Soccer, known as football outside of the U.S., is immensely popular, a fact evidenced in the video game world by the vast number of games that are available. Arcade soccer games and management sims are ridiculously popular, and you’ll find a large selection of them on Android.
So many, in fact, that you’ll have trouble separating the premier league from the Vauxhall Conference (or, in layman’s terms, the wheat from the chaff). Fortunately, we’ve done the hard work for you. Looking for some great association football games for your Android phone, tablet, or games machine? Look no further.
Soccer Arcade Games
There are, generally speaking, three types of soccer video games: arcade football, management, and puzzle/challenge games. Arcade football and management games hark back to the 8-bit days, with titles such as International Soccer, a cartridge game on the Commodore 64, and Football Manager by Kevin Toms on the Spectrum 48k. Puzzle or challenge games in the vein of Cut the Rope or similar are more recent developments of the mobile gaming era.
Fun and disposable, Stickman Soccer takes the Stickman gaming subgenre and gives it a thoroughly football-based twist. It doesn’t have the hardcore soccer atmosphere of FIFA, but you’ll still have fun playing.
While the free version is ad-supported, Stickman Soccer also has a paid option. As the ads are horrendously intrusive (wrecking a great free game) you should consider the paid option, which will set you back a fair $2. This will remove ads and unlock new features including teams and street soccer mode.
Although there’s an element of management in this game, it’s essentially a handheld version of the perennial arcade soccer favorite. With stunning graphics and intuitive gameplay, FIFA Mobile Soccer features online challenges and live events that often mirror real-world football.
Arcade soccer games can be tricky to pick up, however. You might prefer the more basic approach of Stickman Soccer, for example — it’s all about finding a game you feel comfortable with. FIFA Mobile Soccer offers various gameplay options that you won’t find with any of the other titles.
Claiming inspiration from Kick Off, Sensible Soccer, and Dino Dini’s GOAL!, Super Soccer Champs is a fun, basic, but oddly addictive arcade football game for Android. With a top-down view and an optional management mode, Super Soccer Champs offers leagues in England, Spain, Italy, Japan and others. There’s also the opportunity to rewrite history by taking your team into some historic tournaments.
What’s most impressive here is how the developers have captured the feel of the originals. While setting up a Bluetooth-compatible controller might improve how you play the game, Super Soccer Champs (which also has a free version) is nevertheless a great choice, and my personal favorite in this entire list!
Football Management Sims
Simulations of the life of a soccer coach or team manager are unbelievably popular and addictive. They’re essentially about statistics, and hardcore football management sim players spend hours of their day pouring over stats to make the decisions that they think will win a game.
Three great choices are available for any Android users who simply cannot leave the management sim at home on their PC.
One of the most successful video game franchises of all time, Football Manager made the switch to mobile devices with its 2015 release (we previously reviewed the 2014 desktop version). Now in 2017, the latest version puts you in charge of the biggest clubs in the world.
Your task is simple: attain survival and success for your team, manage your budgets, and buy and sell players. There is a wheeler-dealer aspect to everything, but real long-term success comes from investing in young players and developing them. It’s all here in Football Manager Mobile 2017!
The Football Manager team has a massive legacy in this field, having started out as the developers of the Championship Manager series back in the mid-1990s. As such, you can trust that they’re aiming to give you the best soccer club management simulation available.
The Championship Manager name lives on, however, and it’s doing quite well in the mobile space.
Boasting an endorsement from Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino, Championship Manager 17 offers a massive choice of clubs to manage. It’s highly unlikely that across 15 countries and 25 leagues, you won’t find your favorite among the 450 on offer!
More geared to generate cash for the developers than the other games listed here, Championship Manager 17 is nonetheless free to play. If that floats your boat more than parting with the cash up front, try it!
When I saw this particular title in the Google Play Store, I could barely believe my eyes. This is a near-perfect clone of the classic Amiga 16-bit title Player Manager, with the match engine based on Kick Off 2 for good measure. If you’re interested, Kick Off 2 is available for Windows via a packaged version of the WinUAE emulator.
For years, this was the top football management sim on all platforms (from around 1990 to 1993). Along with a precise tactics manager, the game also boasts 100 percent original player names.
This could be a problem for some, but it means that you come to the game without knowing who are the best and worst players. This fosters more research and discovery — as well as training and scouting — and is therefore (arguably) a more satisfying experience.
Finally, we have the puzzlers, soccer-themed challenges that force you to use the ball and players to overcome a scenario. Once this is done to a satisfactory level, you then move onto the next challenge, perhaps gaining a high rating in doing so. Surprisingly, these types of football game are proving popular, and offer a more casual approach.
The aim here is to score goals. No, really. But each challenge is increasingly tougher, ranging from penalty kicks to free kicks around a wall of players.
You’ll need to adjust how you strike the ball (by flicking your finger) in order to overcome each challenge.
Some funny-looking little guys are the subject of this game, which is highlighted in searches for “sensible soccer” style games. It isn’t one of those, however, but it is arguably the best of the puzzler games.
Interestingly, the game’s challenges (requiring one or more on-screen players) can be used as an educational tool to demonstrate to youngsters what type of balls should be played in specific goal-scoring opportunities. Useful!
A more arcade-style approach to the soccer puzzler, this involves some running and fast reactions to avoid tackles before you strike the ball. As such, this is a more demanding challenge, but the graphics are charming enough to keep you interested early on.
As with all puzzler games, it’s an intensive challenge that you can put down when you’re ready to get on with life.
These are our favorites, but what about yours? Which Android football/soccer titles would you add to this list? Are there any you think should be discarded? Leave me a comment and we’ll talk.
Image Credits: ideasbyme/Shutterstock