If you’ve ever wondered what a near 1:1 remake of a game from the Amiga days would look like, you’ve come to the right place. ‘Sociable Soccer 24’, developed by Tower Studios and Combo Breaker and published by the former, is a return to form of Jon Hare’s series of yore ‘Sensible Soccer’, available on many a platform like the SEGA Genesis, Amiga, and ATARI ST.
Featuring fast-paced arcade football action and lots of licensed FIFPRO teams and players, Sociable Soccer 24 aims to be a solid option in the rather niche market of arcadey sports games, and it doesn’t do a bad job of offering a fun old time. The developer has also tried to bring the game up to speed in regards to other sports titles by offering online play and league progression systems. But it’s core gameplay is also much slower and, frankly speaking, less interesting than prior releases.
When you enter the world of Sociable Soccer 24, you’re thrown right into a snazzy little menu with a catchy tune along with a brief tutorial on how to play right before it gives you a daily log-in bonus. Make no mistake, learning Sociable Soccer is as easy as pie and you’ll become familiar with the game in your very first game. You have your three kick types: passing, chipping, and shooting along with a sprint button and sliding at your disposal. You can also set the camera to an overhead view just like the old football titles.
In Jon Hare’s world of ball, movement is much faster and quick thinking is key to breaching your opponent’s defence and scoring. I wasn’t kidding when I said it feels like an Amiga title in 2023—my sibling and I had a good time playing friendlies, picking random teams to work with across all of Eurasia. And I like the goofy artstyle that permeates the players and your chosen manager portrait, eyes rolling about and bulging—you can spam emotes as much as you want to make the other player upset, too. Though the overall presentation is a bit lacking, visuals and polish-wise, at the very least the game will run on everything you throw at it.
Sociable Soccer 24 offers Career, Friendlies, World, and random online PvP that’s actively attempting to match you (it’s up to you to decide if you want to accept, of course). Career has you leveling up through divisions by taking on players’ teams with your own that you build by playing and getting player packs, and you can play this mode in “Coach Mode” as well (think auto gameplay). World takes you through multiple cups across the world by playing specific teams within leagues in a set of nine matches. And friendlies is just straight-to-the-action with a friend locally or online. Forewarning, this game will not start if you do not have an active internet connection, which is dissapointing to see.
These modes are an attempt to spice up Sociable Soccer’s fairly simplistic gameplay, but it doesn’t do much justice. For one, most of the modes pair you with the game’s AI players and they’re fairly poor even on the hardest difficulty. Balls can be easily stolen from players just by waltzing up to them and the opposing team will often take red cards trying to steal the ball from you. It takes very little effort to juke even higher rated teams.
And the only thing I’ve noticed that really matters is how good your goalie is. Having a highly rated goalkeeper is important because otherwise they’ll keep in their hands in their pants when you otherwise really need them to block the bloody shot. Now The developer has said they are looking to make changes to AI difficulty and even pushed a patch out during my playtime, but I didn’t notice much of a difference.
Compared to previous ‘Sensible Soccer’ titles, Sociable Soccer 24 is also notably slower than prior games. Compounded with players being wholly dependent on stats this time around means that you can’t pick any low-rated team, even in friendlies, if you want to be on even footing. But even then I did end up putting a few hours into the Career and World modes because of the simple gameplay style. However it does feel like Sociable Soccer 24 was designed more for mobile phones in mind than a controller, and I found that to hurt the overall speed of the game.
Though Sociable Soccer 24 offers fun arcade football action (and with a lot of teams to boot), its slower speed and poor AI makes matches feel samey very quickly. This impacts the progression more than I would have liked, making climbing the ranks very uninteresting. But there’s a solid arcade game in here and I hope to see improvements made to the core gameplay overtime. ∎
Sociable Soccer 24 is currently available on Steam, with a Nintendo Switch release slated for later in the year along with an Xbox release in Q1 2024.
Sociable Soccer 24
- Simple and fun football gameplay.
- Leveling up players and setting up teams is fun.
- AI opponents aren't difficult to deal with at all.
- Simplistic arcade gameplay doesn't mesh well with progression.
- Gameplay feels much slower compared to previous 'Sensible' titles.