There are two areas where Gameloft's Real Football franchise has excelled of late: an obsession with making passing the backbone of the game, and a desire to make the matches as colourful and full of life as possible. Seriously, even Serie A with its massive flags and flares has nothing on Real's matches in terms of pure vim.
Real Football 2010 keeps and, in some areas, builds on these strong foundations. Once again, it's an especially playable affair, with most of the play reliant on your ability to pass the ball.
It's exceptionally easy to do so, too, with yellow icons above each player's head letting you know just when they're ready for the ball. The '5' key sends the ball in their direction, while a double tap sets up a quick one-two.
Shooting is similarly straightforward, yet often spectacular. A sliding gauge behind the goal gives you the chance to choose the direction of your shot, pressing the '0' key to determine just when you strike the ball.
Though tricks, via '*', are also an option for the proficient, almost anyone can indulge themselves in an entertaining and high scoring match within minutes. A short and sharp tutorial before your first match highlights exactly what's what.
Tackling has been smartened up since the last release, with slide tackles now a last resort. Pressuring the opponent in possession with the '5' key usually does the trick instead.
Though Real Football is still without official licenses (real players make the line-up, but the likes of Everton are replaced by 'Merseyside' and Man City 'Manchester Blue'), team names can actually be altered in 'Editor' mode, and this year's release also has plenty of modes to keep you fixed to your phone. It's seriously packed.
Standard League and Cup runs for both club and country are joined by Enter the Legend, which lets you play through a season as one player, Club Master, which gives you a crack at management, and RF League, which lets you play for points in order to move you up an online global league.
The only downside of such variety in play is that not all of the modes seem to have been given the attention they deserve. Enter the Legend suffers in particular. The view is fixed on the ball rather than the player, which makes it hard to position yourself appropriately.
It's a variation on play that, overall, could have done with some extra work, some generally sloppy moments essentially taming what is in all other areas a world beater.
That said, simply kicking off in Friendly mode may be enough for many football connoisseurs. The matches themselves may not be the deepest affairs, but Real Football has always known how to make the most out of the mobile without pushing it too far.
By cleaning up some of its past misdemeanours and serving up a package with more modes than you can shake a fist at, Real Football 2010 may already have an unassailable lead over its rivals this year before they've even set foot on the pitch.