FIFA and Pro Evolution have well and truly cornered the football simulation market. So much so, in fact, that the thought of choosing to play a different soccer game seems a bit absurd.
Awesome Soccer harks back to the old days of football games like Super Kick Off and Microprose Soccer. Its simple controls and top-down viewpoint recreate the charm of those instantly-playable, engrossing soccer sims of the Nineties.
You can choose from a number of different game modes in Awesome Soccer. You can play a quick game or a friendly, or choose to enter a tournament. The tournament mode includes an impressive array of competitions, including eight domestic leagues, the European Championships (based on the 2008 tournament), the World Cup (based on the 2006 line-up), and the Champions League (2009-2010 season). All of these competitions include the real teams and, in the main, real player names. There are some anomalies in the squads, but thankfully, Awesome Soccer comes with a data editor so you can change the player names and attributes yourself.
Aside from winning tournaments, Awesome Soccer also challenges you to unlock 'Golden balls', which are awarded for special achievements during the game, then displayed in your 'Showcase'. This, and the fact that there are five difficulty settings makes Awesome Soccer a game that you will struggle to get bored of.
Once you enter the match mode, you'll soon realize that Awesome Soccer is just about as simple to play as it gets. You'll just need the directional buttons (or cursor keys) to move the players, and the Fire button (or Space bar) to pass, shoot, tackle, etc. The kind of action that's performed depends on your position and whether you're attacking or defending. These controls make Awesome Soccer very straightforward to play on a PC, although you do feel very restricted in terms of what you can do, when compared with more sophisticated football sims.
The graphics in Awesome Soccer are pretty lame, so don't expect any real player likenesses or smooth animation - the effects here are strictly retro. The sound is pretty patchy too. There are some authentic crowd noises but they cut out very abruptly, making it sound a bit weird. Also, the music that plays during an action replay is so bad it's laughable.
Ok so, Awesome Soccer doesn't have the super realistic graphics and ridiculously complex gameplay of FIFA or Pro Evo, but that doesn't stop it from being a fast and fun football experience.