Friday, July 11, 2014

Feature Friday #17 - Pixel Cup Soccer: Maracanazo Crush Brazil

Every Friday on our blog I’ll feature a game that’s doing something unique, innovative, and truly noteworthy. This isn’t just an app review; it’s an analytical look at a fresh game from the perspective of someone within the game industry. ~~~ I didn’t write a post last week because Friday was the Fourth of July, but we’re back and the World Cup is still going, so let’s finish it off with another soccer game. This week it’s Pixel Cup Soccer: Maracanazo Crush Brazil (say that three times fast), a pretty fun soccer sim that captures the old school arcade feeling, but doesn’t really bring enough to the table. Pixel Cup Soccer: Maracanazo Crush Brazil starts with a quick intro video, alluding to the real-life match giving the game its name (I’ll abbreviate that going forward, but the full title is relevant here, plus it’s also necessary to differentiate it from the company’s other game, simply Pixel Cup Soccer). The Uruguayan developers at Batovi Games Studio made a really cool pixelated video that both provides context for the game and highlights their country’s triumph. Fittingly, they’ve set the player as their home team, pitted against the soccer powerhouse that is Brazil.
No hometown bias at all...
The soccer part plays very much like an old NES sports game with only two buttons and player quality that’s dramatically varied, and it’s great! Many sports games today are able to handle realistic detail and nuanced play, but just as often, the games seem to trip over themselves in the process. Too many controls, pass variations, chip shots, et al. often complicates gameplay and crushes the overall experience. Pixel Cup Soccer keeps it simple and creates a very playable game - on offense you can pass or shoot, on defense you’re able to switch players and slide tackle. That’s it. 
Scoring isn’t too difficult - it basically requires doing laps in front of the goalie until you get him out of position, or curving a shot past him. In a weird twist, one goal is all that’s required to “win”, because a single Brazilian goal ends the game. This shifts the challenge from whether you can score, to how many times you can net the ball. 

You can also pay to keep playing

The 45 minute clock is sped up to two minutes of real time, and each goal you score subtracts 10:30 from the time elapsed. With goals possible in less than five minutes of game time, your potential high-score is limitless, though I’ve had trouble reaching double digits consistently, and 154 is the mark to beat as of this writing. I enjoyed the gameplay and have had a good time with Pixel Cup Soccer, but with virtually no customization available, it gets old pretty fast.

Pixel Cup Soccer isn’t a bad game, and it succeeds in capturing the old school feel. The art is great, gameplay is super easy to learn and not too difficult to master, and the Game Center competition makes you want to keep playing. If you’re looking for a retro experience and a couple hours of fun, this should cut it, but the game lacks depth. For a free game that doesn’t bludgeon you too hard with ads, that’s not the end of the world, just would’ve liked to see a little more given how well it started. ~~~ Pixel Cup Soccer: Maracanazo Crush Brazil is free on iOS and Google Play. It’s aforementioned counterpart, Pixel Cup Soccer, can be found on both iTunes and Amazon App Stores for $1.99. 

Josh Dombro Community Manager

No comments:

Post a Comment