Sociable Soccer 24 Nintendo Switch Review

Sociable Soccer 24
Sociable Soccer 24 has a few rough edges, but long-term Sensible Soccer fans will still find more than enough fun here.

Pros Cons
Simple arcade-style soccer Career mode not well explained in-game
Massive quantity of licenced players No actual licenced teams
Ideal couch competition game No online support at launch

Score: 3.5/5


Sociable Soccer 24 Buy Sociable Soccer 24! Buy On Amazon

This review is based off eShop code provided to me by the publisher.

As many people know, for an Australian, I’m not much of a sports fan. Not in terms of televised sport, anyway – video games are another matter entirely.

There’s a number of classic (and notably retro) sports games that I’ll happily play at any given opportunity, and Sensible Software’s classic Sensible Soccer (and especially Sensible World Of Soccer) sits very high on that list.

While back in the day arguments raged thick and fast as to whether Sensi or Kick Off was the superior soccer title, time has proven Sensible Soccer as the clear victor in that battle… but the last proper Sensible Soccer game came out in 2007… and it wasn’t very good, to put it kindly.

Sociable Soccer is, more or less, Sensible Soccer with the serial numbers filed off, headed up by original lead developer Jon Hare. Sensible Soccer in all but name was the original pitch, not that it’s an entirely new game, having been around since 2017.

The latest iteration, Sociable Soccer 24 is the first of the series to land on the Nintendo Switch, a platform that’s not exactly rich with sports game choices – or at least not terribly good ones.

If you’re a fan of old school Sensi, the first detail that will strike you is that the default camera view is all wrong; a FIFA-esque (sigh, OK, EA FC…) side view that arguably doesn’t serve the game’s graphics all that well, because, rather like its spiritual predecessor, Sociable Soccer 24 isn’t about the finest visual representation of the game’s players.

Sociable Soccer 24

This doesn’t quite look right for a Sensible Soccer “style” game.

Character models are fine for what they are, but they’re basic by modern standards without necessarily having the full retro charm of a set of pixels on a simple green field.

Thankfully, a quick trip into the game’s camera options gives you the more traditional top-down view that you might expect.

Sociable Soccer 24

So much better in every way.

I don’t think I’m just being nostalgic here when I say that arcade-style football games – and Sociable Soccer 24 sits very much in the arcade rather than strict simulation tradition – do play better from this perspective.

Where Sensible Soccer’s action was always fast-paced and hectic based around the way that the ball would drop from your control without absolute precision, Sociable Soccer 24 takes a slightly more sedate and modern view. The ball doesn’t utterly stick to your feet in every orientation, but it does stay more with a player – especially a more skilled player – than Sensi did, and the overall pace is a touch slower too.

Sociable Soccer 24

No voice commentary or crowd chants, so you’ll just have to start your own chant of
“The referee’s a…” from your couch.

In terms of game modes, you can go through the career mode, vie for a series of (semi-fictional) world cups or just play friendly matches against anyone you can get onto your sofa for a game. Annoyingly at launch, there’s no sign of actual online play for Sociable Soccer 24 for the Switch, though it appears to be offered on other platforms.

Then again, I’m very much a fan of the argument that the best way to play simpler arcade-style sports games is with a bevy of mates sitting on the same couch, cheering and groaning respectively as you tussle for victory. Online play should be expected in this day and age, but there’s nothing quite like personal contact (and friendly sledging), you know?

Career mode is an oddly placed deal; kind of like the way that FIFA (and other EA games) use ultimate teams to make ALL THE MONEY by selling fans digital cards, you build up a team from scratch through ten seasons of play.

Sociable Soccer 24

I have no idea if these are actual Inverness players, or a random grab-bag of players.

It starts simple enough – maybe a tad too simple, for the first season or two I was banging in goals like it was a pinball game – but then scales up in difficulty, which keeps you engaged once you hit your own personal skill wall.

There are some problematic aspects to the career mode, however, partly because it’s not well explained, but also because the game’s earlier roots (and especially its mobile roots) rear their heads with an underdeveloped currency system that sees you gaining player cards that can either join your squad or be sacrificed to improve your existing squad.

Sociable Soccer 24

I have money! Yay… I think?

Working out which bits of the interface are used to change players in and out, and how the currency and experience systems work did take me some time, and it was time I wasn’t playing or having that much fun. I can totally get how football management is a genre in itself, but doing it lightly and with scant explanation isn’t a good way to go about it.

Also, while there’s no online play element for Sociable Soccer  24, for some weird reason the career mode insists on having a persistent Internet connection in order to work at all.

It’s particularly an issue for the Switch because most games support pausing or heading to the home menu, but much of the time when I’ve had to do that with Sociable Soccer 24, returning to the game saw it return an error my way, blocking further progress.

In one instance, I went from a 2-0 lead at half-time to having it crash out and declare that I’d actually lost the game 3-nil!

At a guess, that’s the kind of penalty you might get for skipping out on an online game, but doing so within the scope of the way other games work for what is otherwise an offline experience is downright annoying.

Sociable Soccer 24

You can’t play online, but career mode insists on an Internet connection for… reasons.

One oddity for Sociable Soccer 24 compared to Sensible Soccer is the way that the game’s players are named. For the classic game, if you wanted the players of the era, you would have to enter each and every one of them manually, because there was no official licence attached to the game. For Sociable Soccer 24, you get a full suite of FIFPro licenced player names, more than 13,000 of them in total as per the game’s claims. No, I haven’t counted every single one. I do have to sleep sometimes, you know.

An impressive effort – if ever-so-slightly wasted on me – though it’s worth noting that this is a player licence, not a club one, so you’re still stuck playing with teams named more broadly after their home city (“Liverpool” is fine, of course, but “Manchester” can’t have either City or United suffixed to it) or a close-enough-to-not-enrage-the-lawyers substitute.

Sociable Soccer 24

I’m no expert, but I do suspect Dundee’s football team isn’t in fact the “Tangerines”. Or maybe the “Lemmings”, based on the statues there the last time I visited.

Underneath all of that lies a football game – soccer, if you must – that’s actually pretty good. Old school fans will appreciate the way that staples like aftertouch to curl goals just past the keeper work, while any more casual fans can take up simpler controls and still feel like they are, to borrow a phrase I heard somewhere, in the game.

It’s not as fast as classic Sensi, but it’s slick enough with simple enough controls to at least feel as though it’s a close cousin.

That’s the heart of what makes Sociable Soccer 24 worth playing – despite its rough edges. Matches are quick and fun, and there’s enough of a feeling of getting better the more you play to give it that classic “one more match” feel.

Sociable Soccer 24

Just one more match before bed time. Or maybe two…

Will it scratch the itch for those wanting a more detailed football simulation game? Not at all; if that’s your passion you’re probably better served with the latest iteration of EA’s FC game, though if I recall correctly, for Switch owners that’s often based off very old game engines with only the rosters updated. Like I mentioned in the intro, if you’re a Switch gamer, you’re not exactly flooded with choices in this particular genre.

Sociable Soccer 24: Pricing and availability

Sociable Soccer 24 is available for the Switch via the eShop or as a cartridge with a typical RRP of around $59.95 at the time of writing this review.

Sociable Soccer 24 Buy Sociable Soccer 24! Buy On Amazon

Was this review useful to you? Support independent media by dropping a dollar or two in the tip jar below!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top