Football, or soccer, is the world’s most popular sport. It’s played in massive stadiums, which are these days empty but normally pack with thousands of screaming fans. It’s played on muddy fields every Sunday, with the crowds of mums and dads cheering on their kids, and occasionally abusing the referee. It’s also played on the streets, and not just by kids with jumpers for goalposts, but by professional players who’ve never kicked a ball in an association football shirt. These are the street players, defined by their technical skills; their ability to manipulate a football using their entire body and look cool as hell doing it.
Street Power Football (released as Street Power Soccer in North America) attempts to bring the underground sport of street football to consoles. It’s a worthwhile cause, too, as FIFA Street has been dead in the water for a decade, though EA has toyed with it again recently with FIFA Volta in FIFA 20. But that’s just a tacked-on mode. Street Power Football is completely and utterly dedicated to its cause.
Over the course of a few hours, I’ve seen everything there is to see in Street Power Football. I’ve played through the single-player ‘campaign’ and I’ve put my skills to the test in the different game modes, aside from multiplayer.
The single-player campaign mode ‘Be the King’ has you pick a character and then take them on the path to glory, or at least what amounts to glory in the street football scene. This is where I spent most of my time with the game, and it serves as an elaborate tutorial to get you ready for when you just want to play a quick session alone, or online with others.
You’re taken through each discipline and taught how to excel. Not all of them were great, mind you, even if they were technically proficient. The skill shot mode had me kicking balls at targets, or trying to dunk them into open bins and the like. It wasn’t much fun. If anything, it was a bore. It lacked the pazazz to make pulling off a tricky shot seem like an achievement. Smashing glass bottles was fun as a kid because of the feedback (and the chase from the adults!) but in Street Power Football, it’s a damp whimper and then onto the next one.
Panna is a game mode that I’d never heard of before, despite being fairly familiar with football. It’s where you go one-on-one with an opponent and try to score the most points in a set time, or hit the target amount of points. A goal will get you one point, but a cheeky nutmeg will get you two. Again, this wasn’t all that good. The nutmeg mechanic works by powering up your special meter and then initiating the nutmeg against the other player. From here, you’ve got to hit the right buttons quickly as they flash up on the screen. Get them all right and you’ll pull off a sweaty nutmeg. Get them wrong, and the other player will have defended it, and likewise when you’re the one defending the incoming nutmeg. I’m not a fan of QTEs at the best of times, and putting them in here felt wrong and disrupted the flow. Perhaps that’s me getting it wrong? Or perhaps there’s a better, more fun way of putting such a game mode together.
My favourite events are the more traditional matches, which can be played either as one-on-one, two-versus-two, and three-versus-three. Here, you’ll be playing something close to traditional football, but with just a handful of players on a tiny pitch, with tiny little goals. The aim isn’t to replicate proper football, so you won’t be doing cheeky through balls, offside traps, or throw-ins. It’s all about style and pulling off some sweet back-and-forth passes with as much flair as you can muster before banging the ball home.
Pulling off tricks is fairly simple, as is passing the ball around. Getting possession back is a little more difficult, though, but with practice, it becomes second nature. At first, I struggled because instead of the game auto-switching your control to the nearest player to the attacker, you have to do this manually.
Street Power Football doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it’s definitely not grounded in the same reality that we live in. Powerups occasionally litter the pitch, either providing you with protection for your goal, a boost, or a slowdown for the opposition. Likewise, when your power meter is full, you can perform a special shot that will almost certainly bag you a point every time. It’s good fun, but it’s not without its problems.
For one, the animations aren’t very fluid, and it feels like going back to the mid-2000s in some ways. The characters don’t move with the same amount of freedom as I’m used to in FIFA. Instead, it sticks to the old-fashioned eight-direction movement that was done away with years ago by other footy games. The ball also tends to warp around and through your player’s feet as you perform tricks, which can be very jarring when you’re trying to keep track of what you’re doing.
I like Street Power Football, but I can’t say I love it. It has the fundamentals there for a decent street soccer game but it’s lacking the polish and pazazz to elevate it from good to great.
Street Power Football PS4 Review
Overall - Good - 6/10
Street Power Soccer isn’t this generation’s answer to FIFA Street, but with some genuinely fun gameplay in some of its modes, this alley cat still has a few tricks worth seeing.
- Easy to play, hard to master
- Looks great and the music is more than fitting
- Several game modes to rotate through
- Some game modes are rubbish
- Animations aren’t very fluid and feel stiff
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.