The handheld version of FIFA Soccer 96 has a few differences in comparison to its brethren on the "big" systems. There are only eight national leagues instead of eleven, there is no practise mode, saving or team editor, and it does not have the license to use real team and athlete names. Of course there are also the expected technical differences regarding graphic, sounds and controls.
Besides those changes, it is still a traditional soccer game. The player has the choice between 217 teams (59 national teams) and several playing modes: friendly matches, national leagues, a league with national teams, tournaments or playoffs. There are a variety of options to set, including the difficulty level, weather or if athletes can be injured. There is also an overall option if the gameplay is more action or simulation oriented. The matches itself are shown from an isometric perspective and the athletes are directly controlled.