Miniclip is a company that you may know from various casual sports games, such as Basketball Stars and 8 Ball Pool, as well as titles such as the Dude Perfect series and Agar.io. Their latest release for iOS and Android devices is Mini Football, and they do indeed promise in the game description that players will enjoy a “casual gameplay experience” that’s loyal to actual association football. The game boasts simple mechanics that make it easy for you to pass the ball, score goals that energize the crowd at the stadium, and make those electric slide tackles to dispossess your opponent.
Of course, this means you won’t have a chance to control real-life players like you could in other games, but that’s why you’ve got Football Manager and other similar titles — this is for those who like things uncomplicated, yet unsurprisingly addictive.
Despite the above description, this game is, as many companies would say in their descriptions, hard to master. At some point, you’ll reach a point where winning matches isn’t as easy as it used to be, and scoring goals is quite the challenge. But before you get there, you’ll need to get your feet wet first, and this is where our Mini Football guide comes in. We’ve compiled several tips and tricks that should especially be helpful for first-time players, though if you’ve been playing for a while, you just might find something useful along the way.
1. The Basics Of Mini Football
If you’re looking for an action-based mobile football game that doesn’t try to overwhelm you with a ton of features and thousands of real-life players, Mini Football is the game for you. In this game, it’s all about competing against other human players and improving your team by acquiring new fictional players and upgrading the ones you currently have. And of course, it’s all about the on-field action, as matches here take 150 seconds in real time and 90 minutes in in-game time, with the game’s matchmaking system pitting you against opponents with similar team ratings. (Or higher/lower team ratings, depending on the stadium you choose.)
After going through a brief tutorial stage, where you will be trained on the basics of passing, shooting, tackling, and pressuring, you will get to play your first match, in which you will be paired against another first-time player with a similar-strength first eleven. As you’ll find out, scoring goals is easy once you’ve got a clear shot at the goal — just aim the ball away from the goalkeeper, hit the Shoot button, and you’ve got a good chance of scoring. What’s tricky, however, is maintaining possession of the ball.
Of course, there’s the possibility that someone from the opposing team will try to pressure you and intercept the ball, or maybe catch you from behind with a slide tackle. That’s given in any soccer game that includes in-match action, but you may notice that it’s pretty much anything goes when it comes to the officiating. Penalties are very rare, based on what we’ve observed, and it’s not uncommon for opposing players to tackle you while in the box or run in front of the ball after you shoot it, thus leading to a dispossession.
However, if it’s any consolation, we haven’t been called offside in any of the matches we’ve played so far, so you don’t need to worry too much about the referee’s whistle blowing after you get a scoring opportunity that seems too good to be true.
While some soccer games (or mobile sports games in general) consider a draw essentially the same as losing (to the point that you may even see the words “You Lost” or “Loser” after a draw), Mini Football does away with that. If both teams remain tied at the end of 90 minutes, the golden goal rule kicks in — that’s a sudden death scenario where the first team to score wins the match. However, if both teams remain deadlocked after 30 minutes, both teams will be placed in a penalty shootout scenario with a minimum of three attempts — this can be a real nail-biter, as we’ll explain toward the end of this guide.
Each match has a buy-in fee, with the Old Town arena — the first one that will be made available to you — costing 25 gold. You will, however, win double that amount if you win the match, and you’ll also get a prize pack, which may contain new player cards, coins, or gems, the latter of which are the game’s premium currency. You may also get new equipment, and with each win, you will also earn more points that will go toward helping you increase your player level.
Leveling up allows you to earn even more of the aforementioned rewards, and it could also unlock new stadiums that have higher buy-in fees and consequently, bigger coin prizes for winning a match. Additionally, this allows you to unlock new formations, though we’ll talk about this a little later on in the guide.
2. Focus On Improving Your Better Players
As you collect more packs, you will collect more cards, and most of these will be player cards — you can either unlock a new player or get a duplicate of someone who’s already on your roster, thus giving you resources to level them up and improve their rating and that of your club. At first, you may find yourself upgrading everyone on your club, may it be the new players or the old ones, using all the cards you have for a certain player to substantially boost their rating. That’s all well and good early on — you won’t have too many Rare players or better just yet, so you’ll be relying a lot on your Common players.
