OS Scores Explained New Star Soccer Overview (Android)
Very, very addictive; Shooting/passing module an ingenious concept; Fun off-field mini games.
Gameplay doesn't evolve much; Moving your player can be a chore; Transfer module slightly unrealistic.
Bottom Line
Know where your charger is, because you won't be able to put your phone down for a long long while.
out of 10
New Star Soccer REVIEW

New Star Soccer Review (Android)

New Star Soccer won this year’s British Academy of Film and Television Arts’ Best Sports/Fitness game, beating out the likes of FIFA 13 and Forza Horizon. Here's our belated take at what makes it so impressive.

Stripped down, yes. But less fun? Definitely not.

How do you port a soccer game over to phones and tablets? Simple, just take out the boring parts. Who needs to command your player to run continuously when you can just do the kicking?

Of course, it’s much more complex than that. Yet amazingly, in New Star Soccer, developer Simon Read has figured out how to make a soccer game incredibly fun to play on a touch screen device of your choice.
A lot of it traces back to the original PC game’s concept, where it’s one part “Be a Player” and one part The Sims, where in addition to playing the match, you can partake in off-field activities to improve your skills, earn extra cash, and have relationships. Well, relationships in a rather shallow sense anyway, as it is determined solely by your possessions and how much time you spend with your partner (though some may argue that it's just a realistic portrayal). Sprinkle a liberal dose of satire of the football world-- the post-match interviews where you string along a bunch of clichéd phrases will have you chuckling to yourself-- and you’ve got the makings of an incredibly charming and addictive game.

If you’ve played the PC version of New Star Soccer before (NSS 5 being its latest iteration), the premise is very much the same. You create a player, pick a league to start in, and work your way to the top. There are several important differences in the mobile version. First of all, instead of controlling your player for the entire duration of the match, you only get the highlights package: most of the match is done in text commentary, except in moments when your player is involved in the action — either a chance to make a pass, take a shot, or make an interception — at which point it switches to the in-game view. As a result, matches go by briskly, and you get to play only the fun parts.

The second difference is that you don’t have to move your player unless you’re trying to intercept an opposition pass. That’s not a bad decision, since the dragging can be frustrating at times, especially if you need to change directions. So it comes as no surprise that the interception module is the weakest of the three, as the dragging sometimes can be too unforgiving—your player won’t stick a leg out even if the ball rolls just to the side of him—plus it’s hard to keep tabs on what’s going on on the pitch when your finger is covering a good deal of it.

The most crucial difference comes when you have to pass or take a shot. Think of it almost like setting up a shot in a golf game. At first you’re shown a static moment during the match. After assessing the situation, you can decide which of your teammates to pass to (or which area of the goal to shoot at) by dragging an arrow for direction and power. Finally, it enters into a mini-game, where a ball rolls (or bounces) into view, and you tap on the part of the ball you want to hit. What an ingenious addition this is. Hit the top part of the ball and your shot or pass will stay low, while hitting it on either side will it a nice curl. It is such a rewarding feeling when you’re able to curl a thirty yard volley into the top corner of the net, just as you intended.

Off the field, while certain elements are stripped down, on the whole things are very much the same as it was in NSS 5. You have plenty of things to be mindful of as your career progresses: relationships with various parties, energy level, and your bank balance. In between matches, there are a few options as to how to spend your time off — training, going shopping, gambling, chatting with the boss — all of which will decrease your energy, but will inevitably reward you in the aforementioned categories. The training and gambling mini-games are just that, mini-games that won't blow anyone away, but they're fun diversions and add to the experience. Like when you need an extra wad of cash to buy a nice house and you end up finding it at the blackjack table.
Visually, the game is more than good enough for mobile gaming, and as a bonus, the presentation style, from the top-down view to the “goal!” notifications, exudes the kind of retro-charm that owners of Sega Genesis and SNES will surely appreciate.

In terms of longevity, the gameplay doesn’t evolve much — at the end of the day if you’re not playing a match, you’re either in a mini-game or going shopping. As well, the transfer module is slightly unrealistic -- at the end of a season, you can pretty much pick any team in a league and sign with it, as long as that league matches your skill level. But these are small complaints compared to what the game does offer — an addictive and, in mobile game standards, rather deep experience. The allure of taking your player to the top flight, as well as the myriad of achievement goals, will very likely keep you glued to the phone of your choice, swiping and tapping the night away.
Final Thoughts

At the very fair price of $2.99 (on Google Play; it’s priced differently on iPhone) New Star Soccer is highly recommended. Let’s just put it this way: I really only needed to play the game for three to four hours to have everything I need for the review. I am now at, approximately, my sixteenth.

Score: 9.0 (All-Time Classic)

Member Comments
# 1 tarek @ 05/30/13 09:39 PM
As a person who sunk alot of time into Simon's games, New Star Soccer for Mac, New Star Grand Prix for Mac (another really fun and underrated driving game) and NSS on iOS I can say that these games are ALOT of fun.
I'm glad to see a review on this version of the game, and also was aware of the recent award.
I can't encourage people enough to try this out, you'll be pleasantly surprised.
# 2 [Icy] @ 05/31/13 04:10 AM
Big fan of Simon games since first NSS in PC, he really deserves that award, amazing what a single programmer has done.
# 3 ps3veron @ 05/31/13 04:47 AM
Guys if you have a social life, don't buy this! This game is gold!
# 4 addybojangles @ 05/31/13 12:35 PM
Bought it based on this review and already spent a few hours with it. THE HOOKS ARE DEEP.
# 5 gerg1234 @ 05/31/13 12:50 PM
I really should not have bought that.

I lost an hour and a half of sleep last night & my phone is just begging for me to start back up while I'm at work.
# 6 gopher_guy @ 05/31/13 12:56 PM
I've had this game for a while now. Well worth the cost, I've put quite a bit of time into it! I love how quick the games are to play. Waiting in line somewhere? Play a game quick.

Fun stuff!
# 7 nvinceable1 @ 05/31/13 06:02 PM
I've had the full version of this game on my Mac for a few years and it's just outstanding. It's one of the few games these days that have that "just one more turn" addictiveness factor. For anyone who wants to try before you buy you can actually play the portable version of the game for free here: http://www.kongregate.com/games/siread/new-star-soccer

And for everyone who's played the portable version of the game, I couldn't recommend any more highly that you checkout the the full PC/Mac version. It's so much more, the biggest thing being that you actually get to play the entire game via live action on the pitch rather than solely scenario-based situations. You can check out the promo video for the full version here: http://www.newstarsoccer.com/

Have I mentioned that I love this game?!?!
# 8 nvinceable1 @ 05/31/13 06:18 PM
BTW, I forgot to mention that the full PC/Mac version is free to play! The only caveat being that you're limited to 3 matches pre day. You have to upgrade to a Premium membership for a one-time fee of $20 for unlimited matches (which I promptly did after blowing through 3 matches immediately). lol
# 9 DarkOutFront @ 06/03/13 06:37 PM
im hooked already
# 10 Soda Popinski @ 06/18/13 01:09 PM
Totally addicted to this game. I'm at star level 40+ now, and would like to find another, similar game. Any tips out there? I'm Android-only now, and love that this game is quick, scenario-based, and is not a battery killer. Every other sports game on Android I've found has destroyed my battery, often take too long to play, and need 100% concentration. Any New Star Basketball or Baseball games out there?
# 11 gopher_guy @ 12/12/13 10:59 AM
Just started playing this again with the new update. I like the headers, and how one of the players on defense moves now, forces you to make some quicker decisions.

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