Real Soccer 2009


The game has several modes-exhibition, penalty kicks, league, training, and cup--that allow players a varied level of gameplay. Exhibition matches can be set up in seconds and take only five minutes to complete--ideal for when you're on the subway and want a quick game. The tournaments require more of a time investment and offer greater strategic depth. In addition to controlling your players on the pitch, you also can pick your formations, substitutions, and tactics. Players tire and need to be rested, for example. Real Soccer has room for one saved game per tournament and will automatically save your furthest progress. So if you keep on losing to Italy in the quarterfinals, you can restart from your last victory without fear of having to start the tournament over.

You can see the stats on various players and teams, and even at the easiest settings, it'll be pretty obvious the difference in talent between the Brazilian national team and the LA Galaxy. Players have individual stats and some have pronounced skills like "power kicker" or "strong passer." It's hard to render player detail on such a small screen, but it's easy to recognize Rooney's silhouette compared to Ronaldinho's.

You can play with or without sound, but the soundtrack is surprisingly well-developed for an iPhone game. You'll hear some classic soccer cheers during matches and the crowd noise elevates when you get close to the opposing goal--a realistic detail soccer fans will love.

Real Soccer 2009 is compatible with any iPhone or iPod touch running the iPhone 2.x software update.

[Chris Holt is an assistant editor at Macworld. Do not bring up the result of this weekend's Aresnal-Stoke match.]