Best soccer alternatives in a post-FIFA world

Best soccer alternatives in a post-FIFA world

March 28, 2023

2023 marks the end of an era for fans of sports gaming the world over. Games and game franchises come and go – Brian Lara Cricket is a case in point. But FIFA is to sports video games what the Rolling Stones are to rock music.

The first FIFA game came out in 1993 for the Sega Saturn and Mega Drive. FIFA 2023 came out last September, and will be the last of the line now that EA Sport and FIFA have brought their cooperation to a close. Yes, EA will continue to release soccer games, and they will almost certainly be top sellers, but they won’t be FIFA.

One downside to FIFA’s complete global domination of the soccer video gaming market is that many soccer fans have had little inclination to explore alternative options. 2023 could be the perfect time to put that right, so here, we explore some diverse games that might just make you see soccer gaming in a new light.

Pro Evolution Soccer is the best-known FIFA alternative

Ask any soccer enthusiast to suggest an alternative to FIFA and they will probably say Pro-Evolution Soccer. First launched in 2001, it has not been around quite so long, but who knows, we might be here celebrating its silver anniversary in 2051!

Konami rebranded it eFootball and went digital-only in 2021, in a move designed to bring the game into the 2020s and differentiate it from FIFA. The question of which is better is one that will continue to run and run when EA sports launches its FIFA replacement. Of course, there is no definitive answer, but the general wisdom is that PES, or eFootball, takes a little more time to master, but delivers a more realistic experience for those who are prepared to put in the effort.

Either way, it is free to play, so there is nothing to lose from giving it a try for yourself.

Football Manager will appeal to the strategists

Some would argue that Football Manager dates back even longer than FIFA. The first version of the game was created by British developer Kevin Toms way back in 1982, and although today’s version is not a direct descendent, both the title and the basic premise are unchanged.

Unlike FIFA and PES, there is no arcade-style action to master here. It’s just a matter of selecting your team, managing budget, training and new signings and then sitting back to watch the action.

You can try it out in free demo mode, which gives you six in-game months, and you can transfer your progress if you decide to buy the full game. Be warned, it is super-addictive, as 40 years of players can testify!

Football Star Deluxe – the soccer pokie loved by Australians

We mentioned FIFA’s global appeal, and it is a game that has topped the charts over the years even in nations where soccer is not a top sport. Australia is a case in point, and while cricket and Aussie Rules Football are the preferred sports to play for real, Aussies tend to prefer a real money casino challenge when it comes to online games.

Pokies are the games of choice, which is the Australian term for slot games, and Football Star Deluxe is one of the leading titles for players perusing top payout guides for the best online casino payouts. Developed by Microgaming, one of the biggest game studios in the casino niche, this is an enhanced version of the classic Football Star game that first came out way back in 2014. This updated version was released to coincide with Euro 2020.

The game features a 5×5 grid with adjustable paylines. A host of special features including a Gold Cup bonus game, free spins game and a multiplier trail mean there is always something happening, so there is more to this game than just watching soccer-themed symbols spin on reels and hoping for the best.

Mario Strikers takes soccer to strange new places

Like some of the other games we have looked at, Mario Strikers is a FIFA alternative that has no pretentions for competing with FIFA, and instead approaches soccer video gaming from its own angle. This one is quite different from Football Manager and Football Star Deluxe, too – in fact it is uniquely Mario!

Any apparent similarities to traditional soccer are purely coincidental as players put traditional Mario features like banana skins and turtles to their best use. The refereeing is also in a different league, and players are encouraged to use as much force as possible in tackling the opposition.

Mario is a franchise that has been part of the video gaming world since the 1980s, but every new game feels like a breath of fresh air. Mario Strikers only came out a few months ago and is no exception.

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