You may be thinking why are we looking at Backyard Soccer? Well in a world where sports games are all about being ultra realistic and sim based. Backyard Soccer was there reminding us what it was like to be kids, playing soccer with our buddies, picking our own teams and maybe even playing together in an actual league!
Welcome To The MLS
One of the weirder things about the 2004 version of Backyard Soccer was that the game got the rights to start using the MLS license. This lets you play as the actual MLS teams which I guess can be fun if you think about working your way up to playing as one of them.
Plenty of Time on The Pitch!
Backyard Soccer actually has quite a lot of game modes. The main “campaign” is Season Play. This is where you set out to win different leagues. B Division Championship, A Division Championship, Premier Division, Indoor Soccer Tournament and the awesomely named, Astonishingly Shiny Cup of All Cup’s Cup are there for you to win. You can also play a single match and practice your penalty kicks. Two other options at the menu screen are, first of all, learn about the different players that you can select for your team and also the Hall of Fame mode. The Hall of Fame mode is cool as you can track how well you have done as you have played the games.
Picking The Right Kids
One thing that is really fun in Backyard Soccer is the way that you put your team together. All of the kids are sitting on the bleachers and you can select your dream team of players. When you click on one of the kids you can see their stats. They have individual stats for kicking, ball control, defense and running. You and the AI (or another player) take turns picking players until you each have a team. You will pick eight kids to make up your team and then you have to decide who your 6 staring players are and who your 2 substitutes are. You can pick what positions the kids play in so it is important to pay attention to their stats you play them in the right position so that they can best benefit your team. This is kind of cool as this is a kids game, it teaches kids to think about positioning.
Playing the Beautiful Game
The actual gameplay of Backyard Soccer is a bit more slow paced than you would expect. You can play with a keyboard, controller or even the mouse. You also have different difficulty options and you can adjust the rules such as offside, how long the game lasts and so on. So you do have a lot of say in how the game is actually played. There are also power-ups that can be used which give the game a kind of Mario Strikers feel to it which is pretty cool.
In all Backyard Soccer is a fun kids game. It has more depth than you would think and for a younger kid, I do think that there is a lot of fun to be had here. If you are a parent looking for a fun sports game to play with your child and they love soccer. I really do think that you could do a lot worse than Backyard Soccer. You just have to keep in mind that this is a game that is aimed at kids.
- The art style has a kind of Nickelodeon vibe to it
- Let’s kids thin about strategy
- Plenty of control and gameplay options
- Picking your players is fun
- Plenty of tournaments to try and win
- It is a game that is aimed at kids
- It is a bit older now so might be hard to get running on a modern PC