I’ve not played a PES game for years and have had a somewhat complicated relationship with the games when I have tried them. Sometimes it’s felt like I’m having to wait for the game to finish what it’s doing before it deigns to let me offer it some advice on what should happen next, other (briefer) times I’ve found myself playing some absolutely lovely football.

The iPhone version? Astonishing. Absolutely astonishing.

Now, I’ve not played any of the big console videogames for a few years, but this iPhone version of PES is revelatory. Never have a played a football game that felt quite this physical. There’s a real sense of weight and consequence to everything that happens on the pitch. Smoke and mirrors, maybe, but whatever the reason, it works to give a very convincing sense that real football, with its mistakes and flukes and human players, is under my control.

It’s like I’m seeing a whole new world of football, just there, in my phone.

PES 2010

I'm using the more traditional of the control schemes, avoiding the need for tilts and swipes.

I started the game up last night and kept going back, again and again. It’s just wonderful, with the default difficulty level feeling just right to me.

Now, of course, is where I should be gasping to try a fuller version of the game (or even a recent console FIFA), but I think part of my enjoyment comes from the two-button control scheme. Extra sticks and buttons might just overwhelm me.

It’s amazing, though, just this. I’ve enjoyed football games here and there – FIFA World Cup on the iPhone has given me a fair amount of enjoyable matches – but with PES and World Soccer Champs (two very different, complementary takes on the sport) I feel like a gaping hole in my gaming life has been filled.