Soccer Showdown (Free) by Naquatic is a multiplayer soccer experience you’ll want to try out. The graphics are crisp — putting you directly onto the soccer field. This isn’t just your typical one dimensional game either, it’s multifaceted: As you play matches, you level up, earning points and coins as you get better at the game.
You play two positions, switching roles back and forth with your opponent: kicker and goalkeeper. The goalkeeper is represented by floating gloves. It creeped me out a bit at first, but the ability to tap on the gloves and drag the hands wherever you need to block the ball works really well. And if you watch your opponent closely, you can see the foot aim at the net, so you can preemptively prepare to block the shot. It’s quite the challenge, though.
I am, admittedly, no athlete. Nor am I coordinated. Most times, when goaltending, the ball would fly at me, and before I was able to react, “GOOOOAAAALLLLLLL” popped up on my screen. What can you do? So, although it seems a bit overwhelming, sharpen those reflexes, and you’ll do just fine.
When up at bat — that’s soccer, right? — you can even set your kicks up to throw your opponent off. Do a short, choppy kick to chip the ball into the goal or really follow through with your finger to fling the ball quickly past the goalie.
Unfortunately, though, if you play against someone with a bad connection — or someone playing over 3G — the frame rate doesn’t seem that great. This was the major downside for me. But that’s typically how it is when playing online over Game Center.
I could not, for the life of me, successfully invite a friend over Game Center though. It never worked. I always had to click “play now,” and go up against someone in a random match. Which was fine, but I still wish I could challenge my friends directly. It seems this may have only been a problem unique to me (or a select few), but hopefully it can somehow be fixed. However, there always seems to be a lot of people online playing, so you’ll never have to wait a long time in the queue to find a soccer buddy.
What would be nice would be a way to play against the computer, not just practice, and still earn achievements. Especially if, for some reason, you can’t find an opponent online.
My other qualm is the fact that you can’t change the rotation of the screen when playing. I prefer to play with the home button on my right (under my thumb), so this bugged me right away. I realize this isn’t a big deal, though, to normal folk. However, the developers are already working on implementing this.
Soccer Showdown has full Game Center support with achievements and even upgrades that are purchasable in-game with the coins you earn for leveling up and winning matches. You’re able to purchase gloves, shoes, and balls; they will all aid you in beating the competition.
If you’re a soccer fan at all, or just like head-to-head competition, you’ll definitely want to pick this universal app up for free. There are a few kinks to be worked out, though, and I hope they’ll be addressed in the next update.