At a time when the English national team appear to be playing a weirdly forward-thinking brand of football, Super Soccer Champs 2018 gets some excellent results by looking to this country's soccer past.
More specifically, it evokes the spirit of home computer classics such as Sensible Soccer and Kick Off.
The result seems much better suited to mobile than both FIFA and PES, even if still needs to iron out a few silly mistakes.Passed glories
This is football of the simple top-down variety, with just two buttons and a virtual joystick to worry about. One button passes and presses, the other shoots and slides.
It's far from the fast-paced, mindless knock-about that this might suggest, though. There's a laid back pace to play, and AI teams tend to hold their shapes quite well.
What's more, it's not the kind of game where you can simple pick the ball up and run it to goal. Unless your player is particularly quick and skilful, you'll need to pass the ball - whether that's short and Spain-like or direct and Iceland-like.
With a short passing game, you get a little ball-shaped indicator when a nearby team-mate is ready to receive the ball - though you'll still need to watch out for interceptions.On target
Shooting, too, isn't the semi-automated affair that modern football games have foisted upon us. You actually need to aim while shooting, as well as judging the right level of power and curve.
Headers can be effective, too, but only when the cross is properly weighted.
It's not quite all there on the action front. Switching players is a frustratingly hands-off affair, contesting aerial balls is a bit of a lottery, and short passes feel a little too direct and automated.
All in all, though, Super Soccer Champs 2018 gets pretty close to spot-on with the basics. That's quite an accomplishment for any football game.Distinguished career
Another atypical touch for an arcade football game (though not if you're familiar with SSC's influences) is the depth of the single player experience.
Besides an unofficial World Cup mode (with all of the real group matches), the SSC Manager mode offers you a vast range of teams to choose from - each containing real players, unbelievably - and a full fledged career to play through. It's not just the playing of the games you're concerned with here, but also training, tactics and transfers.
It's an engrossing, full-blooded career mode that could well absorb hours of your life. It's a shame that the menus aren't a little tidier and more intuitive, though. It can feel a little long winded simply swapping out players or placing bids.
The game is a little glitchy, too. I experienced a sound cut-out bug, several post-game crashes (which lost the result), and a few weird offside calls around the half-way line.
Issues aside, though, Super Soccer Champs 2018 is undoubtedly one of the better mobile footy games you'll play this World Cup season.