Let's talk about Smash Soccer! The original premise was to call it JoKenPo Soccer, where the mechanics would be based on playing rock paper scissors. Instead of the red/green/blue ball buttons we'd have a scissors, rock and paper buttons. At each correct guess the ball would move towards the opponents goal, whereas incorrect guesses would result in the ball moving towards the players goal.
The problem with this mechanic is that it's a guess, and not necessarily a skill that the player can exercise and improve upon. Guessing games aren't necessarily fun for that matter, as basic flow theory suggests. Because of that we decided to revise that core mechanic.
While we were iterating on that, analytics displayed that Samurai Slash was one of our most popular games. So we thought of perhaps combing the soccer field move mechanics with Samurai Slash's reflex mechanics. We wanted to be inspired by Samurai Slash gameplay, but not so much as that the final game would look like just a simple re-skin of the original. After a few iterations, the net result is what you currently see on Smash Soccer.
Having published the game for a week now, it seems that about 1/3 of kicks are incorrect ones, whereas 2/3 are correct. This displays that the game is quite difficult early on for the average user, which we plan to address soon. We're also trying to figure out how to inform users that the kick icon moves to the left then to the right before the player fails. We haven't come up with a good way of detailing that, but we'll figure it out soon enough.
- D.Waters and the Blue Salt Team