Street Power Football is a very good $20 game.
Street Power Football (stylized in the US as Street Power Soccer, also SPF) is an arcade soccer game developed by SFL Interactive and Gamajun. SPF has a roster of 25 “heroes,” who are freestyle soccer icons. Each hero has their own Superpower, a special move they can use during rounds in Street Power mode. The game officially released on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC on August 25.
There are five different game modes in Street Power Football. That’s four game types: Street Power, Trick Shot, Freestyle and Panna. Then Become King, the game’s arcade-style story mode, which bounces you around between the four game types. I’ll start by talking about Become King, then we’ll look at each of the game types on their own.
Become King is a perfect way to get familiar with SPF’s game modes. Most notably, it makes you play through a tutorial for each game type. You can replay the tutorials individually, but it’s nice to have a place that just guides you through them right away.
When you start Become King, you are formally introduced to Sean Garnier, our host for this affair. Garnier explains how he won the first Red Bull Street Style event in 2008, and talks about the history of street football. The real Garnier stands in front of in-game footage during all of this. The scene has the vibe of one of those infomercials you watched at 2 AM by accident when you were younger.
The game runs you though its tutorials, then sets you loose on the world. The cycle is pretty straight-forward. You go to a new local and Garnier gives you a brief on the street style scene. Then, you’re given a list of usually three challenges. Now, Street Power Football has… four game modes. There are not Become King-exclusive modes. So, in order to mix things up, SPF adds requirements for each mission.
This keeps Become King somewhat fresh. At the end of the day, however, the mode is still too long, especially for how repetitive it is. I made it all the way to the last area, I’m so close I can feel it, but I’m just burnt out from doing the same few modes for this long. A good arcade single player mode bounces you through different game modes, but it also doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. Street Power Football brings luggage.
Each of the four modes in SPF play a bit differently, so I’ll break them up here. The first, most basic mode is Street Power. This one’s either 2v2 or 3v3 of the beautiful game. The game adds two big arcade-y mechanics: items, which spawn on the map and can be used to affect your team or your opponents, and Superpowers. Each of the 25 heroes has a Superpower, but Superpowers aren’t unique, which means your hero choice isn’t limited to the one person who has the Superpower you need.
Street Power is fun to play! It’s not simulation, but this works to its advantage. It’s easy to pick up, pretty simple, and it looks flashy, so you can over-perform without a ton of knowledge of how the game works. The games are timed but end when a team scores five goals, which makes for short, action-packed games. My biggest problem with Street Power is that, the only way you can build bar for your Superpower is by executing tricks. Tricks can be useful to dodge defenders, but you can still steal the ball mid-trick. In my games against the AI, I rarely used Superpowers unless I had to in order to clear a challenge.
Panna is one on one arena soccer, with a twist. Goals count as one point, and games still end after someone scores five points. You can also win by executing a panna on your opponent (basically, kicking the ball through their legs). In SPF, your Superpower bar becomes a Panna bar, and let’s you enter a quick-time-event challenge against your opponent. If you start the Panna, and you enter the inputs quicker than them? That’s two points baby. If your opponent bests you, they defend, and play continues.
I actually love this mode, so much that the first thing I wanted to do was hop online and try it against other people. Unfortunately, it seems like you can only play Street Power online against other people. On the bright side, all four game modes are available in off-line multiplayer.
Freestyle & Trick Shot
I’m lumping these two together because, ultimately, they’re just mini-games. Freestyle is a rhythm game where you perform tricks via directional inputs, then tap any button when the game slides “Hit” past your icon. It’s a cool idea, but it’s not executed well. It includes a level-up system that teaches you new tricks (you don’t level up in any other part of the game), but you only get a few tricks shown to you in your Favorite Trick section. I only ever had three slots for tricks here, and couldn’t figure out how to change them.
Trick Shot is better executed. In Trick Shot, you walk from set piece to set piece, and you have to hit the highlighted items. Water bottles on desks, gas canisters, air conditioning units, things of that nature. Each Trick Shot in Become King is its own little puzzle. You can shoot straight at a target and get easy points, but you get bonus points for curving the ball, and double points if it bounces first. So you take a lot of messy shots, just trying to line up the One That Counts. It’s not really anything on its own, but it’s a great addition to Become King.
Quality is the Spice of Life
There are a lot of minor things that Street Power Football is missing, enough that they add up to some big issues. If you’re in a game of Street Power in Become King and forget what your win conditions are, you have to pull all the way back out of the game to check them. They don’t show up on the pause menu. The game is compatible with controller, but still uses keyboard symbols to show you how the game works. This is beyond confusing, especially once you realize that the game’s different modes use different keys for different actions. You gotta really dig into the menus to eventually turn on controller hints, which I only discovered after I started drawing a diagram of the button mapping for Panna mode. You have to select this option every time you launch the game.
You can customize your heroes, but only from a select number of outfits, which every hero shares. You earn the currency to unlock outfits by doing daily challenges for each mode. The daily challenges add a bit of longevity to modes like Trick Shot and Freestyle, but are mostly in the game to let you unlock outfits. The soundtrack rips, but is small. I turned it off after a few hours of play for my own sanity.
At the beginning of this piece, I said that Street Power Football is a great $20 game. I mean that! I dunked on the weird cutscenes earlier, but over time they grew on me. The thing I really like about Street Power Football is that it is absolutely, 100% itself. The weird, sincere moments with Garnier, the characters’ huge shoulders and heads, the vibrant stages. This game isn’t trying to be another soccer game, it’s trying to be Street Power Football, and that’s charming. One of the loading screens teaching you about curve shots by telling you they “are so cool.” The tone buys all the way in and so did I.
The problem? The game costs $49.99, and there’s just not enough here to support that kind of price tag. When it’s finally safe to hang out with people in real life, Street Power Football is the kind of game I’d love to break out after a few drinks. With some luck, SPF will be a killer PlayStation Plus game, and totally worth a download. It’s just a little too bare bones for its $50 price tag.