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Oh wow, there is a lot riding on scoring a penalty shot. Even though a penalty shot provides an athlete with the opportunity to be the “hero of the game”, there is always the chance a missed shot turns him or her into the game’s villain. With Penalty Shootout 2012, players have an app that allows them to step into the cleats of great soccer players and learn what it feels like to have the outcome of a game riding on one’s shoulders.

Don’t look at the high-pressure component of hitting a successful penalty shot. Instead, look at the endeavor as an opportunity to win big. Yes, people who play this game really lose themselves in it. The graphics, sights, and sounds really do craft a wonderful suspension of disbelief that is hard to top.

The game focuses on a random draw of teams from around the world in which the player can select to be a part of. This adds to the appeal since no one is forced to play for a “generic” team. Being able to pick a preferred international team most definitely contributes to the amazing fun that can be had. Selecting the right team even has the potential to add a little luck to the outcome. Sure, skill counts for a lot in the game but luck is never a bad thing to have on one’s side either.

There are three main components to the actual shots taken in the game. How hard the ball is hit, the position of the goal on the legal goal line, and the height of the shot. Not surprisingly, these are all things a penalty kicker in a real game has to deal with. Of course, on the other side of the soccer ball and goal line is the goal keeper. Being able to hit a direct shot that finds its way past him and into the net is going to yield a point. A lot of work has to go into taking the shot correctly or else scoring is going to become quite elusive. Who would want to see that occur? (Other than the goalie, that is)

The goalies in the game are extremely active and nimble. Do not think for a second they are going to make any attempt at scoring a goal easy. Quite the opposite is the case as the goalie is going to try and beat back any attempts to score. Again, this is no different than would be the case in a real game. So, players have to be very careful and strategic when setting up a shot. Otherwise, getting the ball past the defenses is going to be impossible. Consider making the proper setup to be one of the fun challenges of the game.

Players can take their shots using the mouse or a spacebar. More than likely, players are going to find it a lot easier and more user-friendly to use the mouse to handle the task. The spacebar is probably going to be more awkward but, with a little practice, even the spacebar can be used to set up decent shots.

And then there is the other side of the coin. Players have the option of assuming the role of the goalie. This might not be as fun as being the penalty kicker, but the added option of defending the goal keeps the game from becoming boring. Skills do have to be sharp in order to play the goalie since there is an unpredictable nature to how the shots on goal are going to be kicked.

The visuals of the game provide a nice touch. To say they are impressive would be an understatement.

The graphics of the game are what really allow it to stand out. The lush green of the field is quite impressive and the shoulders the player, goalie, and the ball cast add a nice touch to the screen. Most definitely, little details of this nature keep things from ever looking boring. The sharp detail on the players and the vivid colors of the game help it come to life.

The sounds of the game add an upbeat feel. Granted, it would be hard to categorize a soccer game as “downbeat” with or without a nice soundtrack. The music helps players get into the feel of the game. The enjoyment level is kicked up (no pun intended) thanks to the creative sound. The sounds do complement the visuals quite nicely.

A lot of interesting design work went into Penalty Shootout 2012 and the end result is a realistic game that is lots of fun to play. Soccer fans from around the world are sure to enjoy giving it a chance. The simple concept reveals a challenging game to play and one that always delivers hours of excitement.