There is more or less a universal agreement that the FIFA franchise is at the top of the football video gaming world.
Certainly there have been other great games from time to time, and there are still some who would take versions of PES over their FIFA counterparts. But the leading franchise is at this point unassailable. It has the most in-depth game modes, the most exhaustive collection of players and franchises, the best multiplayer options, and the most realistic gameplay. We even use the FIFA franchise to run simulations, which speaks to how sophisticated and trustworthy the games really are.
Having paid proper respect to FIFA though, there are times when any football fan might want to try something different, or enjoy a simpler game for a little while. And with that in mind we decided to give our thoughts on some of the best non-FIFA football games available in 2020.
Football Manager 2020
FIFA itself has some excellent management components, but some fans like the idea of a simplified manager game that can be played more casually. For that, Football Manager 2020 is about as good as it gets. Available on multiple platforms, the game puts you in the shoes of a professional manager, controlling everything from player development to tactics on the pitch. Understandably, this top-level management simulator has become extremely popular; recently, PC Gamer revealed that when Football Manager 2020 was made free on the Epic Games store, it quickly gained one million new players! Give it a shot if you have not already, you’ll likely understand why.
Score! World Goals
It’s almost difficult to describe this game. It’s not your typical football gaming challenge, and yet there’s something oddly captivating about it. Basically, Score! World Goals is a mobile experience that recreates important and famous moments from football history. Your job — using your finger to swipe across your mobile screen — is to successfully bring the moments back to life. Inventive and surprisingly challenging, it’s a great way to tap into your love of the sport through a fairly casual gaming experience.
Football: Champions Cup Online Slot
Like Score! World Goals, this is an unconventional football game. In this case though, that’s because it’s basically set up as an online gambling arcade for football fans who happen to enjoy the slots on occasion. The Tuxslots platform hosts the game and characterises it as “a well-crafted football-themed video slot” that includes penalty shootouts. That basically says it all. This is a light-hearted slot arcade with football-related symbols and backgrounds, but one that’s enhanced by bonus opportunities that come in the form of penalty kicks. In other words, this is a chance to improve gambling success via football gameplay, which makes it a fun option for a lot of people.
Flick Kick Football Legends
Not enough great things can be said about this game, which is another mobile option, and one that operates via a similar swipe-based control system to that in Score! World Goals. Rather than relying on licensed material or incomplete player rosters (as some other mobile titles do), Flick Kick Football Legends presents a cartoon version of vaguely ‘70s-style professional football. You collect players, make your way through a somewhat strange management plot line, and play matches. All the while you earn achievements that lead to better players, more difficult leagues, and more challenging gameplay. The drawback is that it’s a bit of a grind to assemble a strong club, but you’ll absolutely have fun in the process.
We mentioned PES above, but just in case you’re looking for more of a full-fledged console football experience as an alternative to FIFA, we wanted to highlight a specific edition. There are several good ones, but we have to agree with GiveMeSport, which ranked this among the very best in the series. It’s a polished, well-rounded experience with gameplay that was well ahead of its time. Additionally, while the ranking we just cited listed 2013 as the best game in the series, we’d point to 2006 specifically because it’s a little older. If you’re going to reach back towards the PES glory days, you may as well go back far enough that the differences in players and clubs won’t bother you. In other words, playing PES 2013 might still feel like an outdated game compared to present day football; playing PES 2006 will feel more like you’re intentionally going back to a different era of modern football.
Hopefully a few of these selections become some of your new favourites! You can’t go wrong with FIFA, but for the sake of variety these are all worth a good long look.