Ultimate Beach Soccer

a game by Magic Pockets

Platforms: GBAXBox

Genre: Sports

See also: Ultimate Games

What do you get when you mix sand, sun, and girls in bikinis with bicycle kicks and flying saves? Answer: Ultimate Beach Soccer for the Xbox, of course. Playing as the real stars of the Beach Soccer World Wide Federation (didn't know there was one), you'll perform spectacular moves and wicked aerial maneuvers in one of four different exotic locations' that is, if you can actually stomach the game for more than a half hour or so.

Ultimate Beach Soccer, for 1 to 4 players, is a six-on-six soccer game played on sandy beaches from all over the world. Several different modes of play are offered, including Friendly Game, Arcade, The UBS Tour and Custom Tournament. There's also a Training mode that introduces you to the basics of game play and control. As one would expect of any extreme sport title, the game was not meant to be a soccer simulation. As a result, the action is always super quick and chock full of exaggerated moves, power-ups and turbo charges.

The game play is rather straight-forward and the uncomplicated control scheme makes it is easy to pick up and play without too much time invested. And while I appreciate the designers' efforts to 'dumb-down'? the controls, unfortunately it also makes for extremely repetitive and boring game play ' translation' NOT FUN! But there's even a bigger problem here with the inherent nature of the controls themselves. Sluggish and unresponsive are two words that come to mind ' there is way too much time between button presses and the execution of moves. As a result, game play becomes much more tedious than it should be. After only an hour, this reviewer had only two choices: turn the game off or risk damaging one of my controllers. But believe it or not, as compared to the graphics, the game play comes off smellin' like a rose.

The stadiums and accompanying environmental graphics are decent, but somehow, as the back of the box indicates, 'exotic'? doesn't seem to fit. Player models are rather simplistic and feature bland textures. Anyone who buys this game to see babes in bikinis will be quite disappointed. And while the animations themselves are crisp and smooth, there just aren't a heck of a lot of them ' play for ten minutes and you've seen them all. Likewise the sound effects leave a lot to be desired. The combination of an announcer who spews the same repetitive nonsense over and over, coupled with the Hip Hop soundtrack (sorry, not my cup of tea) had me rushing to the options menu sooner than expected.

I'm not really sure for whom this game was intended. For soccer fans, there are a slew of better games out there that offer real soccer. For extreme sports fans, there are also a ton of better choices. For everyone else, well uh, you might want to try anything. Chances are you'll have more fun than this. As for me, I'm waitin' for Pro Beach Backgammon' I hear it's a lot of fun!

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