I'm not one to cover many soccer oriented games (or football as my friends across the pond would say) but a tip came across the wire on a Windows Phone 8 game that caught my eye, Soccer Team Bus Battle - World Cup 2014.
The premise of the game has your rival team stealing the World Cup before the tournament and are escaping down the road in their team bus. You have to give chase in your team's bus in hopes of catching up to the culprits, force their bus off the road and rescue the trophy.
Soccer Team Bus Battle is definitely not your typical World Cup game and while the game has hope, it is plagued with annoying pop-up ads and a few performance issues.
Soccer Team Bus Battle's main menu offers options to start a game, visit the game's garage, view the tutorial page and swap out your buses nationality. The game has all thirty-two national team buses that compete in the World Cup.
The garage has customization options that you can buy with game money that you earn during game play. The customization options include:
- Change the buses Nationality (free)
- Add neon under-carriage lights
- Add a racing spoiler
- Customize the rims
- Add armor plating
The tutorial page will appear before every game and if you need a refresher look, you can access the tutorial page from the main menu as well. The page lays out the controls, screen layout and what each of the soccer balls represents that will be thrown at you during the chase (more on this in a second).
Bus controls are simply laid out. Tap the left side of the screen to steer left, tap the right side to steer right. You also have a boost button in the bottom right corner of the screen that will give your bus a surge of speed.
Damage and boost meters are displayed across the bottom center of the screen. Gently sideswipes of other cars will cause your bus damage and if you sustain enough damage, the game is over. Head-on collisions should be avoided because it only takes one to end the game.
The goal is to catch your rival's bus and ram into it enough to force it off the road so you can get the World Cup trophy. You will need to weave in and out of the lanes of traffic to avoid other cars.
Throughout the chase, the rival bus will toss soccer balls at your bus. You can collect these balls for bonuses. The yellow ball represents coins that can be used in the garage, the green ball recharges your booster and the white ball heals any damage to your bus.
Steering controls were responsive and while at times it was difficult to see an oncoming car, that simply adds to the challenge of the game. The rival bus will snake in and out of traffic a little more efficient than your bus will so following that buses travel habits may land you sandwiched between cars.
While Soccer Team Bus Battle has decent game play and graphics, the biggest annoyance with the game is the full-page ads that pop-up after every screen transition. Go from the main menu to the garage and you get a full-page ad. Leave the garage and head back to the main menu, there is that full-page ad again.
I understand the importance of ad-supported games but the advertisement shouldn't beat you over the head and be more prominent than the game itself. I think a small ad banner running across the bottom of the menu pages would be less offensive and avoid detracting from the game itself.
The more I ended up playing Soccer Team Bus Battle, the more the game began to grow on me. That is until the full-page ads popped up.
Graphics could have been a bit better but as is, they aren't terrible. The game concept is unique enough to catch your attention and game play is challenging enough to keep the game from growing stale too quickly.
There were a few stability issues that caused the game to crash periodically. The crashes weren't frequent enough to render the game useless but they were noticeable. The biggest frustration has to be the full-page ads that really interrupt the flow of the game and is just down right annoying.
Restructure the ad-support and improve the stability and Soccer Team Bus Battle has the potential of being a fun Windows Phone 8 game to pass the time with. As is, patience is the key but I can see many uninstalling the game after a few full-page ads pop-up.
- Soccer Team Bus Battle-World Cup 2014 - Windows Phone 8 - Free - Store Link