Real Football (Soccer) 2009 [App Store] is the first football (soccer) game to hit the iPhone and it was certainly worth the wait.

For fans of games such as Pro Evolution and FIFA on the Playstation/PC this games feels slightly towards the FIFA end of the spectrum. That said, even for a fan of Pro Evo (this reviewer included), this game will certainly keep you entertained for a long time.

The game offers 3 difficulty settings: Easy, Normal and Hard. These settings cover a decent skill range and provide a challenging but rewarding experience even on the hardest setting. Each step-up in skill may initially seem like a large jump but you can get used it it only after a couple of games.

There are a number of options for managing the team both before the start of a match and during the game itself. You can pick from a squad of twenty one players to form your starting eleven. These players can then be arranged in a formation of your choice either through preset options (standard 4-4-2 or even more exotic options such as 3-6-1) or you can come up with your own unique formation and position for each player.

During the game the players become fatigued as indicated by a bar at the top of the screen. When you notice a player's energy is very low or you need to make a drastic change to your team style, whether you are holding on to a vital 1-0 lead or pushing for an equalizer in the 90th minute, you can make substitutions and formation changes during the game. This is a great little feature for those who really know their players.

The leagues are up to date reflecting the current 2008-2009 season. The teams however are a step behind. For example, Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov are still at Tottenham Hotspur. Hopefully this will be addressed in an update.

On-screen “A” and “B” buttons and a directional pad are used to control the players. Advanced moves include step overs, flip flaps, and marseille roulettes. With all the controls combined, the game play is quite extensive and allows you to open teams up and score some great goals. Open game play is free flowing and really quite intelligent with off-the-ball AI players making runs into space when you are attacking or moving to fill gaps in the defense. On defense, the auto-select feature also does very well in choosing the correct player, or you can also manually select other players by taping on the screen. All of this adds to the gameplay, giving it a good footballing feel.

If you decide to go sliding into the tackles then it is quite easy to pick up yellow and red cards. Unfortunately, the control for shooting and sliding tackle is the same with the game deciding which to use. This can lead to some unfair sending offs as shown in the video below. During the course of my season there were 3 such instances with a striker going for a 50/50 shot but ending up slide tackling the goal keeper. Still, this is only a minor detraction from the game. When you do get a freekick it is relatively easy to challenge the keeper. Penalties, on the other hand, take some getting used to. The power meter doesn’t seem to adjust to the fact that you are taking a penalty so if you go full power it is very difficult to get it anywhere on target. (However, once you get used to the controls you will be as good as the Germans.)

The one place that the game uses the iPhone's built in accelerometer is when taking throw ins. This feels oddly out of place and somewhat unnecessary, however, when demonstrating it to non iPhone owners it does impress.

In all, the controls feel intuitive after a short period of play.

The range of teams and competitions is expansive allowing you to play as teams such as Liverpool FC, Hull City AFC, SS Lazio, São Paulo FC, Rosenborg BK and those in between in competitions all over the globe. The game saves its state in between games so, if you happen to be knocked out of a cup, reloading takes you back to where you were just before your poor performance. However, purists (like this reviewer) will erase this save point and complete in the round robin stages again.

As with many football games there are issues with licenses for player names. This game has a slightly odd mix of official names and slightly veiled names for both players and teams. For example, Ballack plays for Chelsea, however, in the German national team his name changes to Ballaq.

In summary, with its impressive range of teams, controls and options to manage the team, this game is considered a "must have" for any football fans out there.

Game Details
Name: Real Football 2009 (v1.0.2)
Real Soccer 2009 (U.S.)
Price: $9.99 [Buy]
Developer: Gameloft Size: 69.5 MB
In Brief: This game is considered a must have for any football fans out there with an impressive range of teams, controls and options to manage the team. The graphics are good and the gameplay makes for a very entertaining game with great longevity.

This article was written by Rich Moore, a guest contributor.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Chip

    I have no use for the sport of soccer. Like baseball, it's like watching paint dry. But the brief moments of action are good watchin' and I always seem to grab their gaming versions and this one does not disappoint. It's great fun even though I suck at it as much as playing the real thing.

  • Bloc Party

    I'm assuming you're American Chip?

    I think Americans have a hard task grasping the passion of football (soccer as you call it) because generally you have short attention spans and require the instant gratification of games such as basketball and NFL.

    Anyway, on topic - great review Rich. This game is exactly what i was hoping the iPhone SDK would deliver one day. I'm just surprised at how early it came! Imagine what we will be seeing in a year.

