Sensible Soccer is to football what ping pong is to tennis. It's fast-paced end-to-end football that's all about quick thinking and ninja reactions. It won't knock Pro Evo off the number one spot, but for a quick arcade-style kickabout, you can't get better than this.
Fans of the original 1992 classic will be happy with the news that this feels just like it used to back then, albeit with a better controller. But if you're not a gaming granddad and haven't played the original, just know that it's not about fancy footwork, through-balls, man-marking and all that stuff. Pro Evo is the undisputed king of simulating real footy, and this doesn't try to contend with that.
Sensible Soccer is about rapidly flicking the ball from player to player, then smashing it goalwards and yanking the Left stick to put a crazy amount of curve on your shot. It's fast and frenetic stuff, with the ball being slapped between players like a pinball, whizzing from one end of the pitch to the other and back like a game of basketball. And it's easy to play because the controls are as simple as the game - there's pass and shoot and that's it. It's perfect pick-up-and-play arcade fodder.
Despite its simplicity, there's plenty of skill to playing Sensible Soccer, mainly because you have to move the ball about quickly and the game never aims for you - the direction you press is the direction your pass or shot will go. Passing is pretty easy to master, but shooting is a real art. It's all about the curve. That's what turns multiplayer friendlies into sweary shout-a-thons, as ridiculous curve-balls bend through the air like whoever's in charge of gravity has had a few too many, and the ball smashes into the back of the net. Ah, it's good to be playing Sensible Soccer again.
Although it sticks faithfully to the feel of the original, modern technology has brought a few advantages. Cel-shaded 3D graphics are the first and, although it looks a bit plain, it does the job, and 360-degree analogue control is much better than the crappy four-way joysticks of old. They've added a sprint function too, but it's only for emergency situations because players have a sprint bar that depletes in seconds and doesn't recharge.
The only problems modern gamers may have are the lack of a player-select button (the game does this for you) and the inability to use fancy dribbling to pass a defender - you either get past or have the ball snatched from you. But that's not so bad, because it results in the ping-pong passing nature that the franchise is known for.
Sensible Soccer is a simple kickabout designed for quick blasts of multiplayer fun. It's nowhere near as deep or involving as Pro Evo or FIFA, and such a minimalist title might not be as well-suited to today's more sim-hungry gamer. But it does what it sets out to do well and is always a great laugh with mates. And at a 1990s pricetag of 20 quid, where can you go wrong?
Maybe a bit simplistic for the modern age, but this is a fast and fun arcade football game with an emphasis on raw fun.