an average game.

You also do this with the same stick you use to move your character.

This issue could have been solved with classic control support - not only could they assign ball control to the second stick, they could have done away with the awful shake mechanic that allows you to - on shaking your nunchuk or remote, dive header or scissor kick the ball.

My second biggest gripe with the game was simply being unable to slide tackle. I brought this up in a forum topic and was told "the sliding tackles is only for a extreme situation". But 99 tackles out of 100, I was awarded with a foul. They may as well have not bothered programming in sliding tackles - especially if the AI never had the capability to slide (and thus earn cards).

Speaking of which, during my first game, I didn't think you could even get cards with all the fouls I was committing - again, out of those uncountable tackles I did (all but two of which weren't awarded with a free kick), only two were awarded with a card. Lucky me, they were a yellow, then a red for the same player.

Mii support - the thing I was so interested about in the run up to this game is a wasted effort. You only get to see the faces during the pre match line-up, and presumably during the world cup winners celebration - don't ask me - my best result (in a 50 minute game) is 3-17 to Israel. You don't even get to see their faces when they score a goal. EDIT - I've just noticed the screenshots seem to show the faces of the Miis - I may be mistaken, but I can't remember seeing any of my players' faces during any of my matches.

I'm hugely dissapointed with the game, and to describe it as a successor to AMIGA football games is to ignore its fundamental faults.



Omega said:

Reviews are always questionable. They are inherently subjective because they are based on opinion. I've noticed this very often: There are many games with exuberant good reviews that I hate and vice versa. Obviously, the only "good" reviews are those that match the reader's own opinion and the only way to determine wether a game is for you is by trying it yourself.



theblackdragon said:


This is exactly why we have comment threads available for every game we review — you are all more than welcome to post how you feel about the games yourselves! However, if we could take a step back and calm down for a minute, we must ask that you not attack the reviewer. Refute or argue against the review itself, but posting offensive things about our reviewer (or each other!) is against our Community Rules. Most of you already know this, but as I've already had to step in a couple times and I'm seeing a few new faces, it's always good to have a reminder. :3



Ikki80 said:

@edhe You call faults some aspects that I call design choices.
Old school soccer games had similar controls with less options(for example Sensible Soccer uses only ONE button) so this IS a classic form of control for the genre. As regards slide tackle, it IS possible to slide tackle without foul but you have to hit the ball and not the active player, it's not easy but it prevents slide-spamming.
This game HAS faults, infact I agree with you for poor Mii support and the manual is awful, but I think this really is an enjoyable "90's style" soccer game.



BJQ1972 said:

@theblackdragon - I don't think reading the comments so far that the reviewer is being attacked - simply questioning whether he is the best choice to review this type of game. EnjoyUp are marketing the game as harking back to games like Match Day, Sensi etc - in my opinion the review should have referenced these titles and judged it on how it compares to them.

At the end of the day, anybody looking at this review won't take into account the user feedback - they will simply look at the 1/10 and adjudge the game to be a stinker.



Shiryu said:

@edhe I actually read your forum post a few days back and it helped me a lot to understand how to use the after touch. I have ever since scoring quite a few awesome gaols, but have yet to master the heading/bicycle kick properly. I thank you for you time and effort at this.

@JulioMoruno I hope you don't feel too bad for this score, as you have read there are a lot of people enjoying your little soccer game. I would like you guys over EnjoyUp Games to use this game engine and make a "Speedball" type game. I would really love to have a futuristic sports game where you could manage your team made of Mii's in a fast, ,violent game. I would even provide you guys with music if you would need it. And how about, a patch, update or even sequel to address these faults being pointed out!?



theblackdragon said:

@BJQ: the reason you're not seeing anything is why i said 'I've already had to step in a couple times' — i'd already edited out the objectionable parts by the time I posted that comment. In no way am I calling for people to not ask whether the reviewer has played the other games, as it is a valid question from people looking to purchase a new game. :3

That said, for as many users who have played the other games, there will be just as many who haven't and may be going into this as their first soccer video game. Thus, if it turns out he hasn't played the other games and has no background with 90's-style soccer games whatsoever, his opinion now is just as valid as if the situation were reversed (and he had played them). it's just that in that case there would then be individuals commenting to lambast us for what would likely be a great review of (what they would perceive as) a poor game. It's six of one, half a dozen of the other when it comes to opinions on the internet.




