reviews\ Oct 28, 2001 at 7:00 pm

Backyard Soccer - PSX - Review

Sometimes the littlest player can surprise you and not only have the fastest legs, but the biggest foot – in terms of goal scoring ability. Take Vicki Kawaguichi, for example. She’s small, but she can really motor, and her goal-scoring ability is almost uncanny.

Humongous Entertainment, and Infogrames, has released another successful Backyard game in the PlayStation format, and the result is Backyard Soccer. Chalk this one up as indoor fun.

The game sets up like all of the Backyard titles. You begin in the clubhouse, where you choose your team and game options. You can play a single game, or in a mini league (four players can play in a tournament featuring four teams), you can practice your penalty kicks or compete in the beach tournament.

Selecting your team is quick and easy. The entire Backyard gang is there, with each player’s skills broken down so you know whom you are getting, and what they are capable of doing. Of course you can pick your team name, uniform, home field and basic formations. Then it is out to the field, to meet Sunny Day and Earl Grey – the play-by-play commentators for the games.

The game features the usual array of power-ups (which include the cannonball, bowling ball, twister and undergrounder), difficulty levels and game options – such as turning off, or on, the offside feature. (Backyard Soccer League rules are a mixture of U10 and FIFA rules.) Once you have everything in place, let the season play commence.

Be prepared for pauses in the action due to load times. A penalty in the box, which results in a penalty kick, will result in loading that aspect of the game. If the ball hits off the post, instead of scoring, there is another load time to get players back to the action, in which the ball is live.

Game controls are very simple, and easy to master. Humongous is adept at making sure that games such as this are kept within the abilities of the youngest players it targets – in this case, the game is for 7-year olds and up.

The sound is excellent, full of witticisms from the commentators, various sounds of the ball getting booted, and the occasional boing! of players colliding. Graphically the game is cute, with lush colors, and solid animation.

This is an excellent game for fans of soccer, and a nice way for kids and parents to enjoy the sport in an atmosphere that exudes fun. The Backyard gang is comprised of familiar friends (to any who have played the games before, and if you haven’t, you will no doubt recognize kids you know or have known in these little characters) whose sole goal is to score in the entertainment category. And that is exactly what this game does.

Install: N/A

Gameplay: 7.5
The constant load times are not that much fun, while actual match has a few stagnant moments due to throw-ins and free kick alignments.

Graphics: 8
The animation is solid, and the overall look of the game is lush.

Sound: 8
There are some repetitious comments, but that is to be expected. This game is solid in the audio department.

Difficulty: 7
With three difficulty levels, players will be able to choose their own ability level. The controls of the game are kept quite simple.

Concept: 7
The game doesn’t really feature that much that is new or fresh to the Backyard titles, but it does live up to the reputation of the series, and translates the game well to the console format.

Multiplayer: 7.5
Head-to-head action is featured in the game in the tournament matches, and this is a lot of fun.

Overall: 7.5
This is a solid title. There are a few setbacks – such as the load times – but the game is otherwise a scoring opportunity not wasted. This is fun gaming.


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