Enjoying New Star Soccer without spending a dime: In-depth review, tricks and tips (UPDATED)
By: New Star Games
Version #: 1.52
Date Released: 2013-10-17
Developer: New Star Games
Price: 0User Rating:
New Star Soccer is one of the most addictive games from last year. Why didn’t I review it last year when it was just launched? Well, after playing quite too many seasons, the game quickly wore off. You could easily turn into an awesome star of a player and do nothing else than score goals like crazy. So I dropped it. Even if it is incredibly addictive.
Last month saw an update of NSS that added headers (much welcome) as well as a revamp of the in-app purchase structure. But the most relevant part are ability decays with time, meaning you could no longer sit still (literally) and score goals like crazy. Read on to learn how to essentially “beat” the game without spending more than 0.99 USD.
In New Star Soccer you play the role of a young footballer, starting as raw recruit with 16 years. You enroll in a low-tier team and move your way up the professional ladder until winning the Champions League is easy as pie. The game has 3 quite differentiated scenarios:
- Proper game (shooting, passing, intercepting)
- Managing skills
- Managing relationships
Closely tied to all 3 is the key concept in the game: energy management. As a footballer you need to improve your skills, but each training session depletes your available energy. You also need a good relationship with your boss, teammates and fans for a proper game, but getting more time with them depletes your energy. Likewise, playing the game depletes your energy. Before explaining the best energy management strategies, I’ll explain how each part of the game works. Since the last updates in the mid of 2014, energy management is slightly easier once you get to 40 stars or higher.
Look ma, hat trick!
The soccer match is automatically simulated until you get to do something. What you can do actually depends mostly on your setting: offensive, balanced or defensive. When asked to do something you pull the ball to set its power and then decide the best place to kick it. Dead centre is strong and straight, below lobs, top slows… And sides add more or less spin.
In any case there are 4 (maybe 5) things that can happen in the game:
- Interception: in an interception you have to run to intercept a pass. If you are successful, you’ll get a midfield pass. If you are unsuccessful the automatic gameplay resumes. Trick: always keep on the lookout for wind and run toward the side the ball is going and towards the BACK!
- Dribbling: since the last updates, the new pace-related event is dribbling around 4 opposing players. The higher your pace, the faster you move. The best way to dribble the opposition is to get the ball up to high speed, and feint a lot (i.e. move slightly right or left and then suddenly moving several times towards the other side, this will put defenders on the wrong foot.)
- Midfield pass: You’ll be in midfield and about to pass to some of your players. The highest is your Vision skill, the more players of your team will be around. During midfield pass in New Star Soccer one of the defense players (not the closest, but not the farthest) will run towards you to block the action. If you make a successful midfield pass the gameplay will continue, but if your Team Relationship is high it’s very likely you’ll be doing the Attack play. Trick: try to get the pass, no matter what. Longer passes are probably better for some deep in-game quality tracking for your player, but a made short pass is a sure-fire way to improve team relationships and get a chance for a short in the follow up attack.
- Attack play: In an attack play you’ll see the goal and the goalie. You can choose to pass to a teammate (again, the highest the Vision skill the better) to get an assist or try to score directly. A secondary scenario will be an attack play from the side, where scoring is nigh impossible (but doable) and you’re expected to pass the ball to the centre of the area. Trick: when you are starting your career it is far more important to pass than to score. A high team relationship will get you to get more chances in the future.
- Dead ball: This is taking corners, fouls or shooting penalties. In them the ball is dead centred and you can aim perfectly. The goalie and defense will try to spoil your plans though. Trick: Shooting correctly is damn hard. Try to get a pass instead.
If your setting is defensive you’ll be doing mostly intercepts and midfield passes, with occasional attack plays if you chain them correctly. With balanced, you’ll do a little of everything, and with offensive you’ll be doing mostly attack plays and midfield passes. Below you can see images of all modes.
Oh damn, reserve again. And where is my money?
It all boils down to energy levels. During the game you can set your work rate from Ronaldo (the first one, one “heart”) to Zidane (two “hearts”) to Messi (or the current Ronaldo, with three “hearts”.) Setting it to max will yield the most opportunities, but will also crush your energy levels during the match. After the match your energy levels will improve depending on 3 factors:
- Owned properties: the more the better.
- Idle days: You can’t control this, the more the better
- Having a trainer: Adds a small boost to post-game energy recovery.
Remember that training or socialising consumes energy. So, finally how can you improve your energy levels? This is the Million Dollar Question. Literally. There is only one reliable way to improve your energy levels, and it is to use your wages to purchase NRG drinks. So this gets us both to what the wages are for. With your hard-earned money you can:
- Purchase NRG drinks. They will boost your energy and additionally skills/relationships. They are good for one use.
