Neymar has taken his first steps into the world of mobile gaming with the launch of “Match MVP Neymar Jr.” in which players take on fellow fans around the world in the hope of emulating the superstar’s success.
The game is a “career mode” setup, meaning you start at the bottom of the football ladder and work your way up by winning games, moving clubs, attracting sponsorship and inflating that salary as you go.
Neymar assists you as a mentor, helping you learn the ropes at first before acting as an agent of sorts in your quest for global domination.
Here’s five things we learned from our brief maiden foray into the game.
1. Don’t expect FIFA-level realism
While we didn’t expect the game to rival FIFA 19 in terms of licensing and realism, Match MVP most notably suffers from a distinct lack of imagination in the team name department.
Having been automatically added to the “Aston Park” roster at the start of the game, our first two fixtures took place against “FC San Siro” and the altogether less creatively-christened “Red FC.”
2. Defending is difficult/non-existent
While the controls are relatively easy to grasp (there’s a lot of tapping, double-tapping and swiping involved), the actual flow of the game is heavily biased toward attacking — perhaps not surprising given the Neymar tie-in.
Scoring is straightforward (we had our first goal within seconds of kick-off in our debut appearance) but preventing your opposition from doing likewise is an altogether more taxing pursuit.
While you can call on defenders to pressure opposing forwards, it rarely results in a successful tackle being made and, in all honesty, your goalkeeper is little more than set dressing between the posts.
Basically, your only hope is to outscore your rivals before the time runs out.
3. The confounded music
We didn’t play for very long at all (roughly 10-15 minutes) but still the background music drove us crazy within minutes.
However, if bland, breathy R&B beats played on an infinite 10-second loop is your thing, then you might not suffer the same problem.
Thankfully, it can be turned off in the settings menu!
4. It’s a family affair
As you might expect, Neymar is front and centre, offering advice, guidance and tutorials as you make your way toward stardom.
However, the entire family are involved in some capacity, with the Brazilian striker’s mother and son gracing the hoardings at the training ground.
There is also an in-game cameo role for the PSG star’s father. True to life, Neymar Snr. appears to pop up every time there’s a new contract offer on the table.
5. Progression is quick
Performing well in games brings with it bountiful rewards, with “prize packs” being awarded after every outing.
Though not nearly on par with Neymar’s actual salary, you earn wages as you go that can be used to buy new equipment (boots and shinpads) that boost your stats, as well as in-game gold that can be used to purchase further prize packs.
After mustering two wins in our first two matches, we already had clubs lining up to acquire our services, though it was “IK Stockholm” that managed to get the deal over the line!
Of course, it may be that progress becomes more incremental and harder to attain the further you make it into your MVP career, but the first few rounds felt like a bit of a whirlwind.