Sensible Soccer was originally an Amiga football game designed to eshew realism in favour of fast-paced gameplay. In this way it followed in the footsteps of earlier games such those in the Kick Off series by Anco, but improved on the formula significantly by providing a much larger view of the pitch, a simpler, yet still deep, control scheme and a notably better, more cartoony, art style.
Like those in the Kick Off games, Sensible Soccer's footie players run around the pitch at what feel like absurd break-neck speeds, particularly to newcomers to the game. For this reason, the increased pitch view is a marked improvement; now the user has a chance to process where their player is headed, what their passing options are, and which opposition players they will need to deal play around. This opened up the opportunity to play a fast flowing passing style of game that felt very rewarding.
In yet another parallel to the Kick Off series, the dribbling mechanic in this game was not done in the common videogame style at the time. Where most other games favoured the 'ball glued to feet' mechanic, Sensible Soccer preferred a looser system, where a dribbling player could easily leave the ball behind if they tried to make sudden turns at speed.
The game featured a selection of teams from the top leagues throughout Europe, as well as better known international teams. The Amiga and PC versions featured real player names, while the Genesis version was relegated to having slightly altered fake names, presumably due to licensing issues.
Teams usually had three star players who could outperform their peers slightly. Teams used a hidden, internal rating system to determine player speed and other attributes.
The game was played using a simple, one button control scheme. A tap of the button would pass the ball along the ground in the direction the player was currently running, with a level of auto aiming towards nearby players of the same team. Holding the button down would result in a kick that would loft the ball into the air. From there, the height and power was controlled using an 'aftertouch' system relative to the player's current directional movement; if the joystick remained pushed in the same direction, a low, hard shot would be used. If it was released to a neutral position, a lofted ball would be played. If the joystick was pulled back to the opposite direction, the ball would be given a powerful, distance lob high into the air. On top of this control, left and right swerve could be applied to the ball in varying degrees based on how soon after the kick they were pushed. In a very simple way, Sensible Software had created a system which gave players a huge amount of control over how they played the ball around the field.