It isn’t as if there is a shortage of football to watch or experience at pretty much any time of the year, so do we need yet more iterations of the sport encroaching on our lives? Unfortunately for football haters it’s a little too late to avoid this fate: football is everywhere. The sport is on the TV, it’s being played down the park, it’s on every games console/PC, it’s all over the internet in flash/Unity 3D form, and now it’s even spread to mobile devices.
That’s right, for as long as there has been the miracle of portable computing there have been football games to store on these devices. Even if you’re not a football fan however, there is such a thing as a good football game and a bad football game. Even the most sceptical of sports haters need to accept that there are simply some football games out there for Android/iOS devices that are actually enjoyable in an objective sense and that are worthy of mention in Top 5 or Top 10 lists. This is one such list, and it contains only the very best football games available.
1. New Star Soccer
You can actually find a completely free-to-play version of New Star Soccer on the internet that is flash based, but this particular reference is to the Android/iOS version of the game which is free to download and play with the option of in-app purchases to get ahead of the game. New Star Soccer is effectively a mini-RPG football game that allows you to assume the identity of a young footballer aspiring for greatness. It is your responsibility to enter into training sessions in order to boost your player’s stats and gain items that allow you to play such as energy drinks so that you can complete your next training session.
New Star Soccer’s style isn’t exactly smooth and polished in the modern sense as you would expect in games such as FIFA 15; the graphics are old-school and pixelated in a purposeful way, much like you would expect from old Nintendo graphics or the Amiga game system. This adds to the simple charm of the game however and is perhaps one of the reasons why it is rated so highly by millions and millions of players all over the world. Developer Simon Read of Newstargames.com has previous won BAFTA awards for his talents, and this level of skill becomes quite obvious when you’re spending hours upon hours of your time being addicted to New Star Soccer.
2. Football Manager Handheld 2014
Not all football games have to be a like-for-like representation of real-life match play. In fact, some of the most popular games are ones which allow you to indulge in football-related action away from the field: Football Manager Handheld is a title which lets you do exactly that.
Football Manager Handheld 2014 costs £6.99 to play but don’t let this initial price put you off; the up-front price lets you enjoy the game without having to worry about in-app purchases along the way. The game is essentially a condensed-down version of the PC-based title which is where the title gained so much popularity. The mobile version allows you to manage your favourite club in a very realistic way, paying attention to transfer deadlines, training, cohesion/moods within the team, and financial considerations. It is your job to keep the fans, the media, and the players happy and the team playing in tip-top form, and all within the ultra-slick iOS/Android presentation that wouldn’t be out of place in a console-based game.
3. FIFA 14
Forget the console-based rivalry between Pro Evo and FIFA: EA Sports have won the battle hands-down when it comes to mobile-based football. FIFA 14 is again a shrunken-down version of the flashy console-based game and brings the official licenses and slick graphics of said game to your mobile device. You’ll notice that the skills controls don’t translate in the best way but most fans are just happy to have FIFA on their mobile phone for some highly realistic, if hugely expensive (as a result of in-app purchases) gameplay.
4. Flick Kick Football Legends
Though the original Flick Kick Football game was a breakthrough in terms of its interface and its uniquely stylish take on a very specific aspect of the sport, Flick Kick Football Legends takes the series to another level with more modes of gameplay, more competitive leagues, and a refining of the stylish cel-shaded look that makes the series so unique to play. There’s nothing better than being able to apply curve and power to the ball through PikPok‘s unique flick-to-kick system, an interface that makes this one of the best football games out there.
5. Football Kicks
This is another title that doesn’t feel like it has to adhere to the usual whole-match format, instead bringing you what is arguably the most (and more many the only) entertaining thing about the sport: the kicking. That’s right, Football Kicks has an interface similar to Flick Kick Football in that you swipe to take free kicks, though in this case it has six modes in which to practice your free kick skills: Beat the Clock, Beat the Wall, Cross the Ball, Win the Euros, Beat the Goalie and the dreaded Sudden Death mode. All of these modes as well as some impressive 3D graphics makes for a unique football experience that isn’t limited to going through the usual match-based motions as in FIFA 14. Distinctive Games certainly hit the ball in the net when coming up with this little beauty.
6. Head Soccer
Anyone that has played the Mousebreaker Sports Heads Games will recognise the format of Head Soccer. The game takes all the usual complications seen in mobile-based football match-play and simplifies the whole thing. All you have to do is control one player on the screen against a single opponent. The action is viewed from a side-on perspective with a goal at each end of the miniature pitch and the ball bouncing around. All you have to do is score goals and prevent being scored against. It may sound very simple, but that is the intention and exactly what makes this game so entertaining. Well, that and the special shots like Dragon and Ice shooting; this just makes things all the more nteresting.
7. Fluid Football Versus
This game is ideal for those that like combined elements in their games instead of just one particular aspect. The birds-eye view pitch gameplay is similar to the game Score! with tactical manoeuvres across the pitch, but all finished off with New Star Soccer-like scoring opportunities. There are few adjectives to describe the gameplay that are better than “fluid” since gameplay is as smooth as you can hope for in a mobile-based football game.
8. Flick Kick Football Kickoff
This series’ addictive potential is undeniable, and though it isn’t quite as comprehensive as its successor Flick Kick Football legends, this series is still worthy of a double mention in this Top 10.
9. Real Football 2013
If FIFA is the FIFA of the mobile gaming world, then Real Football 13 is the Pro Evolution Soccer equivalent. This game has some incredibly detailed match play as well as a fantastic management features and graphics that almost don’t belong on a mere mobile device. It’s a shame about the awkward controls however.
10. Football Rush: Running Game
This is probably the least traditional football game here in terms of its format, which involves racing in a straight line whilst avoiding obstacles and other impediments to your progress. This feels like a running-based arcade game with football themes running throughout, and it is a refreshing take on what can often be a repetitive genre.