We'd like to believe it, but no, there's nothing sublime about the graphics.

If you want to occupy your metro journeys by putting a few goals in the air while waiting for the Euro 2016 games, we regret to announce that good football games on mobile phones are very rare. Overview of virtual lawns.

With Euro 2016 fast approaching, the kick-off of the first match – France-Romania – will be whistled on Friday 10 June at 9 p.m. sharp. At Numerama, determined to promote the love of football and team play, we have embarked on the tedious task of searching for good mobile games, perfect to wait for the start of the biggest football event of the year.

With the counter-current spirit and ability to find unknown nuggets that characterise it, my editor immediately suggested I try out FIFA 16, which I’m rushing to install to see what the mobile version of today’s best football game is worth. And frankly, it’s pretty successful.

Fifa 16: the must-have

The game is fluid and well done. I’m having a really good time. Unfortunately, there’s one drawback I found: mobile gaming doesn’t offer any other mode than Ultimate Team. In other words, if you were going to play a simple friendly game or play with your favourite team, that’s too bad. You’ll have to create your dream team from scratch. This is a great challenge and every new good recruit will satisfy your pride. But it also involves a lot of time, and FIFA 16 is proving to be a relatively time-consuming affair.

Apart from this important detail, the playing experience is very pleasant and realistic and it is therefore no surprise that I highly recommend this game to wait for the Euro, even if the “free-to-play” economic model encourages to buy players to gain quality on the field.

Be careful however to download the game via a wifi connection since it is heavy, even excessively heavy for those who are cramped in their smartphone: 1.4 GB.


What about other mobile football games?

This first test promises quality and fills me with hope and bonhomie. So I launched several queries to find the best free football games on Android… But the first results are disappointing.

Google Play Football Capture

From left to right we have Real Football 2012 with David Villa on the cover. You could always try to make me believe that you follow the Spanish striker’s performances at his New York City FC club every week, but I won’t be fooled. As the name suggests, the game is outdated, that’s a fact. The graphics in particular have aged badly.

The second one, Flick Shoot, is relatively entertaining but it is only a free-kick game. If, like us, you want to multiply passes, dribbles and anthology actions, you can pass your way.

The third, like the first, does not make you want to play at all. Frankly… In 2016, Colombian Radamel Falcao is anything but a selling point. We don’t even know when the last time the Chelsea player touched a ball. And I’m hardly exaggerating. No thanks, no Real Football 2013 (I still tested to see, but the controls are badly done and taking the ball from an opponent without making a mistake is a feat).

You could play it for hours but you won't be able to do an acrobatic comeback like this on Real Footbal 2013 as you'll still be looking for the button to centre.

You could play it for hours but you won’t be able to do an acrobatic comeback like this on Real Footbal 2013 as you’ll still be looking for the button to centre.

Disappointed but not downcast, so I go for the New Star Football test which has excellent comments. I quickly understand that he shows originality by integrating a large part of RPG in which you have to manage his level of happiness, his relationships with team-mates, the critics from the press and even his love relationship. There are even some mini-games that offer you to play roulette or Black Jack at the casino. This RPG side is so ubiquitous that the football part would almost take a back seat. On the field, I couldn’t help but yawn many times. You only take control over a few game actions and it’s not crazy at all. The rest of the game is just a series of texts summarizing the different actions. I don’t know about you, but that’s not really my idea of a football game…

But whatever the disappointments, I insist and keep looking. A little further down, I come across Dream League Soccer 16. The game’s not too bad. Loading times are fast and handling is relatively simple. Have I finally found a good mobile football game? No, not really. The game lacks fluidity, the players’ movements are far too robotic and artificial intelligence is in the toilet. You’ll agree, when the goalkeeper totally forgets that he’s supposed to take the ball from the opponent in a head-to-head, it’s raging.

Bland games

The reason why a selection of good mobile football games is almost irrelevant is that none of these games, apart from FIFA 16 which clearly benefits from EA’s experience, will thrill you. There isn’t one that can successfully capture the tension of a match, get the adrenaline pumping, let alone get you attached to your team. They’re all pretty bland and only manage to entertain for a few minutes. The same goes for graphics that aren’t beautiful enough to look realistic or retro enough to arouse nostalgia.

We'd like to believe it, but no, there's nothing sublime about the graphics.

We’d like to believe it, but no, there’s nothing sublime about the graphics.

Really none other than Fifa 16?

To tell you the truth, after FIFA 16, my favourite game is called Stickman Soccer 2016. He has the merit of not boasting about the realism of his graphics. Indeed, all the players look alike: a disproportionately round head, big eyes and a slender body. Without being difficult, the proposed challenge is big enough to be entertaining. The gameplay is simple, fast and fluid. And a nice little detail, a Euro 2016 mode is available. I’m currently in the quarter-finals with Belgium, ready to take on Northern Ireland,” he said. Once again, I would like to point out that the game is not realistic.

But I wouldn’t go so far as to recommend this game because if it stood out for me it’s essentially because it disappointed me less than the others. I might as well tell you that, at this point, my spirit had long since disappeared.

The main thing I learned from these tests is that making a good soccer game seems to be a particularly complicated task because one detail can ruin everything: a messed up AI, badly designed controls, stinging graphics or soft gameplay. So, to wait for the Euro, I preferred to organise a little five-on-five match with a few friends. And it was way more fun.