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 PLAYSTATION VR FEATURE

PGC Helsinki 2016: Classic gaming returns through the latest technology in Sociable Soccer


Take your seats
Product: Sociable Soccer | Publisher: Tower Studios | Format: Virtual Reality, Steam, Gear VR, Oculus, PlayStation VR, Vive
 
Despite all of the advances in technology, and multiple new ways to play, there's something quite comforting about returning to some of gaming's most iconic experiences.

Whether it be the newly announced Super Mario Run for iOS, or Sociable Soccer, the spiritual successor to Sensible Soccer, these experiences have the potential to easily draw gamers in and have you hooked for hours.

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So when Jon Hare first announced that he was teaming up with Combo breaker to bring back the good old days of arcade football action, virtual reality was probably the last thing on many people's minds.

Nevertheless, that's exactly what the judges were presented with when they headed over to Sociable Soccer's VR Indie Pitch table at this year’s Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki.

Bend it like Beckham

In terms of controls, Sociable Soccer is exactly what you would expect - simple and intuitive. In fact, the game only uses the one button in order to both kick the ball and tackle your opponents.

Instead, the depth can actually be found in the way you manoeuvre your players around the pitch, and your ability to thread that perfect ball through the park to the waiting striker.



There are little touches that can aid you on the road to victory - such as the ability to bend the ball with a flick of the analog stick - but generally it really is as simple as tapping into an open goal.

As such, rather than the likes of FIFA or Pro Evolution Soccer, Sociable Soccer's easy to understand control scheme not only gives it that iconic arcade feel, but also helps in making it accessible to all.

Season Ticket Holder

However, that's not the only way Tower Studios and Combo Breaker are trying to differentiate the title from its more established brethren, and this is where Sociable Soccer’s virtual reality perspective comes into play.

You see, while FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer aim to immerse you through next-gen graphics, player realism, and licenses, Sociable Soccer takes a different strategy for success.

Instead, Sociable Soccer's developers have opted to utilise next generation technology, rather than graphics, to make you truly feel part of the action.



When playing Sociable Soccer through through one of the many virtual reality HMDs that are compatible with the game, you'll find yourself transported right into the stadium staring down at the players.

From this viewpoint, players can easily scan the length of the pitch by simply turning their head, eliminating the static camera which hides much of the field of play.

This isn't the only perspective though, as players can also view the play from the back of their own goal. Here the camera travels backwards and forwards as you attack and defend, much like in the original Sensible Soccer.

A league of its own

Ultimately, Sensible Soccer's addition of a VR option may seem like a small touch to many. However, there really is no better feeling of immersion in a football game than experiencing it in VR.

All in all, much like with gameplay, it's these simple touches that seem set to make Sociable Soccer not only a fun and enjoyable footballing experience, but also a more lightweight alternative to the established juggernauts.

Sociable Soccer is currently in development for both mobile and consoles. Look out for the title when it arrives next year.
 

Reviewer photo
Simon Drake 14 September 2016
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