App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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I’ve never been a big sports guy, especially not football (a.k.a soccer), but I do enjoy me some video games. So while I could care less about sitting in a bar watching The Game, I certainly wouldn’t mind playing a game. Especially if it’s fun. Journey to Real Madrid can certainly be fun, but it can also be a bit frustrating. Whether or not it’s worth it will depend on the individual.
Journey to Real Madrid isn’t like most of those other soccer/football games on the App Store. There are no teams, no management, no virtual sticks, and no real worries about acquiring sponsorships. Instead, players select one of three legends (Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil, or Zinedine Zidane) and work their way from children’s street ball up to the big leagues and beyond. The gameplay itself is simple enough to learn: tap and hold on the ball to charge up shot strength, then swipe to kick. The length and direction of the swipe will control the angle and path of the ball, while hitting preset targets and making consecutive goals will net more and more points.
It can be supremely satisfying to hook the ball around a defender and watch it hit an 8000-point target dead center with a 3X multiplier. I’ve even managed to build up a decent rhythm of victories after a bit of continuous play. There are also three other modes to jump into when in need of a break from the Journey: Sudden Death, Time Attack, and a collection of mini-games all meant to help players refine their techniques as well as earn some cash that can be used to upgrade the superstars with special abilities and the like.
The controls can be a tad irksome at times, what with the accidental curves and unintentional lobs, but a much bigger issue is the chugging. And I mean this game chungs. Pop-up ads between gameplay and the main menu lag when they appear as well as disappear. Victory and defeat screens stutter like crazy. Sometimes even goals and misses cause the game to skip around. It’s still playable, and it might just be an issue for older devices such as my 3GS, but that doesn’t make it any less obnoxious.
I can’t speak to how soccer/football fans will receive this game, because I’m not one, but even non-enthusiasts will have fun. Most of the time. I may not know who Zidane is, but I do know when I’m having fun, and I had a fair bit of it with Journey to Real Madrid.