Upcoming Sociable Soccer 2020 Update: Tightening The Screws

In a recent post I detailed how much I’ve been enjoying spending some quality time with Sociable Soccer 2020 on Apple Arcade. I also however, noted a couple of wrinkles that Combo-Breaker (who handles development while Tower Studios owns the licence) might hopefully iron out at some point.

Well in recent days I’ve actually been afforded an opportunity to play an unreleased build of SS2020, in which the developer is aiming to address some specific issues and improve the game’s quality in general.

I’ll stress that the improvements I’ve seen may or may not make it into the final update when released, so bare that in mind as we jump in and have a look at what Combo-Breaker have been tinkering with under the hood.

Mash the Continue button below.

Under the hood is a great way to describe what I’ve seen in this unreleased build, as I haven’t noticed any major user-interface changes, big new features or content arrivals. But overall playability feels as if it’s improved.

I should say up front too that I’m by no means a Sociable Soccer 2020 aficionado. I don’t know the game deeply enough to say with confidence that I haven’t missed any changes. Players with a deeper knowledge of the game thus far will no doubt notice tweaks that I haven’t.

The image up top has already spoiled the big tent pole improvements that Tower Studios/Combo-Breaker has already unveiled for the next update, and in the build I’ve been playing these changes are the most evident.

In my article in November I mentioned goalkeepers doing strange dives after already securing the ball. I have not seen this happen once in the build I’ve been playing. Happy days.

I am still having an issue with the apparent difficulty of being able to score from penalty kicks. This still occurs both when I’m shooting for them and defending against them. If it was only one way and not the other I’d be more afraid that it was due to user error, but the fact that it’s both indicates to me that either some more tweaking is needed, or I’m just really bad at shooting penalties, and really good at saving them.

Apart from that remaining niggle, the added goalkeeper animations and improved AI boasted in the image up top add to SS2020’s apparent aim of visual realism within an arcade setting, as the goalkeeper’s behaviour is clearly a linchpin of any football game.

Apart from goalie improvements, the biggest change I’ve noticed in this build is more felt than seen, and it concerns the already mentioned playability.

The best way I can describe it is comparing it to purchasing flat packed furniture from a large chain store, getting it home and spending hours playing with your beloved new allen key (soon to be stored carefully away in a dark cupboard with the collection of allen keys you dare not throw out, just in case).

Having cobbled the furniture together, you step back and admire your handiwork. It looks like it should, but when you go closer and give it a shake, it wobbles a little too much. So out with the trusty allen key again and you go around and give all the screws a good tightening before giving it another shake. It still looks the same but it feel more finished and complete – less likely to fall over.

That’s how I feel with this version of Sociable Soccer. It just feels tighter. It’s harder to notice the code underneath the green fields and roaring crowds, and that’s the way it should be.

So when is the final update hitting Apple Arcade? Tower Studios/Combo-Breaker have noted in recent days via social media, “We didn’t get approval on our latest build with Apple. We’re submitting again on the 15th [December]. That’s the latest date to get it out before Christmas.”

If this latest submission is approved we may see the update in our Christmas stockings. If not, than I guess after the App Store freeze thaws, early 2021 will see its release.

Speaking of Christmas, the managers in this new build are depicted wearing Santa hats. I’m thinking it’s a pretty safe bet that this will make it into the final update.

If you’re new to The Apple TV Gaming Blog (ATVG), or just new to Apple TV gaming in general, or both, then the best place to get acquainted is our Best Apple TV Games of 2020 article. You’ll find a great collection of games to play, and a bunch of useful links to our previous site content. Welcome aboard. Enjoy the ride.