Before we begin, people expecting a fully fledged soccer game will be disappointed. So, please leave that thought at the door.
iSoccer Backstreet is a collection of soccer inspired mini games, where it’s all about the style and skill, and less about ‘The Beautiful Game’ itself.
The bulk of the game plays a little like a dance game, where you must tap the hit key at the right moment in order to pull off moves. Instead of keeping time to the beat however, you must pull off varied juggling moves within a time limit without dropping the ball.
The game is presented with a full body view of your character in one of four differently themed environments; a junk yard, under pass, dock-lands and stadium. He’ll automatically begin to juggle the ball, and as the ball is kicked into the air, a green target will appear. You must tap the hit button on screen as the ball passes behind this target in order to successfully continue juggling. To the left of him is a head up display with buttons representing the areas you can juggle the ball with. So tapping on head and then the hit button will make him use his head for juggling, tapping the foot before the hit will make him juggle the ball with his foot.. and so on, and so on. Holding hit will cause that part of the body to balance the ball, which activates a balance meter similar to grinding in the majority of skating games.
As you progress, you unlock special moves which are accessible once you build up your power bar. To do this you must juggle the ball in succession, and once it’s full, you can activate the special move with the corresponding gesture on screen. If done correctly you’ll get more points.
This part of the game shows up in two of the four mini games; ‘trick counter’ and ‘follow me’. Follow me differs in that you must copy the moves of a computer player along the lines of Simon Says. The other two, ‘shooting’ and ‘destroyer’, are completely different. In ‘shooter’ you must participate in penalty shoot outs, sounds fun but it’s a little under-whelming. Destroyer is perhaps the best game of them all. It plays like a target shooting game, except you must dribble the ball around the area in 3rd person using the accelerometer for turning, and then when near an object such as a scrap car or fire hydrant you hold down the power bar and unleash your ball kick. Depending on the power will result in the object being destroyed or not. You must destroy all highlighted objects in an arena before the time runs out. The only problem with destroyer is that the controls take a little getting used to.
You can play all these games separately in ‘quick game’, or play them in succession in the career mode. As you progress through the career mode you unlock items, which you can trick out your player with. These don’t affect your players skills, but act like achievements.
A cool graffiti like art style, with some great player models and motion capture. There’s the odd long loading time here and there, which detracts from it’s pick up play nature, and the pre-rendered backdrops don’t quite seamlessly blend in to the action.
A good selection of music which fits the game’s style well, plus your typical footy sound effects.
It’s fun for short time, but the main gameplay of pulling off moves can get repetitive. Destroyer is good fun even with some control issues. However, the penalty shootout game lets it down as an overall package.
Once you’ve unlocked all the play modes in the career section. You can go back and beat your scores. However, the initial originality of the game soon wears off, and there is no multiplayer to keep you coming back.
iSoccer Backstreet has some great ideas. Some work better than others, and so overall it’s a just-above-average title. If you are a soccer fan and looking for something different you might want to pick this up. The game is out now for the introductory price of $1.99.