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If you are a world cup soccer fan, there is a fun online arcade game for you! I spent some time playing World Cup Penalty 2010 and here is my review. To start, I clicked on “how to play” and read the instructions. The instructions were brief and contained some grammatical errors that made it hard to understand how to play the game. The use of the term “striker” was unfamiliar. However, even though I did not completely understand how to play intially, after a few rounds I was able to catch on.

Before you can start playing, you have to pick the country you want to represent. There are 8 groups (A through H) with 4 teams each, for a grand total of 32 teams to choose from. After choosing the country you want to represent, you will be lined-up to play against another country in your group. The other two countries will play each other. After you hit continue, you proceed to the game page. A player representing your country’s team kicks first.

To start, you have to select from three parameters to indicate where your want your player to kick the ball. You will see on the bottom of the screen three places to select the position and power of the soccer ball. The one on the far left has a moving soccer ball. This is to indicate the horizontal location, or how far left or right to kick the ball. At first I thought you could click on the indicator to select the point where you wanted the player to kick the ball, but actually wherever the moving soccer ball is when you click is where the ball with be kicked. This is the same for the other two parameters, the height of the soccer ball and the amount of power used to kick the ball. The ball moves rapidly back and forth and it can be hard to click at just the right moment. You have to carefully try to click right when the ball is where you want it to be and this takes some practice to do accurately.

Once you have selected all three parameters, your player will kick the ball and hopefully you get a goal. Then quite suddenly, the players change and you are the goalie. You have to watch carefully because a small white “x” will very briefly show up to indicate where the ball might be kicked. Near the goalie is a pair of hands that you need to position to try and block the goal. You have very little time to move the goalie hands. Once you have clicked, you cannot change your goalie’s location and this makes it very difficult to block a goal. In my experience, I was able to make more goals than I expected and able to block far fewer goals than I expected. For a beginning player, this may be frustrating but with time you get better. After your match, a screen pops up displaying the goals you scored, and more information in a chart that perhaps more seasoned soccer players will understand.

Overall, this game was difficult to understand how to start playing. Once I understood how to mechanically click or hit the space bar to choose the soccer ball position, it seemed too easy to score goals. While trying to block goals as the goalie, it was frustrating that the “x” was visible for such a short amount of time, so short that sometimes I was not fast enough to see where it appeared and just had to guess where to block the goal. Not being able to change the goalie’s position was also frustrating. However, that may be the challenge of the game. An experienced player would probably do much better as goalie. To keep the attention of online game players, most games need increasing difficulty from level to level.

This game has a lot of teams to pick from, but there does not appear to be much difference between players of different teams or much more challenge as you play against different teams. Typically in soccer, the teams that win more games are more skilled and as they win games they are put up against teams that have won a similar number of games so that they are matched for skill level. This online arcade soccer game does not seem to be able to simulate the increased difficulty of play. It is a fun game to play for a few minutes to try and score goals and get points but does not hold your attention for a sustained amount of playing time. Serious world cup fans would probably still find this entertaining, especially those that rooted for a team that lost, as now they could go back as that team and have a potentially different outcome.