Ganbare! Super Strikers is a tactical soccer RPG developed by Rese and inspired by series like Captain Tsubasa and Inazuma Eleven.
The story mode of Ganbare! Super Strikers has you manage a junior high soccer team, making their way through the national tournament. When first starting the game, players get to create one forward playing character for their team — while the rest are predetermined — as well as their team uniform and logo. While it’s great that the game allows team customization, it doesn’t have enough variety, and most characters just look like palette swaps of each other, rather than each looking more distinct. Logo customization itself could use more detail as well, as it would be beneficial to be able to position each part of it separately.
At first it seems overwhelming to try and remember how the different mechanics work between moving, dribbling, tackling, shooting, and using special moves, but after going through the optional tutorial and a few matches, players will more or less understand the gist of it. Moving moves each character in a specific direction by a few squares, passing passes the ball from one player to another, but the power of a pass will decrease the further it goes or if the passing player is tired, which will happen over time depending on how active they are. Dribbling is used when a player with the ball is trying to get past an opponent and the percentage of success is affected by player stats, while tackling is the opposite and used to steal the ball from a player on the opposing team. Shooting into the goal is again affected by player power and energy, witch success increasing the closer you get to the goal.
One of the most important features is the special techniques players can learn. These techniques are more powerful than their normal counterparts and give your players an advantage over the opposing team. To have your players permanently learn these special techniques, you have to give them special equipment which gives them these techniques temporarily until they have acquired enough training points –gained from playing in matches — to learn them permanently. This equipment is obtained by clearing specific objectives when first winning a match, but can put you at a disadvantage by only even giving you one piece of equipment, so you can only have one player learn a specific technique at a time. If you’re having trouble with the next team and need more of your players to learn techniques to give you a fighting chance, then you’ll need to play the same earlier matches over and over again until you feel confident enough to take on the next team. A speed up button would be a more than welcome addition due to this process as well as the fact that players don’t level up if they lose or if they’re the same level as the opposing team.
Some of these techniques can also give temporary status afflictions, such as sleep and freeze, to any opposing players who try to get in the way, which can prevent said players from making any actions for a certain amount of time. Earlier in the campaign, this provides a serious challenge, while once your team is able to do the same thing, you get a better understanding of the mechanic and it becomes an intense race between teams to temporarily disable a few of the opposing players.
The music featured in Ganbare is another one of its weaknesses, as you’ll hear the same few tracks over and over again. A little more variety, or different music for each opposing team would be a much needed improvement, rather than players having to listen to the same track over and over again when grinding for experience and training points.
Ganbare! Super Strikers may take heavy inspiration from Inazuma Eleven, but it’s admirable that Rese was motivated to make it due to the lack of releases of previous Inazuma Eleven titles outside Japan. It may have some notable shortcomings, but it’s still an enjoyable way to enjoy a niche genre often overlooked in the west, and still has the chance to improve further through future updates.