  • Darwin

    Anybody can tell me how to choose a stadium when playing a cup/league/etc.? It seems it can only be done in the exhibition games.

  • James @ All About iPhone

    I love this game, but I would like to some kind of 'continuous run' option and certainly a 'tilt to run' option.

  • Lee Roberts

    "I think Americans have a hard task grasping the passion of football (soccer as you call it) because generally you have short attention spans and require the instant gratification of games such as basketball and NFL."

    I'm a highly educated Brit with a very long attention span, and I still agree that football is a poor spectator sport. That said, baseball isn't exactly a high scoring game either - I've only had the chance to attend one live game (Toronto Blue Jays vs Texas Rangers) and the score was 3-1, which would also be a pretty typical scoreline for a football match. Personally, I think the reason the football fan violence is such a problem is partly because it's such a frustrating game to watch!

  • blakespot

    @Block Party: I'm a yank and love "soccer". In fact it's basically the only sport I can tolerate. 🙂

  • Matt

    I'm an American (not a Yank, I'm from the south) and I am a big fan of both American football and soccer (a word brits invented btw). Anyone know if this game includes US' Major League Soccer also? or is it only euro teams?

  • SteveJ

    The players run up the field. They run down the field. They run up the field. They run down the field. They shoot and miss. Repeat. Every once in a blue moon somebody gets a goal and everybody goes wild for a short while, but not because of the goal which they all missed since they were reading the paper, rather because a player has taken their shirt off. Then the players run up the field and then down the field....

  • Jay21art

    I love this game, i think its well polished game, feels like a good Fifa game.
    I like what they did with adding different teams from different leagues in Europe. I was super surprise to see my favorite team from back home (Sporting Lisbon) in it. really great,
    only thing i dis-like is how they did the flags for the different teams...
    Why is the Spanish league flags cleaner then all the leagues and others ? That's the only thing that bugs me; hopefully with an update they could fix it i hope.

    As a football lover i give it 4 stars out of 5.

  • Bartig

    Well, it's certainly not PES or FIFA on your iPhone. The game basics and AI are far too rescicted to feel like the real thing. Of course, I didn't think to got some real football-action on my iPhone, but it still is a pain to see how the computer switches to the wrong players all the time, how some players do exactly the same moves at the same time and so on.

    Surpsrisingly enough: the way I scored looks quite much like the real thing on tv. And thus the game feels like football. Or soccer if you will. A fair beginning. Now let's have the real deal.


  • fishbert

    I'm just amazed at how great this game plays on the iphone... I never thought it would have the horsepower to run something like this.

    Best feature: you can disable sounds at the start and listen to your ipod audio (I wish more games would allow this).

    Worst features: I am really getting sick of daytime matches at Lombardo (the only option for league matches) and the d-pad leaves quite a large smudge spot from oils off your thumb.

  • Shane

    It took a bit of getting used to, but I've become obsessed. It's not perfect - the d-pad should be pushed more into the corner (my thumb covers players as they run to the ball!), and there are times that the AI players ignore the ball as it passes right in front of them, but otherwise, the game runs pretty fluidly, the moves look good, and the number of teams is great.

    Looking forward to an update - but happy until then!

  • dariusperkins

    SteveJ - When you go for a walk, do you ignore the scenery?

  • Mark


    Does anyone know what the colour arrows mean by the players name?

  • Posterized

    To the untrained eye, yes, football looks like people mindlessly running up and down, shooting occasionally, miss most of the times and go hectic a bit when they actually score. But to those who play/know the sport, you'll appreciate all the little intricate moves, passes, teamwork (emphasis added) ... ie the "beauty" of the game. Once you understand those even the 0:0 games could turn out to be the most exciting sports match you've ever seen.

    In that sense, Real Football does its job well for a mobile phone.

  • Silencio

    As of the 1.2 update, Dimitar Berbatov is now a member of Manchester United (Red).

  • StevieJames

    I have had this game for a while now and find that I am playing it heaps. The graphich are fantastic adn I love that you can score from a long way out of the box. I would love to see more statistics in the game i.e how many goals each of my players have scored throughout the league. Im not sure that I understand the player of the year screen either. I have won the EPL and scored alot of goals and have never featured in the top goal scorer of player of the year stat. Great game, but maybe more stats in the next version.

  • luca

    someone knows a trick to score penaltis? In the penalty game I\'m able to win, but the penaltis given to me during the game are impossible for me!

  • Anes


  • http://yahoo C.Ronlado

    manchester no. 1

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