Active Soccer 2 DX doesn't have the flair, swagger, or budget of the Champions League. It's more like one of those televised celebrity kickabouts where Robbie Williams pulls an England jersey over his gut and tries to break Ant and / or Dec's leg.

No one really knows what they're doing, but they're spurred on in equal parts by a misunderstanding of, and a deep love for, the beautiful game.

Yeah, sometimes the players will run off the pitch when there's a throw-in. Sometimes the referee will miss blatant fouls. Sometimes the opposition will just dribble the ball into the sidelines for no reason.

But there's such heart in the whole thing that it's easy to look past its glaring mistakes and focus on kicking the ball into the goal as hard as little digital legs will allow you.

Kicky kick kick kick

The game probably owes most to the Sensible Soccer era of the digital footy game. It's top down, you've got three buttons to control the action, and everyone runs around like they've been drinking energy drinks for eight hours straight.

A floating joystick controls your players. You've got a button to pass, a button to shoot, and a button to spring. When you don't have the ball these switch to tackle and sliding tackle.

There's a simply joy to barreling up and down the pitch, taking quick shots and tossing your players in front, in back, and in to attackers.

It's far from nuanced, but there's a pace to things that's hard to ignore. The matches are short and feel like a pitch-wide goal line scramble. If this was a real game it'd be constantly on the verge of bubbling over into a fight.

There's no official license here, so none of the players or teams have the correct names. But there's something strangely pleasant about controlling a Brazilian side that all sound like they could be the bad guys in a fantasy novel.

This isn't a simulation then, but it does have a lot of different modes to offer. And on top of all of that, it's just quite a lot of fun.

You can dive straight into the action, and the games offer up a decent level of challenge from the first whistle to the last.


Active Soccer 2 DX is far from perfect. It's a scrappy kid with a slightly deflated ball. It's Boris Johnson rugby tackling that guy from One Direction.

But it doesn't try to be anything other than that. And if you're looking for an arcade football game, you're going to be hard-pressed not to fall in love with this one, warts and all.