Not Just FIFA: Football Game Alternatives are an Online Trend

Referee Challenge
Image Source: Referee Challenge screenshot via mousebreaker.com

If you ever find yourself frustrated with FIFA, pessimistic about your PES performances, or even mad about your team hitting a losing streak in Football Manager, no matter which tactics you try, then it’s perhaps time to take a break for a little while and try something else. Admittedly, that might be difficult if you’re addicted to football, living and breathing the beautiful game every day.

If you can stray from FIFA but can’t stray from football, there are lots of other fun games to try which all feature the sport as their central theme. Some are offered by the leagues themselves, while others are interesting efforts from indie developers, amidst a growing trend of featuring football in some shape or form in online games.


Soccer Themed Mini-Games

For fans of Spanish football and stars like Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid, or Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona, La Liga has a variety of fun games and apps to keep its global audience busy between matches. Head Soccer lets you control your favourite players in La Liga, as you build your own team of La Liga stars, then shoot your way up the league. Head Soccer Heroes expands on that, as you assemble your team from Panini card packs, levelling up your characters and improving your players, innovatively combining puzzles and RPG elements in gameplay.

They’re always the subject of much argument and debate amongst football fans around the globe, but referees have always been central figures in the sport. We all think we could make better calls than the much-maligned “man in the middle” of matches, which is precisely the inspiration behind Referee Challenge from Mousebreaker. This is a fun little flash game where you get to make the refereeing decisions, after watching an interactive animation. Was it a goal? Was the player offside? Was it a foul? In this game, you make the calls and then your performance is tallied at the end. Are you as good a referee as you think?


The Strangest Games with a Soccer Ball

Believe it or not, popular British TV show Top Gear once featured a hilarious giant real-life “Car Soccer” game between teams of Volkswagen Foxes and Toyota Aygos, in one of its many entertaining episodes.

Modern footballers are finely-honed athletes these days, matching their technical talent with finely honed physiques. Therefore, if there are two sports you might struggle to imagine combining, they would perhaps be soccer and Japanese sumo wrestling. Nevertheless, that’s what the unusual flash game Soccer Sumos does in a most simple and enjoyable way. The beauty of this game is that you only use one button to control your rotund sumo soccer players as they stomp around the pitch. It can be quite tricky to do, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be scoring goals in no time.

Even when trying to avoid sports games completely and playing an entirely different genre, such as popular first-person shooters, it seems there’s no escape from soccer. Far Cry 2 is available on gog.com and Steam for retro gamers who missed this Ubisoft hit from 2008, which has aged well and still looks good ten years later. The developers hid various secrets and easter eggs for players to discover, and one Youtuber found a soccer ball and goal as they travelled around the huge sandbox world, which provided an amusing distraction from the habitual running and gunning gameplay. That poor football even survived AK47 and machete attacks!


Knowledge is Power!

For something a little more educational, then mrnussbaum.com will test your mathematics skills, using challenges of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. In this flash game, players pick their preferred international teams, then score goals from the penalty spot for every correct answer they provide. If you have a good head for numbers, no doubt you’ll quickly shoot your team all the way to the final and win the cup. Of course, you could craftily use a calculator at the same time, but where’s the fun in that? If highly-paid footballers use maths to work out their contract demands with such ease, so can we, having a bit of fun and scoring goals!

Speaking of testing your knowledge, if you really think you know everything there is to know about the sport, then jetpunk.com have a wide variety of football quizzes, where you can really show off what you know about players, teams, competitions around the world, or even obscure historical facts. One quiz has you guess all the UEFA Champions League winners since 1956, but you’ve only got four minutes to do it. Of course, it doesn’t take long to think of famous giants like Real Madrid or Manchester United, but thinking of teams that won the competition just once can be really tricky.

For some reading this article, English may not be their native language. If you’ve got this far and understood everything written, then you’ve done very well. Practice makes perfect for anyone learning English as a second language – also known as ESL. One such ESL learning resource offers a football-themed grammar game, to help students improve their understanding of present vs. past simple tenses. Choose from a weird and wonderful selection of famous faces to play in goal, such as Bill Gates or even William Shakespeare; whenever you answer correctly, take aim with your player and see if you can score.

ESL Grammar Game
Image Source: ESL Grammar Game screenshot via englishmedialab.com

There we have it! A selection of alternative games to try that all feature our favourite sport. Post your comments below and let us know if there are any fun little football-themed games you’ve discovered yourself.

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