However, you will eventually have to be a bit picky when it comes to the players you’re improving. Once you’ve got enough Rare players or better to take up most (if not all) of your starting eleven, you’ll want to shift your focus toward them, as it will cost more coins to upgrade them — for instance, it takes just 5 coins to upgrade a Common player from level 1 to level 2, but it will set you back by 50 coins to similarly level up a Rare player for the first time.
You can, of course, keep on playing in order to win more coins, especially once you’ve unlocked new stadiums, though as we’ll be explaining in the very next tip, you can only play so many matches in order to maximize your common currency earnings in the game.
3. Managing Your Packs – Prize Slots And The Special ‘Goals Prize’
As is the case with many other games that require you to unlock your prize packs individually, Mini Football comes with four prize slots found on the bottom fo your screen. That means you can win four straight games and win one pack for each of those matches, after which you can keep on playing, but not get any pack as a reward because all your slots are full.
There’s usually no harm in doing so, but you’ll never know when you end up with something better than a Basic Pack, which comes with three cards, up to 35 coins, and a “small chance” of Epic cards — these, in case you’re wondering, take three hours to unlock, or 32 gems to do so instantly. (If you’re lucky, you may end up with Super Packs or Gold Packs, which come with guaranteed Rare cards or better, among other rewards, but take much longer and cost more gems to unlock.) You also have the option to head to the Shop and watch an ad video every 12 hours or so to get a free Basic Pack, regardless of whether your prize slots are full or not.
Aside from the prize packs, you can also earn a “Goals Prize,” as seen on the right side of the main menu. These come with a ton of coins, some Gems, and at least three cards, and can be opened for every 20 goals you score across all the matches you play. That’s one reason when you can go ahead and play a new match even if your slots are full — for instance, iff it says you’ve scored 17 or 18 goals out of 20 and you have no more vacant prize slots, you can play a new match, (hopefully) score those two or three missing goals, and get to unlock the Goals Prize.
As a bonus tip, you can also watch ad videos in order to speed up the unlocking process — it’s just a quick 30 seconds to shave an hour off the unlock time, so that’s another reason why you should, as much as possible, avoid paying gems to expedite things. Watching an ad could also allow you to get a bonus card once you’ve already opened the pack!
4. Choose Your Formations Based On Your Team’s Strengths
As we mentioned, you can unlock new formations as you increase your player level. At first, you’ll have no choice but to play matches using the classic 4-4-2 formation, which, as any fan should know, means four defenders, four midfielders, and two forwards. Once you reach level 2, you’ll unlock 4-3-3, which is a more attacking formation that features three midfielders and three forwards, and 5-3-2, which is a more defensive-oriented tactic where you’ve got five defenders, three midfielders, and two forwards.
As you go on, even more formations will become available, and you can choose this by tapping on Team, then Tactic — the game does not come with any auto-pick feature, so you’ll need to manually move your players around to make sure everyone is playing their listed position. Fortunately, there aren’t any preferred sides (left, right, center), so that simplifies things quite a bit — you simply need to take account of their rating when deciding whether to start or bench a player. Putting a player in their natural position results in a small rating bonus, while playing them out of position results in a slight decline to their rating.
When choosing a formation, you need to take everybody’s ratings into account — for example, if you have more highly-rated forwards and fewer midfielders on the same level, a 4-3-3 formation would be great. Conversely, you should opt for 5-3-2 if your highest-rated players are mostly defenders and you haven’t quite caught up in terms of your forwards or midfielders. There’s no chemistry factor to keep in mind here, so that’s another good thing for those who want to keep things as simple as possible.
5. Get More Gems By Completing The Achievements
Gems can be used to purchase premium player packs in the in-game store, or if you’re particularly impatient, you can also use this currency to instantly open the prize packs you win after emerging victorious over an opponent. These packs may include a couple of gems, or maybe far more than that if you’re opening a rarer pack, but there are a few other ways to earn more premium currency, starting with the achievements you can complete while playing more matches in Mini Football.
You can view the Achievements menu by tapping on your player icon on the upper left of the screen, then heading to the lower left side of your Profile and tapping on Achievements. These are tasks which you can complete organically, or simply by playing more matches — for example, you may be asked to win so many games, upgrade so many players, acquire a certain number of Rare players or Epic players, get a certain number of players regardless of rarity, or whatnot.
You can earn a minimum of 5 gems for completing one Achievement, though the number of gems you can get will go up as the task gets more difficult — for example, you will get five gems for upgrading 10 players, then 20 more gems for upgrading a hundred.
