Inazuma Eleven 2 Firestorm/Blizzard

Boot up Inazuma Eleven 2 and you're hit with an unshakeable bout of déjà vu.

It starts with the theme song, which is as cheesy as ever - and not in a good way. Then there's the pitch, where you're surrounded by familiar faces performing elaborate maneouvres that would have most referees struggling to find the right card.

Inazuma Eleven 2 is almost identical to the debut we played just six months ago, which is both its strength and its weakness.

Intergalactic Planetary

If you managed to get through the original's goofy Saturday morning TV storyline then you're well prepared for this even goofier return.

Just weeks after winning the Football Frontier tournament, Raimon Eleven's teenage captain Mark Evans is itching to get back onto the pitch and into practice.

But things are quickly turned on their head when the team's high school is blown up and Alius Academy - a super-powered team of aliens - challenges the local sides.

After taking a thrashing, you have to travel around Japan recruiting your own super-team to stop Alius Academy's path of destruction.

Following in the steps of Level-5's Professor Layton series, Inazuma Eleven 2 is a sequel that adds more of the same rather than tinkering with the formula.

Down to Earth

You'll spend most of your time chasing down objectives and trying to recruit players to your all-star team.

In typical RPG fashion, random battles regularly interrupt your progress - these task you with being the first to score a goal within a short time frame.

Inazuma's football system returns virtually untouched, aside from the pool of around 1,500 available players to recruit.

Maintaining control of the ball requires a mix of stylus control to navigate players around the pitch, and strategy based on your players' stats and available abilities when possession is threatened.

You can pause any match on the fly and revise your game plan, while powerful super-moves let you steal the ball or score game-winning goals in over-the-top fashion.

Ketchup... Katsup?

Inazuma Eleven 2 Firestorm/Blizzard is fine if you're hankering after another lengthy dose of Level-5's footy RPG concoction, but any reservations you might have had with the original will apply here too.

Tutorials are surprisingly brief, making the first couple of hours a steep learning curve made all the more frustrating by unavoidable narrative-driven losses.

Pulling the same trick that the Pokemon series has been pulling for well over a decade, Inazuma Eleven 2 is available in two flavours - Firestorm and Blizzard - each packed with 150 unique players and one or two minor adjustments to the Story mode.

Given that we UK gamers have to wait a whole 12 months for each new Japanese instalment of Level-5's Professor Layton series, the relatively swift arrival of Inazuma sequels suggests we'll be catching up with the 3DS game sooner rather than later.

It's just a shame that Inazuma Eleven 2 isn't the game changer we'd hoped it would be.

Inazuma Eleven 2 Firestorm/Blizzard

Those looking for more of the same will get just that, but if you weren't won over by the original, an alien footy team from outer space will be an even harder story to stomach
Tom Worthington
Tom Worthington
Fresh out of the packaging, Tom joins Pocket Gamer with a chip on his shoulder and a degree in Journalism. Naively, Tom believes there's a star-studded career in video games and has penned words across the internet in between praying to the almighty Nintendo gods.