25
Oct
Screen Shot 2012-10-25 at 00.45.07

FIFA may be the undisputed king of football games on the console, but when it comes to mobile gaming, it's a totally different ball game.

Gameloft will be hoping that Real Football 2013 (also known as "Real Soccer 2013" in the U.S. store) can take advantage of FIFA 13's delayed arrival to the Play store this year, and amass as many downloads as possible, but how does it compare to its rivals?

Gameplay

When you launch Real Football for the first time, you can choose to take control of a club from a number of leagues across the world. Pro Evolution Soccer fans will no doubt be glad to see the return of teams such as 'Man Red', as Gameloft hasn't acquired the rights to the names of most of the teams available. This certainly sets the tone for the rest of the game, which has an extremely casual feel about it.

There's only one game mode available to you in Real Football, in which you take control of a club and guide them through a season, in a similar fashion to career mode on FIFA. Unfortunately, you can't just dive into a friendly game to take on the CPU or your friends. Always one for a challenge, I chose to take control of Blackpool to begin my career - you can select teams from the first two tiers of English football - and was immediately given the chance to make serious improvements to my side, by signing none other than Neymar for free... It's quite apparent that realism isn't high up on Gameloft's list of priorities.

real-football-2013-003

In a similar fashion to the old LMA Manager games on PlayStation, Real Football goes beyond matches, allowing you to control every aspect of the club that you choose when you launch the game. You can upgrade everything from your stadium to the club spa, but as Real Football is a freemium game, this all costs money. Real money.

The freemium model may be popular on Android, to provide a steady stream of income after a game has been downloaded, and to combat piracy, but unfortunately, it makes Real Football a lot less enjoyable than it could be.

If you're taking the whole club management thing seriously, you'll want to make sure that you have adequate training facilities, a good hospital, and an attractive spa. Yes, a spa can actually help your players avoid injury.

real-football-2013-039

So, you want to upgrade your hospital to level 3. Great, that'll be 15 coins please. Don't have enough money? Great, you can buy more using your hard earned, real money. These upgrades don't come cheap either; 1300 coins will put you back 70 quid! For that amount of money, I can buy FIFA 13 on the PS3 and pick up 24 beers to go with it. Even the smaller purchase of a "fistful of cash" (20 coins) will cost you £1.49.

Once you've purchased an upgrade, the kick in the teeth comes when you have to wait 3 hours - in real time - until it's completed. Is there anything more annoying? Of course, you can hurry things along a bit, but it'll cost you more money. Basically, Gameloft is squeezing every penny it can out of you through every aspect of the game. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind paying for a game that I'll spend a lot of time on, but by the time you've played a season of Real Football, you may as well have bought a season ticket at your local club.

Controls

If you're expecting to admire the beautiful game in all of its glory, then you'll probably be left feeling a little disappointed after a round of Real Football. With the resources available, the game doesn't do a terrible job; graphics are as good as you could expect on a mobile device, but you never feel completely in control of the game using the virtual buttons provided.

Whilst you're in possession of the ball, you can use three buttons in the corner of the screen that allow you to pass, shoot, or sprint. Tapping beyond where your player currently is allows you to do a few tricks, but don't expect a showcase of goodies here, you're limited to a few stepovers.

real-football-2013-023

When you don't have the ball, the buttons will re-assign themselves to allow you to press and tackle your opponents. When you're trying to win the ball back, control of individual players seems to shift randomly to the player nearest to the ball. This makes sense, but it also takes a lot of tactical control away from you. What if you want to mark a player in the box before a cross comes in? You can try furiously tapping on the player who you want to control, but it might take a few tries before you're successful, and it only takes a second for the opposition to score a goal.

"You're not fit to referee..."

It always seems like referees are the center of attention after a game of football, and Real Football is no exception. If you do manage to get close to the player on the ball - the 'press' button is really useful in situations such as this - you'll want to close him down and make a tackle. That's all well and good, but doing so without receiving a red card, especially if you tackle from behind, is almost impossible; I'm yet to make it through a game with any more than 9 men on the field.

real-football-2013-022

If you'd never watched football before playing this game, you would probably think that it was a non-contact sport. Gone are the days of Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira fighting it out in the middle of the park; Real Football is clearly filled with players like Nani and Luis Suarez who could be floored by a gentle breeze, and halfwit referees who go into their pockets every two minutes. Andy Gray would have a field day with these decisions.

Wrap-Up

Real Football has the potential to be a lighthearted, fun game for casual football fans, with graphics that are on par with most other sports games on the Play store and the ability to play a season without spending too much money as long as you have the patience of a saint.

However, if you're a big fan of the beautiful game, I'd recommend that you wait until FIFA 13 arrives on the Play store in the next few months. The lack of realism in Real Football will probably begin to get on your nerves - as nice as it is to be handed world class players upon your arrival at your new club - and if you want to get anywhere quickly then you'll have to buy quite a few in-game coins to do so.

