Hoping against hope to sweep the award for most cumbersomely titled game in the eShop, Arc Style: Soccer!! 3D is here, and it's brought with it a slew of impressive options for customisation. Unfortunately, the gameplay seems to have been sacrificed on their behalf.
As with just about any sports game, Arc Style: Soccer!! 3D's multiplayer experience is far superior to its single player. Local Download Play allows you to pit your team head to head against others... and we do mean your team.
Arc Style: Soccer!! 3D allows you to customise just about everything you could imagine. You start with a team name, and then design a uniform component by component, choose a logo and then name and construct your individual players. The players are Mii-like in their options, and creating them is a blast: you can name them after your friends or famous people, and build them to match, assigning them to different positions and granting them special abilities. You can even use the inner camera to snap pictures of your face — or the face of your friends — to paste directly onto the character. It's a misleadingly fun option, and it's a bit of a shame that the rest of the game isn't as fun or inventive as the team creation mode.
There are two options for players who wish to face the AI: Exhibition, and World Tournament. Exhibition is a single game while World Tournament finds you squaring off against many computer-controlled teams in sequence. Unfortunately this mode doesn't have the option to save your progress, so you either complete it in one sitting or you start fresh the next time.
The controls, oddly, don't use the touch screen at all. Even navigating menus and selecting customisation options is handled with the buttons, which is somewhat counter-intuitive and much more cumbersome. During the actual matches, though, the buttons work great, and it won't take long to familiarise yourself with the deliberately simple control scheme. You can pass, tackle, dash and shoot, and that's about it. Arc Style: Soccer!! 3D aims to be accessible, and it absolutely is. Die-hard soccer strategists might be left cold by the simplicity of this game's design, but for young players or casual fans, it controls perfectly.
Unfortunately the game is rather dull in its presentation. The 3D effect is nice enough, but won't be missed if you turn the slider down. In fact, if anything the 3D is obtrusive in the team creation mode, as you'll be flicking your eyes back and forth between the top and bottom screens and needing to readjust every time. The 3D looks nice when the game is in motion, but at other times it really calls out for better implementation.
The matches are quick and will likely only last a few minutes each, but the game often feels sluggish and without purpose. This is down mainly to the AI which doesn't seem to care how exciting the match is, and would rather pass endlessly to itself and run out the clock.
The fun picks up when you compete against another human player. In fact, if you do manage to find a friend with this game, and both of you have taken the time to tailor a team to your personal whims, there can be a great deal of fun to be found in pitting them against each other, and discovering weaknesses in the lineup that you may not have realised during customisation. Unfortunately both players will need to own the game, and at this price — and for the small amount on offer — that might be tricky.
Arc Style: Soccer!! 3D gets very close to earning our recommendation for its truly impressive customisation options alone, but customisation does not make a game, and the core experience here really needed the care and attention that its team building options received. The option to build teams with the touch screen and the ability to save your progress during the World Tournament would have helped as well, but the fact remains that the game itself just fails to be engaging, and offers only a small glimpse of what it should have been.
Arc Style: Soccer!! 3D has its share of bizarre design choices, but the appeal of creating your own team from scratch, player by player, and pitting them against teams designed by your friends is undeniable. Unfortunately this requires you to have friends who own the game, and the single player experience doesn't measure up nearly as well. It's by no means a bad game, but at its price — and considering the fact that you'll need two copies in order to get the most out of it — it does feel somewhat uncooked and overpriced.