I really wanted this game to be good, so bought it a few days after it came out, rather than sensibly waiting for a review to appear. I wish I'd waited. This review is spot on, the game is sooooooo bad, but the thing that makes the whole thing so unprofessional is the instruction manual! The translation is so bad that they would have been better not translating it at all!

This game plays in a similar style to sensible soccer, but none of my friends that love sensible soccer(and we all own the XBLA version and like it) can even stand this game.

It may not be the worst WiiWare game, but of the 65 WiiWare game I own, it is unquestionably the worst. By far!



JulioMoruno said:

Thanks Shiryu and all people for your support!!! Much people are happy with Soccer Up, is a different alternative in a Football games.



BJQ1972 said:

@theblackdragon - reading the review and looking at NLs scoring policy the minimum score this game should have got is a 4, isn't it?

As a counter argument to your statement about people who won't have played previous similar games - imagine if this was Ikaruga or Radiant Silvergun, and a reviewer had never played a 2D shooter before - I have no doubt these games would be awarded similarly low scores. Does that make them bad games? No.

What reviews like this do tend to do is skew the Metacritic average which is increasingly becoming a major factor in how people perceive a game.



theblackdragon said:

@BJQ: (a) it wouldn't have made it through the proofing process had the score not been plausible.

(b) that's pretty much what I just said (only reversed), so again — six of one, half a dozen of another. :3

(c) you'll note we always link back to Metacritic, and Metacritic links to each review it pulls from so that people can inform themselves properly. and before anyone starts with the 'b-b-but no one reads anything from Metacritic', please understand that playing to Metacritic would be a fool's game. Our reviewers cannot and shall not be expected to review a game based on the opinions of others. The only thing they can do is put up how they feel about a given game, and if they didn't like it (as is the case here), then they didn't like it.

... and I think that about sums it up, really. If you'd like to continue this line of discussion, BJQ, I invite you to get in touch with the admins directly via the Contact Form so that we do not continue derailing this comment thread. :3



BalrogtheMaster said:

Seems I was being too harsh earlier. Sorry guys.

However, I still think there should be a 'second opinion' review on this game. Is there any reviewer on the site who's played AMIGA-style soccer games?



ueI said:

I've never played any of the games that supposedly inspired Soccer Up, but they all sound terrible. Making a new game in the same style as some old bad ones doesn't make the new game any less bad.



Kid_A said:

Allllrighty. Let's get into this. First I'd like to say that I'm in no way biased against this sort of game. Cartoony, arcade sports games are my favorite type of sport games, after all. There are quite a few people here who don't agree with the review. But there are also those who do. This is okay. Just because I don't agree with your personal opinion doesn't mean my qualifications should be called into question. I think you'll find I argued my case pretty well.

Also, one should not have to play a 90's PC game to be able to appreciate a game in 2011. Even if Sensible Soccer is Soccer Up's main inspiration, the game should still be fun in its own right. You'll also find that even if you have nostalgia for those old footy games, they were never considered to be great.

After playing the game for hours and reading the (unhelpful and unreadable) instructions many times, the game felt like a broken mess. I played it with friends and they agreed. If you like this game, great. I didn't. And I can only speak of my experience.



Shiryu said:

@uel, if you were born in Europe and had an Amiga, you would understand were we are all coming from. And unlike most people over here on this side of the Atlantic, I don't even like real soccer. But I assure you "Sensible Soccer" is one of the best soccer games ever made on any generation.



