With the consolidation of professional league licenses and the rising cost of game development, each year it seems like console gamers have fewer options when it comes to sports games. While this high-profile market is stagnating, the mobile and tablet spaces are bursting with new concepts. The wealth of diversity reminds me of the NES era, which offered sports fans dozens of options, from the cartoony arcade fun of Baseball Stars to the more sim-based offerings like Bases Loaded and Tecmo Super Bowl. Not every segment of the sports game market on iOS has abundant options (I couldn't find one hockey game worth recommending), but in testing out more than 30 games I came across several titles that should appeal to sports fans. These 10 are the cream of the crop.


10. NFL Quarterback 13

Platfom: iOS, Android
Developer: Full Fat
Price: $0.99

Football fans looking to kill a few minutes during commercial breaks should check out this swipe-focused quarterback game. After you pick your favorite NFL team and name your quarterback, you start tossing touchdowns to fake players. The objective is to string together positive pass plays, which increases your point multiplier. Throw an incomplete pass or interception and you burn one of the three lives you start with and lose the multiplier. If you start delivering laser strikes like a Pro Bowler, the game starts throwing new challenges at you like increased wind or blitzes. As you rack up points, you can spend it on new equipment, power-ups, or stadium upgrades. If you like this style of game, Full Fat also offers decent flick golf, tennis, soccer, and rugby games.


9. Michael Vick: Game Time

Platform: iOS
Developer: KBJ Football Productions
Price: $0.99

Another unconventional football game, Game Time essentially replicates the skeleton passing drills NFL teams frequently perform in practice. With no defensive line, offensive line, running backs, or linebackers, your quarterback and a generic receiver corps face off against a defensive secondary. Your team starts down on the scoreboard. As long as you are losing, gaining first downs and touchdowns add time to the clock. You only have a few plays to choose from at first, but you can use the cash earned by stringing together wins to unlock new plays or upgrade your players. Getting nickeled and dimed to unlock new plays is irksome, since you would much rather pump that cash into player upgrades. The Dreamcast-era graphics won't wow you, but the simple controls and strong sense of progression make Game Time a decent option for football fans.


8. NBA Jam

Platform: iOS, Android
Developer: EA Sports
Price: $4.99

EA Sports resurrected this popular Midway arcade basketball game a few years back, and it's available for iPads as well. NBA Jam uses a virtual analog stick control scheme, which isn't nearly as responsive as a traditional controller, but gets the job done. The rosters are old (Brandon Roy and Greg Oden are still playing for the Portland Trailblazers), and the game is choppy on my iPad 2, but the basic formula that made this game such a hit at arcades is still intact.


7. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12

Platform: iOS, Android
Developer: EA Sports

The simplistic swing-based controls make Tiger Woods an ideal iOS game. After creating a golfer, you can jump right into the PGA schedule, or kill some time playing through Tiger Challenges, Closest To The Pin Challenges or taking on a friend in local multiplayer. The game features eight licensed golf courses, and you can earn cash across all the modes that can be spent to upgrade your golfer. Though Tiger Woods PGA Tour has a robust offering of game options, I ran into some performance issues. The golf ball frequently glitches through the greens, and the game crashed a couple times.


6. Baseball Superstars 2013

Platform: iOS, Android
Developer: Gamevil 
Price: Free

Baseball Superstars' cute anime style recalls the quirkiness of NES-era sports games. The game puts you in control of a pitcher and batter of a fictitious team and challenges you to become a superstar. Instead of controlling the entire team you only tackle the plate or mound appearances of your player. Performing well earns the admiration of your coach and teammates, and earns you valuable XP (which can also be purchased via micro-transaction, but is hardly necessary). In between games you can visit various training facilities to improve your skills and interact with your coaches, teammates, and a nurse. This pervy story about your player's obsession with the sexy team nurse is an unfortunate sideshow, but the real detractor in the otherwise fun Baseball Superstars is the clunky menu system.