This is our first ever roundup of the best sports games on iPhone. The list was compiled with the help of all the editors at GamePro (as well as some of our trusty freelancers), whose taste in sports games range from hyper realistic ball physics and baseball stats to fiery basketballs and super-powered soccer players. Whether you're a hardcore sports fan looking for mobile versions of the simulations you know and love from home consoles, or more of an arcade gamer looking for quick and fun fix on the App Store, you're sure to find something to love in our list of the best 10 sports games on the iPhone.
10 | Madden 12
Madden 12 is arguably the most comprehensive and best-looking American football game to ever grace the mobile platform. With full playbooks, realistic physics, the ability to audible and create hot-routes, and the likeness of real players and teams, Madden 12 is dripping with authenticity. While dedicated console football fans will find it a bit de-tuned, it's intuitive interface and ability to be picked up by just about anyone makes it a great entrance into the series.
9 | NFL Rivals
NFL Rivals is an official NFL re-skinning of NaturalMotion's Backbreaker games. It's essentially a series of score-based training drills where you run around a football field either scoring touchdowns, or tackling a ball-carrier while avoiding various obstacles, tacklers or blockers.
The controls are simple with quick taps allowing you to juke, spin or showboat around the field, but the depth comes from the continual addition of new challenges and a 3-star rating system that encourages you to pursue new tactics for better scores.
While it's far from a Madden-esque simulation, NFL Rivals is a sports game that scratches the 'just one more round' itch very well.
8 | Flick Soccer!
Flick Soccer! is a free kick game where you use a well-timed, well-weighted flick of the finger to "kick" a ball and try to score goals. Depending on how you flick, and indeed how you "after-touch" the ball with an additional swipe while it's in flight, you can shoot with the accuracy of a Brazilian dead-all specialist -- assuming you practice enough.
The game packs a bunch of different mini-game challenges, including such things as shooting at ever-shrinking targets, and trying to score against an increasingly challenging keeper and defensive wall. They're all fun, thanks to the fact that the flick-to-kick mechanic is absolutely brilliantly weighted. Its beauty is in its simplicity -- it doesn't take very long to get the general hang of the kick mechanic and start knocking in the goals, but the amount of finessing you're able to do allows you to gain a mastery of the game that is truly satisfying.
7 | FIFA 2012
FIFA 12 on iPhone is a very solid soccer simulation in the palm of your hand, with plenty to do including daily challenges, quick-matches, and a fairly robust manager mode.
The virtual sticks and buttons are surprisingly effective and positioned so they don't get in the way of the on-field game. The gesture controls are there to help fine-tune the experience, like helping you get past defenders with a quick double-tap to maneuver the ball, or a swipe up to chip your shots. It's easily one of the best simulation sports games on the iPhone.
6 | iOOTP Baseball 2011
For some sports fans - especially the more nerdy, stat-analyzing baseball fans who treat Moneyball like the holy scriptures - the actual action of sports is secondary to the information to be gleaned by poring over spreadsheets of the results. For them, there are games like Football Manager, which is very popular amongst European football fans. But for baseball freaks, there is only one solution: iOOTP. OOTP stands for "Out Of The Park" baseball, and the incredibly deep series of baseball management sims has been around since the late 90's, so the core text-based game is pretty well refined by now. Moving to the iOS platform seems like a perfect move, since checking on your team and making some roster moves can be a great 5-10 minute diversion. Don't let the platform fool you though: iOOTP is for serious, hard core baseball stat nerds. Flick Home Run fans should not apply.