Amidst the clamouring hands of football fans over the next entry in the FIFA series, EnjoyUp Games saw a gap in the market, namely the 3DS eShop, and so decided to release its original Football Up 3D. Not content with simply remaining a sub-par local multiplayer experience, Football Up Online has since been released to little fanfare.
Almost identical in every facet to the original, Football Up Online is a football game like any other; you control a football team in an attempt to beat your opponent by attacking a ball with your feet in such a way that it flies into a net on your opponent’s side of the pitch. As with most games within this genre, you only control one character at a time, and must switch between players in order to make use of the entire field of play. It’s a formula that’s been around for so long, it’s a wonder that the developers couldn’t get it right the second time around.
The controls in this game are unnecessarily complex, the kick and slide tackle moves are both mapped to the same button, meaning that if someone takes possession of the ball from you a split second before you try and kick it, you’ll slam into your opponent, get called on a foul, and possibly be given a yellow card. This is just one of the myriad problems with the control system, which is even worse online due to latency issues. Rather than try and compensate for any lag, the game simply reacts after your input in a manner very similar to the online multiplayer in Super Smash Bros. Brawl — on a bad day. It would be asking a bit much to expect ultra-precise movements for a budget game, but it renders the online functionality unenjoyable and muddy.
Graphically the game is severely lacking. Simplistic menus, very basic character models and stiff animations are the major culprits of this, and it’s impossible to avoid them. Looking deeper into the instructions – which you’ll need to do in order to get a grip on the game’s finicky control system – reveals the laziest part of all; bad translations. Usually the odd mistake is forgiveable, but the How to Play section is rife with errors in not only spelling and grammar, but inconsistencies in basic punctuation. This is funny, but not for the right reasons.
The single player is essentially the same as its predecessor, where the variety of modes are almost indistinguishable from one another, which is a shame, as this follow-up would have been the perfect opportunity to try and sort out the issues of the original. The single player features have been detailed in our Football Up 3D Review. There is some enjoyment to be had in this title, but it’s enjoyment that’s at the game’s expense, primarily at the controls and lacklustre presentation. When the most fun you have with a game is laughing about its problems, you know something’s amiss.
Football Up Online feels more like it should have been an update or perhaps DLC for Football Up 3D rather than its own standalone title. The bad controls and significant latency issues online are bad enough, but coupled with the other numerous problems leaves a game that’s only enjoyable if you’re laughing at it rather than with it. Unpolished, uninteresting, and unenjoyable, Football Up Online isn’t a game for anyone to get excited over.