- Purchase boots. They will improve your skills, add extra abilities (like being able to control the ball or add post-shoot swerve. Post shoot swerve is awesome). They last for several matches.
- Purchase properties, luxury items or vehicles. All this adds to your Lifestyle rating, which helps getting sponsors (who will pay you no matter what.) Properties also help you get energy at the end of the match. The catch is that properties and items wear off, and you need to fix them. So, the more things you own the more you need to spend on fixing/repairing.
- Hire a trainer or an agent. They last for 50 matches and improve energy consumption and also add additional perks. They are quite expensive, too, although once you get to 40-50 stars they only cost what you earn as base income in 3-4 matches.
- Bet in the casino. We’ll get into this later, essentially you can try your luck to get “free money.”
But after all, everything boils down to the relationship between wages and NRG drink prices. And the thing is, it is incredibly biased against you (NOTE: since the last update it is not as bad as it was).
Every time you improve your star rating, if your Boss relationship is good you can ask for a wage increase. Likewise, every time your star rating rises, the NRG prices go up a notch. And the thing is that no matter what, NRG drinks are always a tad more expensive than what your wages let you buy. So, after each game you just can’t purchase one drink and call it a day. You need to usually wait for two days to have enough money to do so. As an example, at star level 23 with maximal contract my player earns:
- Base wage of 47$ + 4$ bonus from the agent
- Goal bonus of 7$ + 1$ bonus from the agent
- Assist bonus of 5$ +1$ bonus from the agent
- Sponsor wages of 12$ +1$ bonus from the agent
And the price of a basic NRG drink is 68$. This means that to break even I need to at least score a goal or do an assist. At level 23 with maximum relationship status this is relatively simple, but when starting out the sponsor wages are close to 0$, the goal and assist bonus are usually 1$ or 2$ at the most and no-one in your team passes you the ball to get a goal or assist. Oh, and did I mention international matches? In an international match your base wage, goal wage and assist wage don’t apply. You only earn your sponsor wages, and earn the full tiredness of a whole match.
In addition to the NRG drink price problem, you’ll need properties and luxury items to attract sponsors. AND all this stuff wears out after a while and needs to be repaired. Another wage-sink. Essentially the game is rigged so that you need to eventually cash some real-world-money to purchase “star bucks.” But read on, because I found quite an easy way to defeat the game’s economy. So you won’t spend more than the 99 cents that the “Pro” license requires.
Relationships, skills and all that jazz
As I have already mentioned, in New Star Soccer you need to manage relationships, skills and properties. How’s all tied? First, you have 5 different skills and each of them can be trained up to a maximum of 60:
- Pace skill: Measures how fast you tire and how fast you can run in the interception minigame.
- Power skill: Measures how strong your shots are, making it easier to do long-distance passing or scoring at higher levels (at lower levels defenders and goalies are so bad they can’t stop your distance passes or shots)
- Technique skill: Measures how effective you are in a pass or shot. I’m not sure exactly how this is applied in-game, if it either smoothes the randomness of your shoot or just plainly makes it easier to score. In any case you need to train it.
- Vision skill: With higher vision you will have more team-mates available in passing mini-games (midfield and attack.) I think that the maximum anyway is 3-4 mates, at most 5. So it’s not like this matters as much.
- Free kicks: If you have a high free kicks skill you will take corners, fouls and penalties. Essentially this can grant you a “free goal” or “free assist” every 2-3 matches, so it’s worth training.
Training each skill amounts to a mini-game with 3 tries, different for each skill:
- Pace skill minigame: You have to play the intercept minigame, the same as in a match.
- Power skill minigame: You have to score against a goalie from afar. Like in a match, but without defenders. One of the hardest on higher levels.
- Technique skill minigame: You have to pass the ball between two poles from a certain distance and with wind. Like shooting from afar in a match, but without defenders.
- Vision skill minigame: You have to “pass” the ball against a target, without defenders and from afar. It’s not exactly the same as in-game, because if you pass too strong in a match, the ball bounces off your teammate. In the vision skill minigame you can smash the target and as long as it touches it’s good.
- Free kicks minigame: You have to shoot a free kick evading a barrier. On the first levels, without goalie. On the last, with goalie, barrier and from afar. One of the hardest on higher levels.
Even though you have 3 tries in each mini-game, the amount of energy lost in training is the same. Doesn’t matter if you do it on the first try or miss completely. Around 40% of your total energy will be gone after a training session. The only relevance of the number of tries is the total level of training: to get to 60 you need to make it on the first try.
