The official European Soccer leagues start this month in August and for most soccer fans, the fun starts again.  A new season of weekend action lies in stored.  For those of us that couldn't wait - like me - I spent some time watching the FIFA Womens World Cup, which was pretty fun.  But most other days, what kept me in touch was Electronic Art's (EA) FIFA 11 App.

EA managed to get licensing from most of the FIFA sanctioned leagues, so you can play virtual soccer matches from the English Barclay's Premier League to the Korean Hyundai A League if you wanted to.

Firstly, as far as playing soccer games for the iPad go, it is pretty difficult to place enough controls for one human player to play 11 players on the virtual soccer pitch.  However, FIFA11 made the usual compromises to make the game enjoyable.  The 3 main controls are Shoot, Pass and Through when you are on the ball and Slide, Tackle and Switch when you are defending.

There are some additional aspects to controlling the game beside the standard 3 buttons.

1. Sliding your finger across the screen to curve the ball

2. Telling your team-mates to run forward by pushing them forward directly with your finger onto the screen

3. Activating unique 'skill moves' by double-tapping a player


These little tricks contribute to the added dimension of control.  That being said, I found it a bit difficult using those onscreen controls with both hands already on the screen (Left on Joystick, and Right on action buttons).

What is different from the console version is possibly the lack of detailing of the players when they do close ups, however that is understandable.  But what this app lacked in detail it made up for fluidity and quite solid animation.  Movements were pretty lifelike which provided for a somewhat realistic gaming experience.

The game was customization from with the Starting 11 to the Team Formation, which was pretty important if you want to play anywhere beyond the BEGINNER Level.

It took a while for me to get used to the controls and the pace of making my players pass, tackle or shoot.  But once I got the knack of it, I managed to string some decent passes and make some shots on goal, and that was when the game got more interesting for me.

I am past beginner stage and at the Amateur level (one level above Beginner).  The levels of difficulty carry on to Semi-Pro, Pro and finally World Class.  I am stuck at Amateur and foresee myself prodding slowly along the English League for quite a while longer.

Nonetheless this game does the trick for me with great animation, pretty seamless game play and nice commentary.  Just enough to get my fix of soccer during the off season, or just to while some time away.

FIFA 11 is available for the iPad at $10.99 ($6.99 for some non-US Stores).  For those of you that like the challenge of the iPhone version its $2.99 ($0.99 for some non-US Stores)


The original post was published here: Review: FIFA 11 for iPad