Soccer Tactics isn't far from being an iPad football hit

By Owen Faraday 28 May 2013 0
The mostly beautiful game. Turn-based tiki-taka.

I was briefly obsessed last week with Soccer Tactics, a free iPad game from Russian developers Pixonic. As the name on the tin suggests, the offer here is turn-based football -- a light sim that gives you the reins of an entire team and ever-so-gently evokes last year's gem New Star Soccer.

When it's your turn in Soccer Tactics, you get three moves to work the ball around the pitch or make off-the-ball runs -- then the other team gets three moves to cut off your attack or tackle the ball away. The mechanics are underpinned by a system of four attributes for each player combined with some dice-rolling to determine if your actions are successful.

Having made games for Facebook and mobile platforms for years, Pixonic are an experienced outfit and that's borne out by Soccer Tactics' polished presentation. The underlying game doesn't quite live up to that mark.

Last week's infatuation with the game cooled when I realized that (despite the array of tactical options and special moves at the disposal of your players) there's a couple of sure-fire ways to score quick goals. The AI is also competent but rather predictable -- it never managed to threaten me with defeat, and believe me, I'm no Mourinho. There's some strategic layer issues with how players gain experience and what not, but you get the idea.

Part of this may be down to me not investing enough time to get my Morningside Heights FC promoted out of the bottom league -- maybe the game gets tougher and the AI cagier as you climb the ranks. But for all my complaints, I kept on playing for many matches after I'd seen behind the curtain. Soccer Tactics is a very compelling little package, one that's a few balance tweaks (and perhaps a larger pitch?) away from being really good.

Soccer Tactics is a brilliant idea and I hope to see it live up to its promise. It's still in active development with Pixonic, who hope to add multiplayer, online tournaments, a transfers market and other features. Given Pixonic's multiplatform track record I wouldn't be surprised if it showed up for Android as well.

A trailer for Soccer Tactics is below.
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