Developer: Gray Cooper Media
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.2.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

There’s a golden age for soccer games on iOS at the moment with the likes of New Star Soccer and Score! Classic Goals demonstrating precisely what a dash of imagination can do to a very established genre. Fluid Soccer doesn’t quite reach those lofty heights but it’s an admirable effort and I’m excited to see what future updates may bring.

Reminiscent of Score! Classic Goals, players partake in individual scenarios within a soccer match rather than the entire 90 minutes. To an extent, this ensures that each level of Fluid Soccer is a puzzle. Players know they have to score a goal but it’s down to them to achieve it, however they want. Each level comes with three challenges to complete with each completion earning players a star to use to unlock later levels and generally feel happy with their progress. Many are simple such as ‘score a goal’ but others might require completing a certain number of passes or being in or outside of the penalty area when shooting.

It’s a nice game mechanic and one that rewards careful thinking while still opening up opportunities to play casually and quickly. Even at times if it feels a little bit like jumping through hoops for the sake of it.

Players have quite a lot of control over the soccer players. It’s possible to set up a series of passes by dragging and dropping, as well as dragging to score. Unlike Score! Classic Goals, the soccer players can run around with a similar dragging motion. This is where one issue emerges as it’s often quite awkward to initiate a run rather than a pass, especially when it has to be done at speed mid way through a scenario.

It’s possible to gain advice from Andy Gray, popular commentator in the UK, for the price of a few in game coins, although I rarely felt the need to. A Practice Mode is also available but it’s quite weak compared to the rest of the game and feels more like filler than anything substantial.

As a free game, Fluid Soccer makes two sets of levels available but they won’t take long to complete so factor in at least a $0.99 in-app purchase to enable a sufficient number of levels to play through. That’s no great hardship however as soccer fans will be itching to play more, even despite the flaws with the control system. Just don’t go in expecting a New Star Soccer beater, it’s not quite there yet.

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