Still, the game is available to download from the Play store for free, so if you think that you might enjoy playing around with it, there's no harm in checking it out.

John Thompson
John's been addicted to technology ever since he tinkered with his first custom built PC when he was 10 years old. He's also the proud owner of seven Amazon Kindles, but only because he destroyed the first six.

  • defred34

    Thank you John for calling this Real Football...I was sick and tired of AP referring to it as Real Soccer. All I can say is, if you want to play a decent (I say decent because it is still not spectacular) football sim on mobile, wait for FIFA 13. It runs along nicely with 2004-era graphics on my iPad.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      John is from UK. The rest of the team is from U.S. and Canada. We don't even get the Real Football Play Store entry here - we get Real Soccer. Real Football is not compatible and doesn't show up in search, so you can hardly blame AP for this. If you want someone to blame - blame Gameloft.

  • Matt Sokolinski

    Another freemium game asking to be pirated (free coins and money). I will never buy a game from gameloft. Unless they will completely remove freemium word from their games

    • jusatin

      How do you think people at Gameloft (or any other company for that matter) makes their salary or profit? By getting money. How do you get money from a free app, by IAP. I'd take IAP any day over those pain-in-the-ass advertisement.. (Although it's a totally different story for paid games..)

      • http://twitter.com/british_geek John Thompson

        I'd rather pay for the game outright and not have to deal with tacky in-app purchases or ads at all. I don't mind the IAP model when it's done right, but it's thrown in your face everywhere you look here.

  • http://twitter.com/Michael97F Michael Fordham

    I don't think Andy Great would be "taking a bow" for this game. Why does everything cost so much? I want to know the genius at Gameloft who expects someone to spend £70 on fake money.

    • garychencool

      People actually buy this...

    • mide midey

      If you can't spend the dough, then you do the time (patience).

  • http://twitter.com/iMrWhonder Timothy Whonder

    I actually like the gameplay. I don't do anything except cup matches.

    • defred34

      good then its certain you're from Mars.

  • http://www.facebook.com/NachoL51466 Jesus Eduardo Salas

    are the teams from Mexico like America, Cruz Azul, and Chivas available for this years release of real football???

  • http://www.facebook.com/hb.jia Hb Jia

    This reviewer does not have patience, however, that does not mean everybody has no patience in this nice game. I have played for a few weeks and it's all fine for me. Just organize well your real time and you'll find it a really good game to be played for half an hour everyday (and let the time-machine roll at night)

    • mide midey

      Well said, it's frustrating in the beginning, but gets so easy and better as you get going. I'm presently On level "69" ..haven't lost a game in a long while...and now you can play against online opponents.

  • messi aka emmanu

    bravo & big ups fifa

  • Omrie

    It's not a bad game, you obviously don't know how to play it.
    Beside that, yes it is annoying that you have to wait a long time, but if you have work or go to college you can easily wait for 12hours.

  • Issa Mhaanna

    Thank God for game guardian and game hacks!!!

  • Foxtrautus

    Sadly, Fifa 13 is not going to be released for Android :(

  • Rogeiro

    Some cons of the game: 1. You cannot see the replay because of the Real Soccer 2013 logo pops up at the same time. To fix this Gameloft should hold the replay while the logo ends. 2. When you play the game for free (As I've been doing) if your team is in a good place in the league, suddenly your players stop moving and just wait and see the other team to move and attack and annotate. 3. Under the same circumstances your goal-keeper can suddenly drop the ball and wait for somebody to kick into your own arch. 4. sometimes specially when you are winning a game for a big margin, the game suddenly is closed and you have to restart the match. 5. if you send a player to the hospital, spa or training, the time should be the same than playing time.

    Other than that, the game is good and I like it.

    • mide midey

      It all gets better as you proceed (if you know what ur doing).

  • Andrew Mogford

    I found it can be very frustrating. The length of matches compared to the recovery time for players, means that half the squad can be out injured for the length of a whole season after just one game. Tackling seems impossible, unless you want to add several red cards to the injuries. To make matters worse, even when you put players through their rest, you have to repeat that several times before they can play again, in what looks like a bug.
    Soring is not much easier than tackling. About 1 shot in 100 goes in for me.
    Finally, to build you team, you need home games to earn money, (or buy it for real cash). But you will get one away game after another. I can't help thinking that a lot of this is designed to get you to part with cash, rather than to improve gameplay.

  • ThreeSecond

    Hey, can you mention all clubs/teams that can be use to play?? please email me

  • mohit

    fifa 2015 has tooo many problems right now,the graphics are fantastic.But my only problem is that the game crashes alot.Sometimes after finishing a season it does not connect to a server,so my progress gets lost.I've uninstalled the game untill they fix the bugs.