Ikki80 said:

"Also, one should not have to play a 90's PC game to be able to appreciate a game in 2011. Even if Sensible Soccer is Soccer Up's main inspiration, the game should still be fun in its own right."

This is the core of the discussion and in my opinion you are terribly wrong.
As I wrote in another post, you can't play a 90's style soccer game pretending you are playing a modern game.
In your review and post you show us that you don't know how to play a classic soccer game.
Why you ignored our tips on the community board?



Freeon-Leon said:

@Ikki80: But the game should be able to stand by its own, I mean, why would you have to play 90's games just to see how good (or bad) this game is? And maybe some people would play it like a modern football game but that's their problem man.

Live and let live... also, we have metacritic to see different points of view

EDIT: And yes, I think this shouldn't be a 1/10. But that's the reviewer's opinion.



Ikki80 said:

@Jahir:"But the game should be able to stand by its own, I mean, why would you have to play 90's games just to see how good (or bad) this game is? "

This game belongs to another genre of soccer games, so you should not try to play as FIFA or PES.
You can't enjoy a game that you play in a wrong way, it's like playing Mario Kart and criticize the guide model because it's not similar to Gran Turismo.
Different type of game, different way of playing it.



Rebel81 said:

The review is worse then the game. It reminds me of the early years of the Dutch Power Unlimted magazine which trashed classic RPG's just because they where not full of action.



Kid_A said:

I actually did try all of the tips that everyone provided in the Soccer Up forum. Unfortunately they did not work. Those that did work worked inconsistently. I faced all of the problems that @edhe faced. The fact of the matter is, even if you enjoy the game, there are aspects of it that are fundamentally broken. I didn't even mention the plethora of glitches that I encountered during my time with the game. I have not played Sensible Soccer, but I have played a good many arcadey, old-school soccer games. I like those games. Soccer Up is simply poor. You seem to believe that I'm trying to fit this game into a "modern" structure, like FIFA or PES. I assure you that I'm not. We take reviews very seriously at Nintendo Life, and if there were glaring factual errors (I tried pressing A and B together to sprint as some suggested and 1) I couldn't find this anywhere in the game's manual, and 2) It didn't work consistently anyway) or if I approached the game from an unfair angle, we would not have published it. I go into every game genuinely wanting to like it and understand it, and Soccer Up is no different.

I love classic RPGs and old-school soccer games. This one just happens to be broken.

Bless you, sir. I appreciate the positive feedback It's things like that that keep a reviewer from losing his mind.



Shiryu said:

@Kid_A When have the ball, pressing A+B (I play with nunchuk option) while holding a direction will send the ball slightly forward and your player will sprint to catch it. It's very handy to trick both AI and human players. You can find this info in the controls explanation screen. And don't take this personally, reviews are just that, subjective, and what I want most is to keep NL a top quality reference site, and I feel your review doesn't provide the proper information regarding this particular game. But I think I could only show you this by playing the game right next to you, since you said you already tried all the tips written in the forum and still didn't pull them off.

Yes, "Soccer Up!" has a number of things that need some polish (and hopefully EnjoyUp games is still taking notice) and I in no way disagree with the ones already stated, but no, it is in no way a 1/10 considering the quality of some other games released on the service.

Oh and please, make sure you do try and play "Sensible Soccer" in any platform if you can, it's still a scorcher today.




@Kid_A Not a problem. I'm surprised by the reaction there seems to be over this review! I don't agree with the scores given to some games from a variety of critics, but I understand fully that a review is simply the critics opinion. Other reviews I feel are spot on. This is the latter.

And the idea that you should award the game a higher score just to prevent the metacritic score from being dragged down is just ludicrous! In my opinion you're 1/10 makes the game look better than it is.

It's great to see that some people have enjoyed this game, I'm just not one of them.



Ren said:

youch! no comment here. does seem like a bit unfair score based on the review, but it sounds like he really hated it.



