Football fever has gone viral with the Euro 2016 set to get underway shortly – heck, even Google’s doodle pays tribute to the month of football madness that is likely to follow. For those not content with watching the action on their television sets or the stadium, here are ten games that will deliver a digital kick in the grass to your mobile devices.
1. FIFA 16: Obviously!
Well, it HAD to be there! Love it for its official team line-ups and stadium recreations or hate it for its complex interface and sometimes near-minimal updates, there is no denying that EA’s iconic FIFA series has a special place in mobile football games. And the latest edition delivers the usual array of official teams, jerseys and venues as well as some excellent graphics (just make sure your device has a relatively new processor and at least 2 GB RAM). Yes, the gameplay does come with a learning curve and you will have to make in-app purchases at some stage, but if it is mainly a soccer spectacle that you seek on your device, this is pretty much the game to play.
2. PES: Football Manager: For the brainy ones!
The PES-FIFA rivalry has not been as intense on mobile devices as it has been on consoles and computers, mainly because PES does not have an action-oriented football game on the mobile platform. But that does not mean that the PES name is altogether absent on mobiles – indeed, the best football management game on handsets comes from its stable). Inch perfect for those who love to rack their brains about tactical formations, transfer strategies, training routines and just about everything off the pitch. The game has its moments of action as well, but make no mistake, this is one for the grey cell users, the number crunchers…the gaffers!
3. Stick Soccer: Simply irresistible
If FIFA 16 and PES: Football Manager try to represent football at its intricate best, then Stick Soccer (yes, it comes from the same folks who gave us Stick Cricket and Stick Tennis) dumbs it down to a basic level. It is basically about getting the ball into the net, by swiping your finger. Putting a spin on it in terms of difficulty are some wickedly weird angles and defenders and goalkeepers who are more than spectators. The ability to curve and spin the ball does help, but just like Stick Cricket, don’t get fooled by the game’s simplicity – it is intense and supremely addictive stuff.
4. Final Kick: Tie breaker stuff
It might make football purists wince with its Russian Roulette-like emphasis on sheer fortune rather than skill, but there’s no doubting that the penalty shoot-out is one of the most thrilling parts of a football match. Which is what makes Final Kick an absolute humdinger. It is all about taking penalties (although free-kicks have been added as an option of late) and you switch from being a goal scorer to being a goal saver (yes, you have to be the goalkeeper when the opposition shoots) as you try to win your way through a number of tournaments. The goal celebrations are slightly odd but the graphics are top notch and gameplay cunningly simple – you just have to swipe towards goal or the side you wish to dive to but angles and swerves and very good goalkeepers and strikers ensure that this is no idle walk in the park.
5. Blocky Soccer: Crossy road, curvy kick!
What happens when the blocky graphics of crossy road meet the endless running (sort of) of Temple Run. Well, something like Block Soccer, we think. The game might strike some as somewhat archaic thanks to its slightly blocky retro graphics but is a truckload of fun as your task involves dodging opponents and running at top speed on the football field by switching lanes (the pitch is divided into them), and then having a pop at the goal by working out the direction and speed of the kick. No official clubs and players, but we can see a lot of people loving it for its blend of skill and simplicity. And hey, we love the slightly retro looking graphics too.
6. Score! World Goals: Into the shoes of legends!
Always wanted to step into the shoes of your heroes and score THAT amazing goal in THAT crucial match? Well, Score! World Goals lets you do just that. The game is all about reconstructing famous goals from the history of football and you have to swipe your finger across the screen in an attempt to imitate the moves of maestros like Pele, Cryuff, Maradona, Ronaldo, Zidane and so many others. There is a variation of the game called Score! Hero where you start out as a youngster and work your way to the top echelons of the sport, but we prefer this version – I mean, we would rather be like Zidane than be ourselves when on the football pitch.
7. Flick Kick Football Legends: Touch, swipe, kick!
PikPok, the folks behind Flick Kick Football, one of the most addictive swipe to score football games on the mobile platform, have added a bit of spice to this game. The game is not just about scoring goals but also about timing your tackles and passes just right to ensure that your team finishes on top and making the task very difficult indeed are some skilful opponents and a ball that bounces and wobbles around unpredictably. There is also an element of strategy thrown in as you have to decide between which players to pick and whether to listen to loan sharks and sleazy bookies trying to make a quick buck off you. The slightly cartoony and comic strip graphics round off one of the most entertaining football games around.