Best Android sports games of 2012

by Larry Sullivan

I love watching baseball, basketball, football, soccer, on TV or the Internet. I only wish I could play them. Well I am pretty good when it comes to virtual sports, not sure if that counts. As we end 2012, I decided to look back at the sports games for Android that I really enjoyed, not listed in any particular order.

FIFA 12 by EA SPORTS ($6.99)

EA Sports is probably one of the most complete and realistic soccer games for Android with 22 officially licensed leagues, 500+ licensed teams and more than 15,000 players. You play the game from the third person point of view and control players via the virtual joystick and buttons. I have been playing this mostly on tablet but it plays fine on small screens, since the menu system does not take up a lot screen space.

FIFA 12 has a lot of different game modes. You can play the daily challenge, plus league and cup play. You can work on your skills in the practice arena or the penalty shoot-out. When playing a match, you can select uniforms, stadium, weather and even ball color. There are loads of in-game achievements to earn and even a trophy area for admiring your hardware. I found myself playing daily working on the challenges and see how well I can do on the different levels and teams. The game really makes you feel like you are at the stadium.

Virtua Tennis™ Challenge ($4.99)

I was on the tennis team in high school, as team manager that is! I grew up watching John McEnroe and company, so tennis is a sport I have enjoyed for years. Virtua Tennis Challenge is a fun tennis game for Android with excellent graphics and gameplay. The game comes with 18 different stadiums and courts to play on and up to 50 players to challenge. The gesture-based controls are relatively straightforward.

In the game you can play singles or doubles. You can also participate in SPT World Tour, Exhibition Matches, Multiplayer, Quick Match, and Training matches. I spent quite a bit of time training to master the best way to hit the ball. It take a bit of practice.To progress in the game, you need to play well and earn money which you can use to unlock new tournaments.

Top Eleven Football Manager (Free)

Top Eleven is a social, team management game that has been very popular on Facebook and worldwide. I really did not know what I was getting into when I started this game, but I play daily to improve my team. To date I have finished in 1st place once and 2nd place once. The app has been updated numerous times throughout the year, so gameplay is very similar to the Facebook interface. For new players, the game begins with a tutorial to cover the basics. This is a game for those who like the strategy and the details involved in managing a soccer team, since the computer plays the matches.

As this game is free and based in Facebook, there is a huge social aspect, as well as in-app purchases. In the game you create your own soccer team and “play” against other players in leagues, cups, champion leagues and/or friendly matches. As with any team sport, you will need to handle injuries, retirements, player morale and physical conditioning, salaries, contracts, signings. This is a game that you only need to play a little each day and to advance to the next level/season you need to finish in the top eight in the league each season. How good of a manager can you be?

Big Win Hockey (Free)

I played Intramural hockey in college and even skipped work one day to play. Big Win Hockey is another team management game where you build a team of players from a pack of hockey cards you collect. You initially get six players, one uniform, and three impact shots. You can edit your team name, players name, and more.

Once you have set up your team, then you get to see how well they do against others online.The key to doing well is of course building or creating the best team possible. It is very much a strategy game as you do not play the games, the computer handles that. Depending on how well you do, you will earn coins and tokens, which can be used to purchase additional player or skill cards to improve your team. The game is free, but you can also purchase game bucks (to purchase premium cards) via in-app purchases. The fun of the game comes with trying to develop the best players and then seeing how well they play.

Super Stickman Golf (Free)

I enjoy golf but have never been very good on the greens. One of my favorite golf games for Android is  the popular iOS game Super Stickman Golf. This physics-based golf game is just fun to play. Gameplay is pretty simple. At each hole, you first adjust your shot’s angle with the appropriate on screen arrows. When you are ready, simply hit Go and then select the power of the shot.

The game has three difficulty settings and a number of courses under each setting. The courses have to be played in order to unlock new ones. You can do practice rounds if you need to improve your game. There are over 30 courses and 280 holes to play. As you play, you can earn golf bux to unlock power ups or you can get them via in-app purchases. The game also has close to 40 achievements to earn. The graphics and background music make for a fun, arcade game.

So are you a sportsman? Have one on your Christmas list? These are just a few of the neat sports game available on Android. Which sports do you follow or play?

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