The best football games 2023

If you fancy a kickabout, there are plenty of games to scratch your itch, so without further ado here are the best football games you can play right now.

Best football games: Havertz controls the ball using his chest in FIFA 23

Looking for the best football games? The beautiful game is one of the biggest global sports, so there are loads of football games available for PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, and PC. While playing, these titles also help us learn more about the games we watch – that’s right mum, games are educational.

The Loadout is always searching for the best games to recommend, and our best football games list has taken us across different platforms and playstyles. Whether you want broadcast-quality realism in your football game, or a chill, arcade-style kick around when you have 10 minutes spare, we’ve got you covered.

The best football games are:

  • FIFA 23
  • Football Manager 2023
  • eFootball
  • Rocket League
  • Retro Goal
  • Football: Tactics and Glory
  • Soccer Story
  • Nintendo Switch Sports

Best football games: De Bruyne goes to collect the ball in FIFA 23

1. FIFA 23

FIFA 23 is the king of virtual football, and rightly so. EA Sports’ annual release is always found near the top of the bestsellers list every year.

Unrivalled in its authenticity, there are more than 18,000 footballers in-game across nearly 700 real clubs, and some that aren’t. While the franchise has its critics – mostly for the focus being heavily on microtransaction-riddled FIFA Ultimate Team – it offers something for every player – something we talk about in our FIFA 23 review.

Casual, ranked, online, offline, career-driven; however you want to play football, FIFA has it covered. It’s got an in-depth trainer too, which can hold your hand through learning the beautiful game.

It’s also one of the best co-op games for playing on the sofa with pals, or in the legendary Pro Clubs mode, where you can live out your dream as a global superstar. Just don’t be the one to give away a last minute penalty…

If you hadn’t heard, FIFA 23 is the last instalment of the game carrying the FIFA game; the 23/24 seasons title will be called EA SPORTS FC.

FIFA 23 is available on all major platforms.

Best football games: a captain in purple kit leads his players out of the tunnel in Football Manager 2023

2. Football Manager 2023

If you believe your football knowledge is up there with the best, Football Manager 2023 is the ultimate test of your management skills. The legendary management sim from Sports Interactive has come a long way from the early days of transfers, team selection, and watching 2D dots running around. The game now boasts 3D match engine, intelligent opposition and a player database which is so legendary that teams have used it to scout players IRL.

FM fans know, there is nothing more satisfying than taking a team from non-league obscurity to the heady heights of continental football. Sure, you can take charge of your favourite club, but winning it all and signing every South American wonderkid to cross your desk can get boring. No, the joy in Football Manager is the story you build in your mind as you drag Nuneaton Borough kicking and screaming into the Premier League with nothing but 35-year-old has-beens and free talent you discovered from Scandinavia.

Football Manager 2023 is available on PC, Xbox, PS5, and Switch.

Best football games: two players from the Bundesliga battle it out for the ball in efootball

3. eFootball

eFootball is Konami’s free-to-play football game that was plagued with bugs at launch including invisible players and pancake refs, but it’s slowly maturing into a contender on the best sports games scene. The move away from an annual release and into an evolving, live service ‘football platform’ presents something totally different to old rival, FIFA.

Live events and seasonal content are at the heart of eFootball, based around the football calendar. There’s plenty of free content to earn, but as with any F2P game, there’s plenty to spend virtual currency on too.

eFootball holds licences for some of the top football clubs worldwide, including Manchester United, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and the two Milan clubs, along with real leagues and a handful of stadiums. You’ll still be able to play as your footballing heroes in Dream Team (a spin on EA’s Ultimate Team) where players build their fantasy football club and aim to dominate in ranked play.

Not many games have a synonymous game mode which holds legendary status, but Konami do, with Master League. It’s not currently available, but is coming as paid DLC. If it can bring back offline PES vibes to eFootball, we’re game.

eFootball is available on all major platforms.

Best football games: an orange Rocket League car uses boost to hit the ball mid-air

4. Rocket League

Rocket League is a football game and you can’t change our mind. What makes Rocket League one of the best football games of all time is that old cliché; it’s easy to play, yet difficult to master. Those buzzing five-minute games fly by, and before you know it, hours have passed. Now free-to-play and cross-platform, Rocket League is just as popular as it was seven years ago. It’s even got a thriving esports scene.

