As dependable as a sturdy Stoke back line or a Mourinho press conference, FIFA has returned for another year. This time however, it's been given a radical overhaul – so can the king of football apps hold on to its title?
If you think that you know FIFA inside out, then think again – as FIFA 14 is unlike any previous mobile version of the EA Sports giant. Most significantly, there's been a rethink of the controls, with two options for controlling your starting eleven. While you can still opt to use the on-screen control pad in the conventional way, there's now a purely touch-screen option which involves tapping around the screen to pass and swipe gestures to slide and shoot. The results are mixed, and while it's initially a fun novelty, we soon found ourselves getting frustrated with our lack of control over the game.
To its credit, at least you have the option to change to the other control set, and what's more – you can get to know both of them in a fully-functional free demo. In fact, depending on which game modes you want to use, there might not be any reason to pay for FIFA 14 at all, with a £2.99 freemium version locking away just the 'Tournament', 'Manager' and 'Kick Off' modes. If you're just looking for a bit of kick about, then, you can do so at no cost at all and even compete online.
Otherwise, it's business as usual for FIFA 14, which still looks the part and has the usual fully licensed sheen. It's easy to take for granted just how good FIFA is when we're faced with a new game every year, but at least this time they've tried something different. As a result, the faults are more apparent, but the future could be bright.
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THE BOTTOM LINE
The new ideas flowing through FIFA 14 don't all work, but the very generous freemium offering at least gives everyone the chance to try it out. Hopefully next time they'll be able to perfect the control system.
Current version: 1.2.9
Requires Android: 2.3.3 and up