UPDATE: This game has been shutdown and is no longer available
Kicks Online Overview
Kicks Online has the distinction of being, as of this writing, the only free-to-play soccer MMO currently available. There are several others in early stages of testing, but for now, its Kicks Online or bust. It is important to note that Kicks Online has a very informal gameplay style – think of it as ‘street soccer.’ There are no out of bounds, no fouls, no yellow or red cards. This doesn’t mean the game is simple, as it’s actually quite complex. A ten minute tutorial explains all of the game’s various moves; long kicks, short kicks, side kicks, tackles, dodges, steals, and so on. Even character creation is in-depth, there are literally seventeen different stats and three positions for players to chose from.
Forward - This position has the highest ball control and is the best at preforming short shots.
Midfield - Midfielders have higher endurance, stealing, and tackling stats than forwards. They are the ’rounded’ position with decent stats in all areas.
Defender - The best at stealing, tackling and long passes. Defenders lack the endurance and ball control to play offensive, instead they play defense (obviously).
Kicks Online Screenshots
Kicks Online Featured Video
Kicks Online Review
By Erhan Altay
Like so many free MMOs, Kicks Online was developed in Korea and only brought to the Western market recently. Unlike most games, Kicks Online was never licensed in North America. This means prospective players must connect to the European servers hosted by GameTribe. The downside is that the already tiny population is mostly from distant time zones, making it even more difficult to find a game during the day, but for the small number of truly dedicated soccer fans, Kicks Online is well worth checking out.
Like Freestyle Street Basketball, Kicks Online is a ‘street’ style game. Most of the twelve maps are not green fields, they are on asphalt, dirt fields, and other unconventional locations. There are no out of bounds or fouls to worry about, you’re free to tackle at your pleasure. If this sounds simple, just wait until you see character creation. Besides picking from three positions (forward, midfield, defender), players are given ten stat points to distribute among seventeen different stats. I won’t list all the stats here, but the best way to go about stat distribution is pumping stats your position is already good at. There are also several appearance customization options available including hair, face, shirt, and pant choices. Luckily there are three character slots available per account, which means everyone can try all the positions.
Good Luck Playing
After creating your character and entering the game, the next step is to navigate through the list of channels. Most channels have level or other restrictions, which leaves only one server open to new players; Western Europe 1-10. Unfortunately, this server tends to be empty most of the time since its day here while its night in Europe. The only times I had luck finding a game was early in the morning (afternoon in Europe) and late at night (morning in Europe). Unless you’re a diehard soccer fan looking for an online version of your beloved game, the headache involved in finding a game is enough to kill Kicks Online.
10 Minute Tutorial
Since I couldn’t find a game when I first logged in, I decided to play through the game’s optional tutorial. I’m glad I did. Kicks Online is one of the few games that is difficult to pick up and play without at least some instruction. The tutorial consists of four phases, each with four stages. The phases, in order, are dribbling, passing, shooting, and defense. The tutorial explains each step fairly well, but I had to repeat a few stages until I mastered a certain type of shot or pass. The game’s controls can be seen on the screen at anytime while playing, which is a prudent since it takes no less than six keys to play Kicks Online, with certain keys performing different actions depending on who has the ball. The tutorial took me ten minutes to complete and was well worth it because of the ‘points’ reward. Points are the in-game currency normally earned by playing matches. Points earned in a match is dependent on your performance, which makes it hard for beginners to rack them up. Completing the tutorial gave me more points than I earned playing for hours on my own, so be sure to take the time to run through it.
A Game At Last!
Though the community is tiny, you’ll be able to find anywhere from 20-50 people online throughout the day which is enough for several concurrent games. Matches in Kicks Online can be set to 3v3, 4v4, or 5v5 and with twelve maps and nine ball types to chose from, gameplay can be mixed up to a large degree. Players can select their nationality which will be displayed above their heads in the waiting room before a game begins. This feature may not have much application but seeing the diversity of soccer fans is always welcome. The other day I played with an Israeli, German, and Italian against a group of Spaniards and Brazilians. The game’s graphics up to this point are pretty decent. When a match actually begins, things take a steep dive. The camera is zoomed out quite a bit and all players look blocky. The way the graphics appear in the lobby and waiting rooms is nothing like the actual gameplay. There are very few video options – you can play in either full screen or windowed mode, but are given no resolution choices.
Back and Forth
New players in particular will have a difficult time grasping the gameplay basics of Kicks Online. I found myself simply running up and down the court following the ball which other players always seemed to hog. Tackling (q key) is by far the best way to get the ball, but getting a feel for the timing can take several matches. Communicating with your teammates is always difficult in online games, but the fact that the average player only knows a few words of English add best compounds this problem. Large games (such as 5v5) are usually a mess, with players on one team accidentally passing the ball to the other team over and over. What makes this worse is that there are no uniforms in the game, so the only way to tell who’s on your team is a small red or blue square next to each player’s name.
Long Term Objectives
A built in quest system keeps things interesting with point rewards. These quests are very simple – for example, the first one only asks you to play five matches. The next requires three match wins and so on. The game’s item shop is rather extensive, with dozens of hair styles, glasses, shirts, pants, gloves, shoes, socks, guards, and accessories for sale. Additionally, players can purchase stat resets, new skills, and upgrade their club. Clubs are the clans in Kicks Online and require players to be level twenty-five before creating or joining one. There are club on club tournaments available at scheduled times, but I honestly don’t see many people putting in the time commitment for game as rough as this one. If you’re a soccer fan you might as well give it a try, but everyone else should be wary of Kicks Online.
Final Verdict: Poor
The almost nonexistent player base, poor graphics, and complicated gameplay make Kicks Online a difficult game to recommend. If you enjoy both soccer and MMOs it is your only option on the market at this time, but don’t expect much from Kicks Online.
Kicks Online Videos
Kicks Online Gameplay Footage
Kicks Online Tutorial Video
Kicks Online Soccer Match
Kicks Online Gameplay Trailer
Kicks Online Official Trailer
Kicks Online Links
Kicks Online System Requirements
OS: Windows XP / Vista
CPU: Pentium III 1.3ghz
Graphics Card: geforce 4 / radeon 9000
OS: Windows XP / Vista
RAM: 512MB or more
HDD: 1.2 GB
Graphics Card: GeForce 6600 or better