|System: DSi, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Gameloft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Gameloft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 11, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
On an extremely positive note, there are a ton of sport-appropriate game modes that get serious fans into the mood. Other than simple exhibition matches, players can also take on cup and league modes. Cup mode will let you choose from various analogs to the World Cup, Euro, Champions League, a fusion between Gold Cup and Copa America, Asian Cup, and African Nations competitions.
In league mode, players can choose from English, Italian, Spanish, German, French, and international leagues. These are standard home and home scheduling with league standing support. Best of all, trophies can be garnered by becoming the champion in each of the league and cup events. This provides at least some impetus to get through all of the modes and get away from your favorite league and cup competitions.
Topping it off, the single-player options are nicely backed up by a local multiplayer mode that supports up to four-player competitive and cooperative play. However, the multiplayer does require each participant to download the game, as there is no demo version available via Download Play. Nevertheless, at $8, the game is cheap enough for all of your soccer-crazed friends to purchase it. That being said, I was surprised to see there is no Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection support for true multiplayer online play. In fact, this was quite disappointing; the lack of online play brings the game down from a nearly perfect entry to merely a great one. Of course, a great game for less than 10 bucks is certainly in the realm of must-buy, regardless.
I was a bit worried by the first few releases to hit DSiWare, but Real Soccer 2009 has proven to be a true boon to the service. If loads of premium, bargain titles like this continue to drop, the DSi could extend this generation of handhelds for another several years.
CCC Editor / News Director