The Sports Arcade genre is one that sports fanatic gamers, casual gamers and gamers who cannot stand the yearly sport simulations can meet in the middle and enjoy gaming. I have a lot in love for this genre, with NBA JAM, NFL Blitz, FIFA Street and Sega Soccer Slam being some of the best times I have had gaming, especially with friends. These games strip back the simulation rules, numbers of players on teams, have simple controls while having depth, a great difficulty system and create a remarkable competitive atmosphere. Enter Street Power Football a self-proclaimed “over the top football experience” from SFL Interactive.
Of the bat the visuals and art style portray that Sports Arcade look. Menus are bright and flashy, while the players on screen have disproportioned bodies and large heads that seem to be a staple of the genre. Back drops of the levels from around the world also set the scene and gives the illusion of playing around the word. Overall the look of this game is good and is better than my expectations; sadly the gameplay is not as strong.
Street Power Football gives the players six distinctive modes, Street Power Matches, Freestyle, Panna, Trick Shot, Elimination and the campaign mode, Become Street King.
Street Power matches are the main draw in this package and are 2v2 or 3v3 small-sided matches. These games are like a traditional football/futsal match where one team needs to score more goals than the other. There are no goalkeepers and the goal size is approximately a metre high and wide. Players have the normal pass, shoot, tackle and sprint with the LT/L2 button allowing the ball to be passed in the air for volley shots or passes. The X/square button performs tricks and this is where the game mixes it up. Tricks are used to beat players on the deck or combined with the LT/L2 to do an air trick. Doing tricks also builds up the super power meter to perform a super power move. There are 8 different super powers such as charge shot, air jump and missile shot but all end in the same automatic outcome, a goal. There are also pick-ups that randomly generate on the pitch and have different effects, such as a speed boost or freezing the opposition.
While all this sounds fun on paper the gameplay lacks in a number of areas. First of all the gameplay is slow, the players and their tricks are slow and even the passing and shooting is underwhelming slow. This is the opposite of what street football really is and what the gameplay needs to be. The tricks are nothing but just a gimmick and are overpowered with beating (getting around) opposition players; either way I found it easier just to knock the ball around opponents until space opened up and shot. The ease of scoring is actually a negative as it is difficult to miss. Each game goes for 5 minutes or first to 5 goals and even towards the end of the campaign against the toughest teams I was scoring 5 goals within 90 seconds and did not need to perform a single trick or super move. While defending, there is a lack of a lunge or slide tackle and this is disappointing.
In Freestyle the player takes the stage to perform tricks, achieve points and gain a grade depending on the style, rhythm and difficulty of the tricks. Performing tricks is via set moves list using the buttons and left stick to create combos, very similar to dancing games. It is just a basic mini game of memorising button combinations, nothing much more.
Panna is the mode I enjoyed the most. It is set in a cage and the aim is to either score a goal for a point and a nutmeg for two points. Players need to fill their power meter by holding onto the ball or shooting and once the bar is full the player can enter the Panna move. During the Panna move each player must match the quick time commands that pop up on the screen. The player who gets the most commands correct wins and either completes the nutmeg or defends it. While it was very easy versus the AI, it was a fun distraction against an opponent on the couch.
Trickshot is a target shooting game that requires some fancy free kick skill. The player will need to aim their shot, get the correct height, curve and power to hit targets. Not much too it and it got frustrating pretty quick on the later levels as it is just a massive game of trial and error.
Elimination is two teams of three who complete as 1v1 on a half court. The player needs to race to the ball and score before the opponent, if you score the opponent is eliminated and the team to lose all there players in the loser. I did like that if the player held onto the ball for more than 10 seconds the goals would close and would not open again unless possession was turned over or the player left the penalty area. This mode was some fun in versus mode.
Become The Street King is the game campaign and it is hosted by Street Football legend Sean Garnier. Sean takes the player around the globe and competing in the above modes except Elimination at 14 different venues. The biggest change is that each event has a challenge linked to them and they must be completed to pass to go to the next event. Trickshot and Freestyle are always score based challenges and it just makes these modes more frustrating. Panna might include a certain number of nutmegs or tricks, while the Street Power matches could have a number of passes, collects pick ups or super moves needed to be completed. While it does spice it up, it does not save the slow and mundane gameplay.
It is not all doom and gloom; Street Power Football provides a good soundtrack with a mix of tracks from around the globe. The sound design is ok but there is very limited crowd noise and matches sound empty with no talk between players. Leaderboards are a plus if you are into trying to top those. Street Power Football also provides 25 real life players and all their equipment, clothing and tattoos are customisable. This and having real players is a great touch, it is a shame the gameplay does not get close to the realm of the real player’s ability.
The length of the campaign is 3 to 4 hours but it is a struggle to get that far in. It can be paused at any time and is family friendly. Players can play all modes on versus locally and online via invitation only as there was no lobby on the Xbox One at time of review.
Street Power Football was reviewed on an Xbox One X. It is also available on PC, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.
Turn Left Distribution kindly provided code for this review and it was reviewed on an Xbox One X. All thoughts on this title is ours and ours alone.