Skills degrade with time. More or less after 7-8 weeks since the last training you will lose your last level of training. This amounts to training each skill (there are 5) every 1.5 weeks. Clearly the numbers don’t add up: if you barely can end a game with maximal energy AND also need to train almost weekly, you have to buy an NRG drink each week. Rigged, I said. As a minor catch, there’s a special NRG drink (roughly 50% more expensive than an standard NRG drink) that will improve one point from any skill. This also resets the training count, so by paying more you can save a little on energy.
You also have 5 relationships to care (actually 8, but 3 of them are out of your direct control)
- Team Boss Relationship: This determines if you will play the game or enter as a reserve (lower than around 40% means reserve, higher means you play.) It also helps to negotiate a higher contract. To negotiate a high contract you have to play a guessing game. The computer draws a number from 1 to 11 and you have to guess whether the next will be higher or lower. If you get it right the club offers a rise. You can repeat this 5 times to get the maximum possible contract. If you fail your Boss relationship will degrade, so a very high relationship means you can try more times. There’s also a National Team Boss Relationship you can’t directly control
- Team Relationship: This determines how many balls you’ll get in-play. So a higher relationship means you can score or assist more, meaning more money. There’s also a National Team Relationship you can’t directly control.
- Fans Relationship: This helps attracting sponsors. At low levels it can also mean that the fans will boo you, you’ll lose concentration and lose the ball in-game. That’s a pain, try to keep it above 50%. There’s also a National Team Fans Relationship you can’t directly control.
- Girlfriend Relationship. First you’ll need one, once you get it this raises your overall happiness. The happier your player is… Who knows. I have not found what this affects, but being happy is good. Probably affects sponsors.
- Sponsors Relationship: Once you have sponsors you have to take care of them, if the relationship drops too much you’ll lose contracts. I.e. lose money. If it is good and your lifestyle rating and fan relationship are good, you’ll get new contracts.
To improve all the relationships you have control over you can play a memory-like minigame, where a 4×4 grid of “things” will appear briefly. Then they will switch to colored cards and they will be swapped around. Find 2 pairs to win the minigame (you have just 2 tries.)
Your boss, team and fans relationship will improve also depending on what you do during the game. This is also the only way to affect the national team relationships.
- Boss relationship during the game: Have a high work rate, pass the ball a lot and don’t miss chances. Setting a low work rate won’t harm the relationship as long as you pass, score and don’t miss.
- Team mates relationship during the game: Pass the ball a lot. Assisting goals is better, even. If you repeatedly find you in attacking moves and shoot without passing your relationship will degrade.
- Fans relationship during the game: A high work rate AND winning the game improves it the most. Winning is everything though, so if your work rate is low and you win they won’t bother much.
Finally, there are 3 categories of lifestyle items:
- Items: phones, watches, etc. They just improve your lifestyle rating. Help getting a girlfriend and sponsors.
- Vehicles: Likewise with items
- Properties: They improve your lifestyle rating and help you recovering energy post-match. Also, the Stable lets you purchase horses. More on this later.
In between matches some events or dilemmas may pop. In an event “someone” (boss, teammates, girlfriend, sponsors or fans) will ask you to do something in exchange of 25% of energy (photo shoot, signing autographs, talking in public, moving homes.) In a dilemma you have to choose to spend time with one or another, for example going out with your teammates or having a chat with the boss. The one you choose will improve and the neglected one will go down. Also keep in mind that some dilemma options have negative consequences (going to a dance floor gets you a ball in your feet ruining one level your pace, or a wheelchair boy runs over your foot.. Yes, things happen)
I’d also like to add a note about boots. Do you need boots for the game? NO YOU DON’T NEED FANCY BOOTS. They add a neat boost though, so once you have so much money you don’t know what to do with it (and I’ll explain how in a few lines) go purchase fancy boots with special effects. I recommend the swerve boots, since they can get you to score like crazy.
Being the captain
Since the last update, you can get to be the team captain (for your team and national team, too.) This adds an income bonus, more opportunities for interviews (which boost your rating) but the greatest thing is being able to set runs for your team-mates (for shoot/pass, not for headers). Before shooting you select where your teammates should go, and then while you aim they start running. This makes taking corners a breeze: make them run towards the goal and set a very straight shot. Since the keeper usually can’t catch straight-over-him shots, it will essentially be a free assist. It also helps when your national team sucks, since being able to move team-mates makes winning a tad easier.
Beating the New Star Soccer rigged economy (without spending a dime)
Here’s the part you had been waiting for. Is there a way to enjoy the game without spending real money on it? F**k yeah, there is. Read on.
