APP OF THE DAY: Soccer iCon Pro review (iPad / iPhone)

Among many of the benefits derived from the Pocket-lint team appearing on The Apprentice last night is the fact that, as our App of the Day section was featured so prominently, we've not been short of an app suggestion or thousand since. And while we trawl our way through all of them, one or two have immediately stood out for swift inclusion,

For example, with the FA Cup Final between Man City and Stoke being held this Saturday, it's good timing to send us a football app. It also helps if it's as interesting and different as this one...

Soccer iCon Pro

Format
iPad 2 / iPad / iPhone / iPod touch
Price
£1.79p
Where
iTunes (iPad 2 / iPad), iTunes (iPhone / iPod touch)

Soccer iCon Pro is not like your average football game. In fact, you never even get to kick a ball, in anger or otherwise.

Instead, this simulation game puts you in charge of a young footballer who you must guide from park footy all the way up to the professional leagues and ultimately European and International glory, accumulating as much wealth, such as 20 bedroom mansions, along the way.

Indeed, the developer, Stas Sports, told us that it "is basically a football tamagotchi", and while it's far more complex - and entertaining - than that, it does hint at the core gameplay.

Your footballer has different statistics which can be manipulated up (and down) by performing certain actions, such as train, eat, sleep, etc. And every so often there's a goal (pardon the pun) to meet. You start out on the streets, literally, and first up will be offered a chance to take part in a kick around in the park. Then, if your stats are good enough, a place in a five-a-side team. And so on and so forth.

However, it's not as simple as training to improve your statistics and resting to gain more energy to train again. As a time management game, there are only so many hours in the day, and each action you perform sucks away at them. Plus, a social and romantic life must be balanced in order to keep your dinky avatar happy. Very soon you realise that things can be hard to juggle, and you'll find that you'll be starting again, maybe even before making it as a pro.

In addition, with each stage of your career, the amount of things you have to keep an eye on increase, with managers and agents becoming part of the fun, and with greater demands your player's skills. It's not an easy game by any stretch of the imagination, but it is incredibly addictive.

We'd even put its addictiveness on a par with Game Dev Story as, like with that title, you'll have to restart several times before you find the correct balance between all the different actions.

Incidentally, there are minor aesthetic differences between the iPad (tested here) and iPhone versions, but that's just in the way the screens are laid out - they play identically. But it is worth noting that the free Soccer iCon, which can also be found on the App Store, is a cut down version of Soccer iCon Pro, although you can subsequently upgrade it to the paid version via an in-app purchase if you like it.

And we're confident that you will.

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