Game Reviews

Real Football 2013

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| Real Football 2013
Real Football 2013
| Real Football 2013

There's a lot of football snobbery around these days.

Whether it's Arsenal versus Stoke, Spain versus Italy, or Barcelona versus... anybody, there's a slightly smug notion that there's a right and a wrong way to play football. Football versus anti-football, if you will.

If that's the case, then Real Football 2013 is the cynical percentage-playing clogger of iOS footy games. It's virtually playing a different sport to the silky champion FIFA 13.

Money-grabbing mercenary

Like last year's Real Football 2012, the 2013 iteration adopts a freemium model. This time you take control of your favourite club team, though you start with a bunch of no-hopers and add the genuine stars as you progress.

You then play out a season, with the in-between sections closer to your average city-building grinder than FIFA. Resting players, improving facilities, purchasing new stars - all standard Career mode pastimes that here require in-game currency (and, pretty quickly, cold hard cash) to initiate.

It's a funny application of the freemium model, as footy game fans are typically quite hardcore about what they want from their games, while you can't imagine a casual FarmVille addict looking twice at Gameloft's soccer sim.

Of course, as numerous hallowed footy games from Sensible Soccer to the current Pro Evo have shown, you don't have to have all the licences or believable management elements as long as you play a compelling game of footy.

Real Football fails here too.

Sloppy pass

If Real Football 2013 were a football tactic, it would be the rudimentary hoof up the pitch - not so much in terms of its direct style, but in the way it fails to entertain the idea of anything more sophisticated or creative.

It's basic pass, dribble, and shoot stuff - only the passing is painfully stilted and sluggish, and dribbling is depressingly one-dimensional. There are a few skills you can pull off, but they're neither as advanced nor as intuitive as FIFA 13's virtual skill stick.

Crossing is a needlessly fiddly case of swiping up on the 'pass' button when you get to the byline, while shooting completely lacks subtlety - just run at an angle and hoof the ball for the best results.

Defending is the worst of the lot. You can either 'press' your opponent - which is often completely useless, with your player simply running alongside him ineffectually - and the terrible slide tackle, which completely removes your player from the game for what feels like five long seconds.

Losing streak

We can't think of a single type of footy fan that Real Football 2013 will please. If you're after a casual kickaround that offers instant thrills and none of the learning curve there are games like Flick Kick Football and even New Star Soccer that are easier to pick up and more fun.

If you're after full console-like kicks - complete with online play - meanwhile, then FIFA 13 is the undisputed king of the iOS hill.

Which leaves Real Football 2013 - tactically inept, cynically money-grabbing, and completely lacking in flair. It's headed for relegation for the second year in a row.

Real Football 2013

Real Football 2013 continues its losing streak with an ill-suited freemium model and some sloppy football action
Jon Mundy
Jon Mundy
Jon is a consummate expert in adventure, action, and sports games. Which is just as well, as in real life he's timid, lazy, and unfit. It's amazing how these things even themselves out.