Real Soccer 2009 iPhone Review

Gameloft is one of the few companies that charge $9.99 for iPhone games, and 10 bucks almost always gets you an attractive app that plays great and features lots of options, Real Soccer 2009 being no exception. It's a 3-D soccer game with PSOne quality graphics, user-friendly controls and lots of options, making it not only a great pickup for soccer (err...football) fans, but also anyone that wants a cool sports game and a visual showpiece for their iPhone.

On the field, Real Soccer 2009 is a stunner, with 3-D players from 198 different teams running around 12 stadiums, complete with weather effects (fine, rain and snow). Players animate wonderfully, sprinting across fields and performing various maneuvers, such as the step over, flip flap and the Marseille roulette. Meanwhile, the game's audio includes chanting, cheering and the familiar "GOALLLLLLLLL" noise whenever someone scores.

How you execute moves makes the game even more interesting. Instead of programming difficult motion controls, Gameloft went with a simple touch screen setup with a d-pad and A (shoot) and B (pass) buttons along the bottom of the screen. So, to maneuver your players, you'll guide your thumb across the d-pad and press those respective buttons, but Real Soccer 2009 is much deeper. Double tapping a direction on the d-pad makes your selected player sprint, you can fake a shot by pressing A while dragging your finger right and double tapping B executes a one-two pass, and that's just scratching the surface. There are a wealth of offensive and defensive moves, and the game has a helpful list in the Settings menu.

As expected, these controls take some getting used to. They work fine, but it's still too easy to accidentally remove your thumbs from the buttons because you're watching the action on the field. On top of that, it doesn't provide the accuracy of a real d-pad, which offers more precision button presses. We're also not too keen about applying pressure to our touch screens, though the odds of cracking the glass seems unlikely.

In addition to Exhibition matches, you can win cups, enter leagues, practice your penalty kicks and train. Once you choose an option, you select a team, each of which has real-world players. The game also lets you change team uniforms, set the length of the games (five, 10 or 15 minutes), difficulty (easy, medium or hard), the stadium, weather, day/night and rules. From there, you can make substitutions as well as change your formation, so if you don't want to go with a 4-4-2-A, you can switch to a 4-5-1-C or a 4-5-1-B. You can even change player positioning by dragging one of their respective icons around the field with your finger.

All of this makes Real Soccer 2009 one of the most comprehensive and enjoyable iPhone sports games. Its slick interface, 3-D graphics and easy to learn and addictive gameplay make it a must buy, especially since Gameloft plans to include a multiplayer mode with the next update. So head to the app store and kick your $9.99 into the net. Real Soccer 2009 is sweet.

What's Hot: PSOne quality graphics, good touch screen controls, 198 teams, real world players, 12 stadiums, weather effects, crowd noise, replays, numerous options, modes and moves.

What's Not: Controls not as accurate as a tangible d-pad, no multiplayer mode (next update fixes this).

4/5