Why watch football when you can play it?
With the 2018 football World Cup starting today Russia, we decided it’d be a nice idea to make a short list of some of the best football-related indie games out there. While Fifa and PES dominate the scene, leaving little to no space for independent developers to catch their target audience, some innovative ideas and concept twists have resulted in some hilariously fun games, one of which became a premier eSport. And, for our readers in the United States who are confused by the headline, we’re talking about the beautiful game – which you know as soccer.
Whether you believe it or not, robot combat, adrenaline pumping race cars, turn-based strategy and resource management elements are all present in this list that celebrates the worldwide competition and festivity that the World Cup has generated every four years since the early 1900’s. We’re so excited for it that we even came up with a way of talking about it and still remain in the indie gaming scene. Aren’t we nifty?
Football, Tactics and Glory
Released on June 1st 2018, Creoteam’s Football, Tactics and Glory is a fantastically innovative take on football games, blending this worldwide popular sport with turn-based strategy mechanics. What? Yes. In this game you’ll stop, think and execute actions one by one after passing your turn to your opponent. Different stats will determine failure or success of your chosen moves, much like any other game in the genre. Think X-COM, Final Fantasy Tactics or The Banner Saga… now add football.
Take the role of an amateur team’s manager and help them rise to the top of the pro league. Acquire new players, upgrade your training grounds and stadiums while you manage your roster and drive them to victory. With overwhelmingly positive reviews, this title even has a free demo available for download.
Pixel Cup Soccer 17
Remember those old football games from the early 90’s? Ah, the memories. Well, with Pixel Cup Soccer 17 we got a revival of that fast-paced feeling with lots of possession changes and limited movement compared to today’s ultra-realistic franchises. If you’re into that, then this arcade styled, pixel-art football simulator is just what you’re looking for. A nice added feature is the integration of female football teams and leagues into the game’s content.
Although still in its early access stage, indie studio Batovi has harvested very positive reviews from users who joined the community to input their thoughts and opinions. If you’re interested in testing it out, you can pick it up in this early stage right now for $9.99.
Robot Soccer Challenge
If you liked Rocket League, then you’ll probably want to check Robot Soccer Challenge out. Although it doesn’t provide Rocket League’s proximity to action and adrenaline, the concept of remote-controlled robots playing football is definitely in the same kind of alley. Training, championship and friendly matches are available in this futuristic football arena.
Challenge your friends in Robot Soccer Challenge’s couch multiplayer mode or join forces to face the AI. Inspired by Robotic Football and Robot Wars Show, Render System’s title is still in its Early Access stage receiving praise for its cool concept and fun gameplay. Currently, Robot Soccer Challenge includes the tutorial, championships and friendly matches.
When a game reaches an eSport level, then you know a certain amount of things: it’s popular, it’s competitive and, most importantly, it’s fun. Psyonix has done an amazing job at giving football (or soccer, if you’re American) a high-octane twist by mixing its core mechanics with racing cars. Many people thought it was plain nuts when they learnt about Rocket League, but after playing a little it’s easy to see what an endlessly fun concept it is. Join your friends or face them in the arena of Power-Car based football.
Not many people know that Rocket League is actually a sequel to Psyonix’s Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars, released back in 2008 for the PlayStation 3. With around six million sales and 40 million players at the beginning of 2018, Rocket League has earned a place amongst prime competitive games. Both ESL and Major League Gaming have contributed to the growth of this eSport.
Now that we’re all properly riled up and excited about football, there’s not much more to do other than to sit back and enjoy some great indie games between matches of the World Cup. If you’d like to read even more totally non-subjective lists of wonderful indie games, then why not have a look at our indisputable list of The 100 Greatest Indie Games of All Time or our choices for Five Influential LGBT+ Games.
Our boy from Buenos Aires, Juan has been a gamer for as long as he can remember (and possibly even longer than that). He loves a good story, and believes every indie game has a compelling one to tell.