Pixel Cup Soccer [$1.99 / Free] is, for better or for worse, an arcade sports game using just two buttons, and one that revels in its inaccuracy to the real sport. Those expecting a version of FIFA 14 [Free] but with pixel art will be sorely disappointed. But as an arcade soccer game, it's charming and worth coming back to again and again.

Pixel Cup Soccer 1

There are 16 national teams to play as with fake players, albeit with ones named after real-world soccer stars for each country, such as a "Robin" for Holland, representing Robin van Persie, "Luis" for Uruguay representing Luis Suarez. Each team has its own stats for attack, midfield, defense, and goalkeeper, with higher star rankings meaning players are faster and can kick harder, though each player has their own consistent stat rankings. Better goalkeepers will be able to cover more space, and catch the ball more often. This also means to only expect the kind of panicked free-for-all of a loose ball and out-of-position goalkeeper against terrible teams.

For a game with "Pixel" in its name, thankfully it delivers on the pixel art. The characters are represented in a style resembling Technos games, with goofy, over-the-top emotions when their team scores, or is scored upon. The animations are smooth, with many frames used to make jumps, slides, and shots look great. Even the way that a hard-hit shot flattens out the soccer ball is a great touch. Fans of the pixel art style will love this game.

The performance levels of the teams are heavily weighted in favor of much better teams. Is it possible for a team with one-star ratings to match up against a four- and five-star one? I'm not sure, becuase opposing defenders can come in and tackle the ball away too easily. Teams with slight differences have a shot, but if you're a big fan of Cameroon, don't expect to beat Spain, though they inexplicably have an amazing goalkeeper to force draws. Sadly, there's no extra time or penalty kicks for tie games - even cup matches just have rematches for draws.

This is arcade-based soccer to its core, so don't quite expect anything resembling realism. The way to score goals is to charge up a kick and spin it past the keeper, making it important to shake off defenders. If passing was at all effective, it would help with the aforementioned mismatches, but ground passing is so slow that it's easy to lose the ball to the defense, and lob passes can create situations where the ball just gets headed between different groups of players. Basically, get the ball to the fastest player, get into the goal area, curve the ball past the goalie, and win. Don't pass unless absolutely necessary.

Pixel Cup Soccer 2

While I'm not a soccer expert, I do feel like I could nitpick a lot with Pixel Cup Soccer's depiction of the sport. But with the art and fast-paced action, any inaccuracies feel like they're just part of the game's charm. This is not meant to be a realistic soccer simulation, and if it was claimed to be a revival of an actual early-90's soccer game, I'd probably believe it. Casual soccer fans in the mood for a game of footy with the World Cup about to take off will enjoy picking this up - I've played friendly matches several times just to kill time. There's also a free version of the game which serves as a race against time to score as many goals as possible that's worth checking out along with the full version. Just, again, don't expect hardcore soccer simulation, but the kind of soccer game you'd play on a Sega Genesis back in 1994.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • ODMay

    Looks nice.

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  • c4r105

    Very, very basic football game, not even megadrive era basic, to the point of not having any gameplay, try the demo as I did, but nothing to recommend here.

  • RobertPink

    I strongly reccommend this game. I had so much fun with it and the pixel art is brilliant! Something I would love to see in futures updates is a multiplayer mode to play with my friends. This is the perfect game for non FIFA 2014 players.

  • heresandypandy

    "Soccer" games were quite a lot better than this 20 years ago I'm afraid

  • ignar

    Pretty bad youtube video. I know it's pixelated and retro appeals along with simple play is the strength of the game. That said, I like to see actual game play in more details than repeatedly get reminded that the game is pixelated version of actual soccer.

  • tuber

    I discovered this game a few days ago right here in the forum, and everyone said it was the best football game appstore ... I tried it and since then I have not stopped playing.

    It would be nice to have more teams extra and penalties while ... I hope the developers take this into consideration for an upcoming update.

    It is certainly not a realistic game of football, but it's the most fun footbal game than I've played, is an arcade and if you do not believe me, look right here on the forum so all reviewers ...

    And the Maracanazo edition is a very addictive challenge, too

    100% recommended! :)

  • ScotDamn

    How many times can the review reiterate that it's "not a sim - it's an arcade game"?

  • tinkie277

    It's actually a decent playable game.

  • karinagameplayer

    Well, honestly facing these comments intrigued me, and I searched the forum to see what everyone said ... and convinced myself to buy it.

    I've played for a while and is a very fun game, it has nothing to do with Fifa nor Megadrive, this game is something else and certainly a lot of fun.

    I agree with the comments in the forum, this is perhaps the best football game in the appstore ... and not offend those who want to play a simulation game, I say this for those looking for an arcade.

    Would be great with multiplayer... in the description it says that can play simultaneously 2 players on iPad, someone tried it? must be crazy: P

  • Ricky Nguyen

    As a fan of soccer game, I don't like this game much. However, it's a quite good product, good luck !

  • Guest

    As a fan of soccer game, I don't like this so much. However, it's a quite good product. Good luck !

  • uFinKnow

    I really enjoy it. One of the best football/soccer apps on IOS.

  • steviebwoy

    This would be great as a console title with 4 players imho

  • steviebwoy

    If it's a football game, why don't they give the review to someone who actually likes football and plays football games? D:|