At first I thought I could make it on the casino, using the martingale betting strategy on either of the casino-like games (blackjack, roulette, slots machine.) Martingale betting (in short) means that you bet a certain amount and if you lose next time you bet half of it (so if you win you’ll get back the loss.) If you set a limit on spending and a limit on winning, this can be done pretty fast. The problem with casino betting? Martingale betting with limits means you won’t walk out of the virtual casino poorer than a certain amount, but if you play for a while (for example you want to spend at most 20$ and win at most 100$) you can end having “lost” 500$ because you kept getting close to your upper limit and losing again. In reality you lost only 20$ (lower limit) but since you kept winning and losing the accumulated amount was huge. And the in-game press says you are a high stakes player and the relationship with your boss, team-mates, girlfriend, sponsors and fans plummets. So NO casino betting.
Then I tried horse race betting, maybe the odds were better. They are not. Horses have a certain amount of stars for strength from 1 to 5. A 1-star horse is unlikely to win and returns more money, a 5 star horse is likely to win and returns less money. Betting on the horse-race field turned out far worse than the martingale strategy with Blackjack. But there’s a wonderful catch.
One of the properties you can purchase is the Stable, worth 700$ (that’s quite a lot in-game money.) Once you have the stable you can purchase horses. Horse prices are as follows:
- A 1 star NSS Horse is worth 100 USD. You can resell it for half the price and train it to 2 stars for 150$
- A 2 star NSS Horse is worth 250 USD. You can resell it for half the price and train it to 3 stars for 250$
- A 3 star NSS Horse is worth 500 USD. You can resell it for half the price and train it to 4 stars for 500$
- A 4 star NSS Horse is worth 1000 USD. You can resell it for half the price and train it to 5 stars for 1500$
- A 5 star NSS Horse is worth 2500 USD. You can resell it for half the price.
I know this sounds like a lot of money. Keep in mind though that in New Star Soccer horses cost nothing to maintain, never die and prices are fixed regardless of your level. So essentially once you have a horse you have a long-term money making machine. But what happens when a horse runs a race?
- A horse ending 1st gives you 100$
- A horse ending 2nd gives you 50$
- A horse ending 3rd gives you 25$
Horses in your stable have a star rating for its strength and a certain percentage of energy. Below 30% they can’t run, higher than 70% they perform best. And the great thing is that you can purchase a 1-star horse for 100, and when it eventually wins a race, purchase another one. Lather, rinse and repeat. Every 2 weeks your horses have 100% energy and eventually can win a race. When it happens you can chain-train them to the next level. I’ll put it in another line in caps so it’s clearer:
EVERY TWO WEEKS YOU CAN EARN 600$ IF YOU HAVE 12 4-star HORSES
Yes, each 4 star horse is worth 1000$, so you have to spend 12000$ to have them. But even a 1 star horse makes money in the long run. Each 2 weeks you can squeeze them and slowly train them until all are 4 stars. In my experience 4 star horses are as good as 5 stars in terms of revenue, so I won’t train them further.
So the plan for unlimited in-game money (or as unlimited as it gets) is to:
- Work your way until you can spend 700$ in a stable. Believe me, it is worth it
- Save 100$ to purchase a horse. Purchase a horse with a name you like (why not?)
- Make it run until it can’t run anymore. Repeat
- When the horse wins a race, buy another one. Repeat until you have 5-6 horses
- When they win save the money and train your horses until 3 stars
- Now to 4 stars. Repeat until you have 12 horses.
There’s a bug in the game that prevents you from having more than 13 horses though, because the scroll screen in the stable will only show part of the 13th horse. You can make it run but never know how much energy it has. A pity!
Also, the best way to avoid bad-press related to betting is to make all your horses run until exhausted and let them cool off for 2 weeks until 100% again. This staves off the press.
Would I Buy Again:Yes
Who Is It For:Soccer lovers
What I Like:It's pretty deep
What I Don't Like:The money system is rigged
Final Statement:Get a stable and enjoy the good life!
You are the star of the show as you launch your soccer career as a fragile 16 year old in this BAFTA award-winning, App Store #1 sports RPG from New Star Games.
"A pristine game" 5/5 (The Sun)
Build your skills, lifestyle and ride the roller-coaster of life as you experience every emotion this great sport has to offer!
“The perfect marriage of quick play phone game, football management, sim and RPG” (Kotaku).
Manage your relationships, keeping team-mates, the coach, your partner and your sponsors happy as you face dilemmas and exciting twists along the way. Risk your earnings in the Casino, explore sinister bribes and eventually retire to set a new career game score!
Equally enjoyable as a snack game for a few minutes or an intensive few hours, New Star Soccer will leave you entertained, amused and hungry for more.
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