The concept is so simple. Take a juiced-up, rocket powered car, take your pick of 1v1, 2v2, or the classic 3v3 showdown, and get the big ball into the big goal. Controls might feel strange at first, but you’ll be flipping, drifting and boosting around like the pros in no time at all. Also, if you’re a fan of cosmetics and customisation, you’ll love Rocket League’s endless combinations for designer cars.

Want to pick up Rocket League and not sure where to start? Check out our guides to the best Rocket League cars and Rocket League ranks.

Rocket League is available on all major platforms. 

5. Retro Goal

Retro Goal brings 90s football vibes to Nintendo Switch, and we’re here for it. 16-bit graphics take us back to a simpler time when there was no VAR in football. The already popular mobile game has made its way to console, with an ‘attack-only’ gameplay approach where scoring goals is your only responsibility – defence is taken care of by simulation.

What sets Retro Goal apart from the dozens of throwback football games is its surprising depth. As well as taking control on the pitch with simple controls and hitting 30 yard swerving goals for fun, you have to take responsibility as the boss of managing a budget, upgrading facilities and renewing contracts. It’s enough to keep the game interesting between fixtures, without bogging you down in tasks. Remember, you’re here to score worldies, not take press conferences.

Retro Goal is available on Nintendo Switch.

Best football games: a football pitch showing a tactical turn-based screen allowing you to move players in Football Tactics and Glory

6. Football: Tactics and Glory

Football: Tactics and Glory brings turn-based strategy to football, and it works so well, even if it shouldn’t. Ukrainian developers Creoteam call it: XCOM meets Football Manager. You won’t have the depth and micro-tinkering of a full management simulation, but you can still take your amateur side to the big leagues, run the transfer market and win it all, whilst making the big decisions that matter. Turn-based football seems bizarre at first, but thinking three moves ahead of your opponent can be strangely enjoyable.

It would be easy to write this off, especially in its vanilla console version. Some of the graphics are reminiscent of Championship Manager, but the player editor is brilliant. If you want to enforce a strict ‘baldies only’ for your next campaign mode, you can with Tactics and Glory.

Football: Tactics and Glory is available on Playstation, Xbox, Switch and PC. The game has received full expansions and updates on PC as recently as winter 2022, so if you can run it, best to play it there in all its glory, rather than the basic console editions.

Best football games: A player kicks a ball forward over the defense in Soccer Story

7. Soccer Story

Football as we know it is banned in Soccer Story, and it’s up to you – and your magic football – to restore it. Soccer Story isn’t a sports game as such: it’s an RPG about football. You’ll delve into an open world and follow the single-player adventure, talk to townsfolk about bringing the beautiful game back into their lives, and defeat plenty of baddies.

This cute, story-driven RPG is full of puzzles, quests, NPCs and challenges better found in The Legend of Zelda or Mario open-world games. The graphics are delightful, too.

Most disappointing, perhaps, is the arcade football game you play inside the game. You’ll come up against teams of kids, sharks, ninjas and OAPs on your journey. If you’re expecting FIFA 23 football gameplay, avoid it. The football mini-games are much more straightforward, and take less figuring out. Don’t play for the football; play for the narrative.

If you’ve got friends with Soccer Story, you can play multiplayer matchups too. You can pick up Soccer Story on Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch and PC.

Best football games: a Mii volleys a ball in Nintendo Switch Sports football

8. Nintendo Switch Sports

The only title in our best football games showing that allows you to get physical, Nintendo Switch Sports lets you attach a Joycon to your leg to play its soccer game, using the included leg strap. When you get down to gameplay, you’ll be able to play 1v1, 4v4, or penalty shoot outs. If you’re carrying an injury or not feeling too physical, you can play with your hands too.

Timing is key in Switch Sports, where you’ll be rewarded in arcade-like showdowns with literally setting the ball on fire if you nail a shot or diving header. Reminiscent of the old Wii Sports game, this is one to crack out at parties rather than sit and play yourself for hours on end, but it will certainly get you scoring goals and celebrating.

Just try not to break anything in the heat of the game.

Nintendo Switch Sports is only available on Nintendo Switch.

That’s us calling full time on our list of the best football games. There should be something for you in the mix here, but if not, make sure to check out our lists of the best PS5 games, best Xbox Series games, and best Nintendo Switch games for more triple-A options.