In addition, you can also get 100 gems simply by connecting your game to Facebook. This option is available on the top center part of the main menu, and aside from giving you a ton of premium currency to work with, connecting/linking/binding your game allows you to pick up where you left off in the event you need to change from one device to another, or if you uninstall the game then reinstall it at a later date.
6. Be Careful When Using The Slide Button
For those who may be used to playing higher-end soccer games on their mobile devices, the gameplay in Mini Football may seem like the equivalent of no blood, no foul. Yellow cards appear to be rarer, and it’s not uncommon for particularly electric slide tackles to take place in the box without penalties getting called.
However, referees do give out yellow cards — and in some cases, red cards — for dirty play, so be careful when you’re hitting the Slide button to tackle an opponent. You don’t want to allow a free kick to your opponent, and you don’t want to risk players getting sent off, either due to a red card or two yellow cards in one match.
If you can help it, it’s better to ignore the in-game stats for tackles per game and simply try to dispossess opposing players by running in front of them and intercepting the ball. It can be just as effective, as long as you’re hitting the Switch button regularly as we had advised. You can go for the tackle if you notice that the opponent is nearing the box and in good position to attempt a shot at the goal, or if you’re competing against a stronger opponent, but otherwise, pressuring opposing players is the way to go.
7. New Equipment Doesn’t Improve Your Team Rating Or Your Players
Among the cards you receive whenever you open a new pack, you will get new Equipment items, such as jerseys, shorts, socks, and shoes, as well as new soccer balls. You can also get new logos for your club. Do these items improve your team’s rating, or do they provide any buffs that might help you win more games? Perhaps they improve specific players on your club?
Unfortunately, the answer to all those questions would be no. All these items are there for collection purposes, and only change the aesthetic of your team — you can mix and match different national team jerseys, shorts, shoes, and socks and use different types of balls, but they don’t offer anything else special.
However, as we mentioned earlier, there is another purpose that Equipment serves aside from aesthetics and collection. You can earn gems as you collect more Equipment, so don’t fret if the age-old casual game standby applies in this case — that premium currency you earn for collecting a certain number of items can be used to buy better packs in the Shop! (Or possibly speed up the unlocking process, if you’re flush with gems.)
8. General Tips For Winning More Matches
It’s something we’ve noticed across multiple football games for mobile, and sports games in general, if we’re being honest. AI-controlled players don’t really play too smartly, so when playing defense, make sure you’re hitting the Switch button regularly to make sure you’re controlling the player nearest to the ball! Don’t go for the old workaround of spamming Switch so that the computer, in theory, controls everyone on your team while you’re trying to get the ball back — it will not work, and it will only result in awkward defensive play, on top of the simplistic AI decisions made by the players you aren’t controlling.
When attempting goals, it’s best if you make your attempt when there isn’t anyone right in front of you to block the ball and take it out of danger. As we mentioned, the gameplay allows for this to happen quite a lot, and while it’s always good to take as many shots as possible, you also want to play smartly while in the box and avoid making wasteful goal attempts that may also result in a clean save or a good old fashioned goal kick to reset the action.
Be careful when moving up to a newly unlocked arena! You should never compete at a stadium where the buy-in fee could potentially wipe out your entire coin balance — this is especially true because the matchmaking system will oftentimes pair you up against much more talented teams, and no matter how hard you try to pick up the win, there’s always the chance of a come-from-behind victory for the other, stronger team.
Stay frosty during penalty shootouts! Attempting penalties is simple in this game — just use the joystick on the left side to aim the ball, and if you’re the keeper, use the joystick to move left or right to block the opponent’s goal attempt. But that is, of course, easier said than done, as anyone who’s been in a virtual or real-life penalty shootout will tell you. Especially since you only have a limited time to aim your kick or position your keeper, penalty shootouts in Mini Football are oftentimes a battle of who’s able to keep their composure better in crunchtime. And we’re talking about human players here, not the players you control in the game.
Last, but not the least, do not play this game in an agitated or frustrated state! It’s alright to take a break for at least half an hour if you’re racking up consecutive losses, or perhaps move to a lower-stakes stadium and weaker opponents.
And this wraps up our compilation of tips and tricks for Mini Football. If you happen to know more tips for Miniclip’s exciting soccer game, then feel free to let us know about them in the comment area below!