Most people reading this will be of Championship/Football Manager age, the sort that have lost hours and hours to building a team and taking them through the divisions to claim the ultimate prize. I know my college days were consumed by various incarnations of the simulation but I thought I had finally beaten my addiction in recent years.
I was wrong.
A few days ago I was told to check out New Star Soccer, a football game available on iPhone, iPad and Android. After initially paying little attention to it, a flurry of activity on my Twitter timeline relating to the game meant I had to see what the fuss is about.
NSS has been around a while, since 2003 in fact, and is now in its fifth generation. However it has now gone mainstream in a big way thanks to a its availability on Steam, which hosts 1500 games and 40 million users, as well as some massive plugs on Twitter by prominent tweeters.
Unsurprisingly the game’s creator was inspired by the Championship Manager series and has tapped in to that addictive nature we football fans exude, as well as the childhood dream of actually being a footballer.
Instead of managing an entire club, NSS puts the user in the role ofof a player and gives you control of every aspect of life both on and off the pitch. Starting out as a plucky 16 year old, you build your character through various skill levels while building relationships with those around you (boss, fans, team mates etc).
NSS is free initially but career mode will only last ten games unless you fork out the whopping 0.79c to get the full version. Needless to say I didn’t have to be asked twice. There is also a free arcade mode but why bother with that when you can get straight on the hard stuff?
The game is built on the basic principles of a footballer – play well, secure a boot deal, earn packets of money, get a fancy car, move to a bigger club – and does it all in a very retro 2D format.
During the game you will be tasked with passing, shooting and intercepting accurately with the responsibility for free kicks and penalties falling on your shoulders as you build up the necessary skills.
The game’s layout is neat and easy to follow, with the milestones both challenging and realistically achievable as you turn yourself into a top professional.
So far I’ve had it a day and gone through two full Irish League seasons, moving from Limerick who took at chance on me to my beloved Shelbourne. I’ve acquired a phone, a music player, a tablet, a tv, a house, and an SUV…but not girlfriend.
I’ve just hit 18 though so plenty of time for that sort of thing.