Having only been revealed by EA a couple of weeks ago, Playfish's FIFA Superstars game has gone live on Facebook. And I must say, it's rather good.
Not good in the way a real FIFA game is. But good in the way a Facebook game - built for football fans, not farming fans - should be.
At its core, Superstars is a football management game. If you start at Football Manager, work your way down to FIFA Manager, then strip most of that away, you're getting close. You build a team, you get some players, you set training regimes then you set them loose on other teams, a game's outcome determined not by arcade skills, but by behind-the-scenes number crunching and statistical combat.
While the depth of the game is limited, the key appeal comes in the fact it's free to play, makes Facebook integration a big part of the action and has some slick presentation that's neither too "hardcore" to put off the casual user, nor too cutesy to put off fans of the "real" FIFA series.
From what I've seen having picked at its edges all day, benefits will of course be had by those willing to pay a little extra to get better players, but provided you've got enough friends playing the game there's enough for free-riding players to do that unless you want to be really competitive you won't need to pay a cent.
What I really like, though, is how the game asks you each and every time you win a match whether you want to tell Facebook about a win or accomplishment or not. I've been playing all day, and said no every time, leaving my friends in abject peace.
That said, I'm a considerate human being. A dickhead who likes to boast about every single win may soon try your patience. But then, that may be more of a problem with your friends list than it is with the game...
On a related note, FIFA Online, EA's more skill-based attempt at luring you away from a day's work, has also gone into open beta today. You can check it out here.