Feature posts are a pain in the rim as it’s a case of thinking up something topical, clickbait, using a title such as 5 Football Games Worth Playing on the Switch, or doing what someone else has already down before.
Well, I’m going to break that mould right now! Here are 5 Football Games Worth Playing on the Switch (in no particular order of greatness).
Disclaimer: As with all articles, they're all opinion-based pieces. They aren't politically motivated, sponsored by goat herders and you're very likely to disagree with the list. That's ok.
- FIFA 18 [or insert the year you are reading this]
- Super Arcade Soccer
- Active Soccer 2019
- Legendary Eleven
- Ganbare! Super Strikers
- Honourable Mentions
No football list is complete without a FIFA iteration – whether you like the games themselves or not, or even if you’re on a fruitless campaign to boycott the publishers, they’re here to stay.
For many years I went off the series as it was too much of a peacock parade of flashy graphics and presentations, with an abundance of trick moves meaning you could score more times than at a Justin Bieber convention. If you’re Justin Bieber.
Up the difficulty!
Yeah, of course, that’s the way forward, but there was something a little bit stale with the brand, so it wasn’t until 2018 that I went back to it.
FIFA 18 on the Switch got a bit of beating as features were missing, the graphics were the worst out of the bunch, and the controls performed poorly. That’s what others said about it, but I was more than happy with it.
When I’m not opening orphanages, splitting atoms, or when I’m doing other fabricated activities, I don’t have the time for fully-featured football games. I do, however, have time for a kickabout with friends and FIFA 18 did precisely what I wanted it to do.
It wasn’t worth the same asking price as the PS4 or Xbox One versions, but when it did drop down to the £10 I paid for it, it was totally worth it. A physical copy, may I add.
I'd link in the review, but I foolishly deleted it.
Super Arcade Soccer
Super Arcade Soccer was in my wishlist for some times, and I continually put it off as I felt that I’d end up regretting paying the reasonable price tag. Still, I bought it, and you can read the review here.
Interestingly, this football title has proved quite popular on the site. Either that’s because people are looking for football games, have the same title in their wishlist or perhaps noted that my score is a bit higher than the other reviews out there.
Don’t misunderstand – there’s a lot off with Super Arcade Soccer and really is a no-frills experience. There are hardly any teams, every team features a Lego-helmet wearing Valderrama player (that’s one for the oldies), and the camera focus can be infuriating with goal kicks.
However… there’s also a lot that works. For an indie title, when the game does work, it works quite well. The graphics are alright, the ball control is good (when it’s responding) and scoring a goal is one of the better experiences I’ve had in a football game. Definitely an arcade-type playstyle, but enjoyable at times.
If you’re interested in this one, I’d wait until it’s on sale for a price you’re willing to play, and check out gameplay videos too. I may make one for my YouTube channel, but it’s a football game you should experience rather than watch. On-screen everything looks peachy, but when you’re screaming at the TV for the players to switch when you’re repeatedly pressing the buttons, you may find that this could be the deal-breaker as to whether you’ll pick it up or not.
Active Soccer 2019
A random purchase here. While misunderstandings can be made when using the term ‘football’, you can’t mistake the term ‘soccer’, and that’s what this game is: soccer. Hence the title. Active Soccer 2019.
Unlike FIFA, you can jump into Active Soccer 2019 pretty quick, and it soon becomes apparent that this has been influenced by the likes of Sensible Soccer and Kick Off as if they are rebooted versions of the game where the developers have got a better grasp of 3D models.
The camera modes are better than Sensible Soccer as you can switch from goal-line cameras to isometric and tele views. Controls are quite understated, but they perform well and above average.
There are more than enough teams to choose from – both club and national teams, including 25,000 players with individual skills. I’ve reviewed every single player twice, and can confirm that they do have many unique skills; sewing, cooking – some are even good at sports!
It’s a reasonably priced title and appeared and immediately disappeared in the eShop so you’ll only find it in a search or if it’s put up in a sale or gets a new feature published, hint hint.
This is the only title I haven’t played yet. It’s been in my list for a little while, and I missed the last sale, opting for a few other titles instead. It has mixed reviews, but I thought that Super Arcade Soccer was a little better than what others have said, so lookout for a review on this one soon.
In the meantime, Legendary Eleven is another football game that is more of an arcade experience than simulation. If you’ve played football games from the 90s, then you’ll be impressed with the presentation here. In some respects, it looks like Subbuteo players have come to life, minus their bases, and donned some somewhat ill-fitting shorts.
In fact, all the players in the game have opted for the Italian style of dress sense, and you’d be forgiven in thinking this is a game set in the 70s. It is. Apparently, it spans the 70s through to the 90s, featuring 36 different teams where you can boost their stats, improve morale and other perks.
Alas, I haven’t played this, so rather than put a spin on a press release, once I get Legendary Eleven, I’ll put out a review as to whether it’s any good.
Ganbare! Super Strikers
The final title is this somewhat minimal football compilation, Ganbare! Super Strikers is a game that I picked up very recently after seeing a good buzz about on the interwebs.
Ganbare! Super Strikers differs to the other titles as it introduces an RPG element to the game and is turn-based. Each match has the players positioned across a grid-like pitch, similar to a game of checkers, and you roll a dice similar to Dungeons & Dragons to decide each action.
It sounds awful, but it’s quite fun and was surprised that the game doesn’t feel as fragmented as it should. Each player is a cartoon-like variation and even features the odd special move that also wouldn’t be out of place in a fantasy-based game.
Create your star player and team and set out on a campaign to win the league. It has a story-like element to it, and the skill here is to position players accordingly, monitor their energy levels and level them up accordingly. The higher the level, the more likelihood of scoring a goal/intercepting a pass.
Ganbare! Super Strikers is a football game of probability but in a more unconventional way. I’ve played a good amount of it already, but juggling review titles etc., so when there’s time and should there be the interested, I’ll put out a review.
There’s nothing honourable in this motley crew of footy games, but I’ve jotted them down nonetheless.
If you have Nintendo Switch Online Membership, chances are you’ve already played the NES Online’s Soccer or the SNES Online’s Super Soccer. Out of the two, the latter is better, but that’s like choosing death by having your liver ripped out with a knife or fork – both are unpleasant. Not that I’d know. Mine’s in use and firmly fermenting away after that last beer.
Ideally, the SNES Online needs an update with International Superstar Soccer, as anyone who can testify from back in the day, will recall that it was one of the better 16-bit titles. However, anyone new to the game will likely find it frustratingly slow, weak controls and dodgy graphics. But hey: it’s a relic – it came out in 1994. Admittedly, the revised International Superstar Soccer 64 game on the N64 was better.
If strategy is more your thing, Football Manager 2020 Touch is something worth looking into. Should you have the intellect of a normal person, you’ll have surmised that it’s a management game and… it is! However, I haven’t played it yet and not likely to either. I’m on a self-ban of these type of games.
Back in my youth, without responsibilities, I’d play Championship Manager to the early hours of the morning. However, now deemed a grown-up by society, I’ve limited my time with these games and instead would rather play something that doesn’t require so much time. I don’t know, like The Witcher 3 or Ni No Kuni – those finish in a couple of evening type game. Yeah, right.
When it comes to the future, the only thing that springs to mind would be Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions, as covered in this news piece. It’s unlike any of the other football games I’ve played and I believe, other than the PS4, it’ll be coming to the Switch. Sure, FIFA will have another game out, but we (I) need something like a Sega Ages Virtua Striker port or a Sensible Soccer Remastered edition. Time will evidently tell, but I’m sure I’ll try them all when given the opportunity.