It had its issues, but Button City was an innocent good time when it came out in 2021. Upon seeing Button City: Soccer Days announced on the Wholesome Direct during this year’s Summer Game Fest, I couldn’t help but raise my eyebrows when the game was announced, so the opportunity to test the game out at PAX was one I had no issues taking.
When talking to Ryan Woodward, a programmer on Button City and a co-founder of Subliminal Games, he said that during the development of Button City, the team couldn’t help but fall in love with soccer culture. From the environment, to the raucous crowds, to the fandom, the team wanted to invoke some of that pageantry to Button City.
Of course, look at the screenshots, while the game isn’t a sim, and I’d hardly call it an arcade game, there was a lot of fun to be had with this early build of the game.
If you’re expecting anything like FIFA or Mario Strikers, forget it, the game doesn’t have the tightest controls. If I were to compare it to anything aside from the original Button City, it would be Animal Crossing. And I’d argue that in Animal Crossing, your villager had way more control of the balls and snowballs there than your characters will in Soccer Days, but despite all this, it was a lot of fun.
I used the Tuff Fluffs, and as Fennel I was good enough to always be near the ball, but when it came to controlling it—I couldn’t do that at all. That said, my opponent couldn’t either. In fact, the only reason why he won was because I kicked the ball into my own goal. The only control you have over the ball is kicking it high and just … kicking it. When it comes to juggling, it’s difficult, and defensively—you can kick other furry dudes to get in position to steal it. Think of Rocket League with cute animals—ball control is something you learn with experience playing the game, and with only one game played, that’s obviously something that wasn’t going to happen for me.
Whether or not the soccer is for you, Woodward pretty much called the game a pseudo sequel as there will be points of exploration and plot to go through, so if you couldn’t get enough of Fennel and the other cute little animals, Button City: Soccer Days will be a game to look forward to next year. It’ll be on my wholesome radar for sure.