The best soccer on iOS
What you get for your cash is an excellent "football" game. FIFA 14, like its predecessor, has beautiful graphics with high frame rates, crowds that cheer you on with chants and soccer songs, and excellent animations and physics as you work your way to the goal. It's also got tons of customization, letting you tweak the controls, change camera views, and adjust just about every setting within the game itself. Play long or short matches, toggle offsides calls and injuries, and choose from five difficulty levels.
Even within a single game there's room to choose various jerseys for every team and pick from tons of different ball styles for the exact look you want.
Choose your controls
Once you're on the pitch, you have one more decision to make and it's an important one: controls. The game defaults to a touch-screen control system that, while mostly effective, will be a little strange for people used to playing with controllers. With these controls, your players move mostly on their own, and you touch teammates to pass to them and use other swipes to control your players and take shots on the goal. I found the touch screen mode to be limiting, so I switched back to classic mode with an onscreen gamepad and buttons and it is definitely my preferred way to play. You may prefer the more hands-off approach, but I think you get a lot more control with the classic layout.
Game modes aplenty
The free version lets you play in Ultimate Team, penalty kicks, and online matches. The Ultimate Team mode has you choose from four popular team captains, then puts together a team of stars that you'll be able to customize as you earn money while playing. But once you pay for FIFA 14, you'll be able to play in tournaments where you can pick your favorite team and climb to the top by working your way through the tournament tree. You also can play a manager mode where you'll shape the team, manage the team budget, make trades, and either simulate or play in each game. FIFA 14 has a surprising amount of content for a mobile game, making it almost on par with console versions.
One small problem
This was also in true in FIFA 13, but it's still an annoyance in the latest version. For specific types of situations, you can only use swipe controls to kick the ball. Corner, goal, and penalty kicks require that you aim your player then swipe to kick the ball. The problem is that the swipe isn't nearly as precise as using the regular kick controls and you'll end up making bad kicks as a result. I dug through all the settings to see if I could get rid of the swipe controls completely, but there doesn't seem to be an option. To make precise passes, you can touch the player who you want to receive the ball, but I really wish I had the option to power-up my own shot or pass for more control in these situations.
Even with the one control issue, FIFA 14 is another fantastic game in the franchise with enough new features (and already great gameplay) to make it worth your money. If you've never played the game before, the freemium option gives you a chance to try it out, but I recommend that any soccer fan pay the $4.99 to have all the features of this excellent soccer game.