Five soccer games for iPhone to ready you for league play

Aug 8, 2010
Games

Now that we’re in August, it’s time to get ready for football – just not the one you’re thinking about. Yes, NFL training camps are up and running and the start of the college football season is right around the corner, but we’re also on the verge of the start of the futbol season. Soccer […]

Now that we’re in August, it’s time to get ready for football – just not the one you’re thinking about. Yes, NFL training camps are up and running and the start of the college football season is right around the corner, but we’re also on the verge of the start of the futbol season.

Soccer leagues such as the English Premier League, Serie A and La Liga all get started this month, making this a good time to review your iPhone gaming options when it comes to the world’s most popular sport.

The good news is that the soccer genre is arguably the best sports genre on the device. Unfortunately that’s also the bad news, as there are tons of options out there and no clear favorite.

FIFA 10 by EA Sports

It’s not the newest EA Sports soccer title (that would be FIFA World Cup), but FIFA 10 by EA Sports ($6.99) is the only game in town if you’re hoping to recreate league play excitement on the iPhone – assuming you’re sold on supporting the legendary FIFA series. The game boasts a massive number of real teams and players, with 30 leagues, nearly 600 teams and more than 12,000 players included. But the highlight of FIFA 10 is its ‘Be A Pro’ mode, in which you create a superstar and guide him through a career with the team of your choice. The app is above average in all areas, from smooth graphics to smart (but simple) controls; even though it was released in December of last year, it remains near the top of the list of best soccer games.

X2 Soccer 2010

While FIFA 10 very well may have the best soccer game released in 2009, the 2010 title has seemingly already been decided. X2 Soccer 2010 ($6.99) by Exient represents a big improvement from the series’ initial iPhone release and is the first real challenger to EA Sports’ dominance since Real Soccer. You would have to give X2 the edge in graphics, and though opinions on controls differ wildly, you’d be hard pressed to vote against this app’s amazingly intuitive setup. It also has its own hyper-addictive mode; it’s called “Dream Team,” and as the name suggests, you recruit players in hopes of building the ultimate squad. The gameplay is surprisingly realistic as well, with the one downside being there aren’t as many teams and players in X2 – “only” 30 competitions and more than 250 teams. Also, unlike FIFA, there’s a free lite version of X2, so you can decide for yourself if it’s the soccer game of your dreams.

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Real Soccer 2010

The name of this is a bit misleading. Gameloft’s Real Soccer 2010 ($2.99) is actually a game from last year, back when the company was making a habit out of releasing sports games just before rival EA. The result is pretty typical of your 2009 Gameloft sports game, as it’s got great style but is a bit lacking when it comes to substance. I was blown away by the game’s graphics when I first saw them and, even now, they’re really impressive. Like other games here, it’s got real players (eight leagues, 245 teams), as well as a special mode called “Enter The Legend,” which is very similar to FIFA’s “Be A Pro.” Unfortunately, there have been plenty of complaints about bugs and lag, the latter of which I’ve definitely experienced. The good news is that in addition to that tasty price tag, there is also a lite version of the game. While I’m not sure I’d recommend it over either of the first two games on this list, it’s not without merit.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2010

Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 ($6.99) is another title that made its name on consoles before coming to the iPhone. So in addition to a great look, the game also has a rabid fanbase as well as a wealth of control options. Gamers can use the traditional two-action button and d-pad setup, or the “true flow” system that uses the accelerometer. PES also has exclusive UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League modes, as well as the option to play as national teams. On the downside, the game is seriously lacking in terms of real teams, something that’s even worse when you consider that just about every other game has an official license. If you can get past that, this game belongs right at the top of the list with all the others, although admittedly that’s a big thing to get past.

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Football Manager Handheld 2010

What makes the PC version of Sega’s Football Manager Handheld 2010 ($9.99) so popular is the insane amount of detail it offers. Furthermore, the sports management genre has been just about nonexistent on the iPhone so far, making this port a risky proposition. Despite those things, FM Handheld absolutely works as an app, as more trivial features such as media management and youth teams removed but all the necessary (and more fun) features included. You still get to control almost everything about your favorite squad, with 11 countries, 34 leagues and more than 20,000 players included in the game. The computer AI seems solid enough, and you even get to watch the matches as you do in the computer version – though with players represented as dots instead of animations. If you’re scared off by the price but still want a soccer management simulator, Championship Manager 2010 Express ($2.99) is an acceptable alternative.

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David Lister

David Lister is a freelance writer in Chicago. He is a former editor and writer at the NationalSportsReview.com and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. 

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