MasterGraveheart said:

Ummmmm... wow... my heart goes out to the soccer fans everywhere that are going to unfortunately buy this game. @.@



DogNut327 said:

Could've sworn I had posted another comment, but I can't remember if I had clicked "Post Comment" or not. Oh well.

Anyway, my biggest problem with the game is the controls. 5/10, IMO.



ShinRPGGamer said:

Well you're not completely wrong. The controls are unresponsive at times and I see no differences in low ball and high ball on top of the fact the translation looks like something from 1988, and don't get me started on the tackling. I'd give it a 4/10.

Am I the only one who thinks the ref looks like a human Squidward?



Ren said:

I guess when I rate something, I would probably go with one's or ten's also. Sends a clearer message that something is great or has too many flaws. It's kind of hard to make a real judgement as a reader otherwise. I think it's also a little odd when people are so averse to giving great games a ten; if you love it, support it with a great score, if you hate it... well don't mince scores. It really is subjective.
It still makes me curious about if this really captures an older feel of sports games. I'm not a sports guy at all, so the old stripped down sports games really appealed to me. Remember 10 yard fight for the NES? Probably the worst (American) football game ever but somehow hard to put down.



JulioMoruno said:

Hi Guys, Thanks for your support. Soccer Up for some users is a good game and for others users is a bad game.
For us this is not a problem. Soccer Up can´t fight with PES or FIFA. For this reason, the gameplay is different. More people don´t like FIFA or PES and Soccer Up is a better option.

Also, we think is the beggining and we listen all opinions.



accc said:

I'm impressed by how well Julio is handling the bad review, especially compared to some other developers who came on this site and had a hissy fit over their game's review score. I know I'd feel really insulted if I put a lot of effort into making a game with a lot of positive qualities and that a lot of people are enjoying, and then the only major review site lumps it in with some of the worst games of all time like Fireplacing and Karate Phants.



Ikki80 said:

@nintendo1999 If you like Sensible Soccer/Kick Off style soccer games and you are not afraid of challenging games,you should give this game a chance.



JulioMoruno said:

Hi accc, we aren´t happy with this review. To analize game is very complex, if you are a fan of FIFA, PES is a bad game and the fan of PES, FIFA is a bad game. The oppinion of Jacob is that Soccer Up is terrible. Well is you oppinion. For other people Soccer Up is more funny that PES or FIFA.



Shiryu said:

@JulioMoruno How about you use my idea and make a "Speedball" style game with this engine ? No one would complain about the tackles anymore...



JulioMoruno said:

Yes, Shiryu. Is a good option. I´m fan of Amiga games. We have in the EnjoyUp studio a Amiga 1200!!!



Shiryu said:

@JulioMoruno Ah, I knew you guys had to have some Amiga in your background. ^_^ Well, if you do go ahead and plan on doing it, give me a call, I would like to help in anyway I can.



theblackdragon said:

@accc: Mr. Moruno already had his time in the sun over Chronos Twins DX. We're glad he's playing nice this time around too :3



alLabouTandroiD said:

While the score sure is bad at least a site featured on metacritic (where strangely i still couldn't find the game) and gamerankings reviewed your game. That's better than no entry i'd say. Also many comments here make me want to play a demo of the game.
Cheer up, Julio.



JulioMoruno said:

Don´t worry battLeToad, the sale of Soccer Up are very good, is number 1 on all Europe and number 20 in USA. Also the more user are very happy with Soccer Up. Thnaks for your support!!!



Kid_A said:

I was really hoping someone would pick up on it

I hope you don't take it personally. I can only review a game based off my experience and judge it based on our criteria. And even if it's not a critical hit, it looks like you're building up a fan base!



Ikki80 said:

@nintendo1999: Yeah, I bought it about a week ago and I like it. Soon I'll write a short summary of tips about it, now that I've learned to use aftertouch, I can score regularly.



Odnetnin said:

If this game was 400 points (the amount I have on my system), I would get it. Looks fun.

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