New Star Soccer 5 is a 2D sports game that attempts to show the industry that not all football games are the same. Brought to you by Indie game studios ‘New Star Games’ this is personally one of the most enjoyable and unique football games I’ve ever played. Available on PC and Mac through the New Star Games website(http://newstarsoccer.newstargames.com/) you can opt to download the game and play for free with limitations or pay $20 for a fully unlocked premium service. The game does recommend using a wired XBOX 360 controller to play the game for best performance; however the controls are simple enough to play using the keyboard.
So what makes this different to other football games I hear you ask? Well similar to the ‘Be a Pro’ mode that you find on massive football games such as FIFA; New Star Soccer 5 also allows you to create your own player and sets you on a journey to become a new star in the world of football. The difference is that this game is more in-depth and really puts you through the same challenges in life that a young footballer would face today. You start out as a talented 16 year old boy and through training and playing matches you improve your skills to try and become the next football legend. Uniquely, at the same time as playing football you have to juggle your social life choosing whether to spend time with friends, going the races or to a pub which enhances your chance of getting a girlfriend, or alternatively you can choose to spend time with the fans and enhance your profile, or annoy your boss by not attending meetings; basically like the old saying goes “every action has a consequence”. One additional consequence that comes with everything you do is it costs energy; therefore you have less energy when playing a match if you have an active social life. You can combat this by purchasing games, movies and music to recuperate energy when travelling to away matches, or even having an energy drink but beware this can lead to stomach cramps and affect your match performance.
The 2D gameplay in the matches combined with the uniqueness of the career mode options really makes this stand out from other titles in the genre, and furthermore you don’t have all the tricky controls to learn as in some of the big football games either. Instead New Star Games have kept the game nice and simple meaning it’s easy to play and you don’t get stressed out because you can’t figure out how to perfectly time tackles or bend your shot into the corner of the goal. Using the arrow keys to run around in all directions, the only other button you need to really know is ‘Z’ which you use to call for the ball, pass, tackle, header and shoot. If you prefer to mix things up you can head into the options and change things round a bit, but I found the default settings simple enough to use; though at times I did struggle with heading the ball. If there was one problem with the gameplay however it would be that when you call for a ball it is hard to sometimes get on the end of it, because nine times out of ten the ball goes to where you’re standing rather than the space you’re running into, meaning the ball ends up behind you and the opposition get back possession and you get shouted at by your manager for a poor call.
Another thing that I love about this game is the fact you can play for free, even if it does limit you. What happens is when you register the game you get five free matches to play, and following that you get an additional three matches per day. In addition for those of you wanting to play for free you do need to be connected to an internet connection when you start your career and every time you play a match. However buying a premium account does get rid of these problems, allowing you to play unlimited matches and meaning you only have to be online once every 50 matches to make sure your player is registered on the New Star Soccer database so other players can view your stats. Why would other players view your stats you say? Well it’s like a league table, everyone who plays is put into the database and the better your player is the higher you rank, so you are literally competing with people from all around the world to become the best player on the game. If I had one criticism it would be the $20 price tag for a premium account may be a little high and put some people off. An additional feature of the game is unlockable achievements that you get for performing certain tasks; this could be for anything from celebrating in front of the cameras after scoring a goal to keeping a clean sheet.
As for the specifications of the game; graphically it’s no masterpiece, its little 2D pixelated men running around on a green pitch. Yet this retro feel really makes the game a little more enjoyable, and shows graphics aren’t the only thing that makes a decent game. The sounds in the game aren’t too expansive either with a few chants you hear during matches and some sound effects to go with your actions but again it isn’t something that ruins your experience of the game, because it’s been kept nice and simple rather than over complicating things.
Overall this is a great indie game that aims and succeeds in showing that not all football games are the same, and that making it more personal by adding lifestyle choices really enhances the experience. These elements are the exact type of thing that would make buying big games like FIFA and Pro Evolution worthwhile again, rather than spending huge amounts of money on what is basically an update of squads. Plus with the retro look and simple controls it just makes this game all about the gamer having fun rather than trying to make the match gameplay as realistic as possible. So I’d definitely recommend that people head over to the site and download it with it having a free version because I guarantee you wouldn’t be disappointed; then if you choose you can pay for the premium service and have unlimited hours of fun.
CPU: 2 GHz
Graphics Card: 256 MB
RAM: 1 GB
HDD: 100 MB
*A wired XBOX 360 pad is highly recommended.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.