Think of Ganbare! Super Strikers not as a sports game, but as a strategy campaign a little bit like Advance Wars or XCOM. That’s how this fusion of football and tactics works, adopting a turn-based format where you need to move your players into position, pass the ball, and, fingers crossed, score some goals. There’s equipment you can unlock, allowing your squad of fledgling soccer players to learn special abilities, but most of your time will be spent on the pitch trying to out think your opponent.
Each player can perform two actions per turn, and turnovers are determined by dice-rolls. Matches are played out on grids, so if, for example, your midfielder enters a square adjacent to an adversary, numbers will be crunched based on each participant’s attributes to determine whether you’re tackled or not. The same is true of aerial duels, interceptions, and shots, with the goalkeeper’s save statistic the crucial number in the latter’s case.
It’s very entertaining once you play by the title’s rules, ignoring real football strategy. It’s best, for example, to push up and crowd the midfield, so that you can block any balls into forward positions. Getting through on goal can require a degree of luck, but it’s fun when you plan out and perfectly execute a move that results in the ball hitting the back of the net. There’s a full campaign to complete, as well as league and tournament modes for single and local play, providing just enough action for sports fans in search of something different.