If soccer really is the beautiful game, then you won’t find a refutation of that idea in FIFA Mobile. EA’s latest and perhaps most streamlined attempt at turning its mega-hit FIFA console franchise into something more suitable for playing in smaller chunks and on the go looks fantastic and is simple enough for anyone to play.
In fact an argument can be made that it actually oversimplifies soccer, which is a case we made in our review. Nevertheless, it’s got all the bells and whistles one would expect, including all the best known players and clubs from around the world, and thus is going to be how many people get their mobile soccer fix.
If you’re one of them, welcome. We’ve been playing quite a bit of FIFA Mobile, so while our skills on a real life pitch remain questionable, our knowledge of the sport in this form is much less so. With that in mind, take a spin through our FIFA Mobile Tips, Cheats and Strategies to take your game to the next level.
Two Ways to Play
While we’d argue that FIFA Mobile still doesn’t quite deliver a console quality experience in terms of its actual match play, at least it gives you two viable options for controlling your team. The first and most basic way is to let the AI control where the players move when they have the ball, with you stepping in to use taps and swipes when necessary.
Your team will operate this way by default. The important things to remember here are how to pass and shoot. Passing can be done by either tapping on a player without the ball, in which case the current player will get it to him by ground or air, depending on the distance, or by tapping on a spot on the pitch to play a pass into space.
To shoot, you simply start on the player with the ball and swipe toward the goal, with the speed of the swipe controlling the shot’s power and the direction of it controlling … well, the direction of the shot. This is a little trickier than passing but still not too difficult overall, and you should get the hang of it quickly.
The alternative is to use a virtual stick and button combo. The stick is used to direct the player’s movement, while the buttons have context-sensitive roles on offense and defense: pass (blue), sprint & skill (green) and shoot (red) while attacking, and switch (blue), sprint & tackle (green) and slide (red) while defending.
One very important thing to remember is that the stick and buttons override the tap controls, so as soon as you are on the stick, that’s in control. However, you can use a combination of the two; for example, using the stick to dribble and then tapping on a teammate to pass.
Most of all, never forget that if you don’t give your players some input, they’re going to do what they want. Sometimes that may be beneficial when you are just starting out and getting a feel for the game, but allowing the AI to be in control when close to goal is almost always a bad idea, one that will lead to goalkeepers claiming the ball many times without your side even getting off a shot.
Know Your Game Modes
FIFA Mobile has several different ways to play soccer, each of which draws from a common pool of Stamina. That means making some decisions about what to tackle in any given session, which is why it’s helpful to know what each mode is about.
- Live Events – Familiar to anyone who’s played Madden Mobile, Live Events are quick challenges that you can complete to earn coins, XP and collectibles. The selection changes constantly, with each event only around for a certain amount of time before it’s replaced by another. The good news is that you’ll always find something that’s live no matter when you log in. And yes, we’ve played in the middle of the night to verify that.
- Attack Mode – This is the asynchronous multiplayer mode, and is unusual enough to go into in more detail. Suffice it to say that you play half a match controlling only those times your team has the ball, trying to score as many goals as you can. Then your opponent takes a turn, playing a half against your defenders (controlled by the AI but following your tactics). The process then repeats for the second half. Winning matches in Attak Mode earns you fans, allowing you to progress to higher tiers that offer greater rewards for a victory.
- Season – Exactly what it sounds like, Season mode allows you to pick from a number of real life leagues to test your skills and your own squad against their clubs. It starts out fairly difficult right off the bat, so you’ll probably want to build your team up to an overall rating of at least 70 before jumping into a Season.
While not a separate mode per se, you’ll also unlock the ability to start or join a League. This is a group of up to 32 players, ensuring you can always challenge someone you (sort of) know to a friendly Attack Mode match, as well as participate in League Championships and Tournaments against other Leagues.
The Mystery of Team-Building
It’s probably not going to be a surprise to learn that FIFA Mobile wants you to start with players of modest talent and continually improve your squad using a card-based system. That’s a core element of many sports games these days.
What might startle you is how many players you need to round out your team. Forget a starting XI, you’ll want 27 players in order to field a proper squad with all options available to you.
Why? It has to do with the formations and tactics and how they work as you unlock them. You’re able to choose from Attacking, Balanced and Defensive tactics for Attack Mode or Season matches, with more of them available as you level up. But FIFA Mobile requires you to have players who fill specific positions to utilize those tactics — no playing anyone out of position here.
It’s somewhat liberating in the sense that you don’t have to pick a 4-4-2 and be stuck with it until you acquire more players. But it’s also very limiting since it will probably take some trial and error on the ‘My Team’ screens before you figure out which of your players will take the pitch in which formations.
As for how you add more players to your side, you’ll win some in Live Events, buy others in packs from the in-game Store — either using coins or ‘FIFA Points’ you’ve bought as an IAP — win them in auctions from fellow players, and via one more method we’ll discuss in the next section.
The Man (or Woman) with the Plan
Throughout your time playing FIFA Mobile, you’ll earn collectibles that are used in Plans — essentially sets you need to complete. Some Plans yield rarer collectibles for other Plans, while others reward you with players, coins or special packs. Players may also be used in some Plans, giving you a way to make use of athletes you find surplus to requirements.
A comprehensive overview of Plans is too big to get into here, especially since EA changes them up over time. The important thing to note when you are first starting out is where to find them: by tapping ‘Plans’ from the main navigation, appropriately enough.
You can use the tabs at the top to cycle through different types of available Plans, most of which are repeatable. That is, if you can collect the proper requirements, you can turn them in again for the same rewards.
The ‘Recommended’ tab is a good place to start, since it features Plans for which you have already acquired some of the necessary collectibles. You can tap on any Plan to see what you need to finish it off, then simply drag any eligible players or collectibles into any spot that lights up. if you change your mind, you can regain a player or collectible already in the Plan just by tapping on it.
Not sure about the reward for a given Plan? Just tap on the ‘i’ icon in the upper-right corner of the screen. You’ll see a pop-up that explains exactly what you’ll receive upon completion.