iAR: Champions Live 2014-2015

I can’t be the only one that’s excited for another year of Champions League soccer [or Fútbol, whatever suits your fancy], and with good measure too. Barcelona still in a reconstruction phase, the return of Altético Madrid as a power house, Manchester United’s revenue drop, and all the other drama that comes along with the world’s most popular sport. But anyways, this is not a sports review, but a sports app review. If you’re as excited for the Champions League as I am, then you’re probably just as excited to download an app companion to soak in all the joy of the league. Unfortunately,  this is where the excitement ends, like being knocked out of league’s final game, you’re going to feel some disappointment with Champions Live 2014-2015.

Presentation:

Main Home Screen

Screenshots taken by me, I claim no ownership of the app or anything within the app.

At first glance, this app is ugly. At second glance, it still is. The home screen is unimaginative, even worse there’s a micro-transaction that’ll allow you to customize the home screen with your favorite team’s wallpaper… considering how horrid it is to look at the home screen, you may actually put up the $0.99. You shouldn’t however, because lazy development shouldn’t be rewarded, you should be able to add something of your preference without paying money for it. The app is loaded with ads (removed form the screenshots), pretty standard stuff, if you’ve used an app in the last five years you’ve seen the ads in here before. There’s also ads with a pretty blonde in medieval attire, (give it a minute you’ll figure it out) these ads are actually pleasing because the pretty blonde is a nice distraction from the ugly presentation. You can remove them for $2.99 but even with Bill Gates’ credit card I wouldn’t pay the lazy devs. Some team logos are edited beyond recognition if you’re not a soccer fan, at first I thought this was because of copyright issues, but other teams’ logos are in tact, so go figure.

There’s not much else to say about presentation, look at the screenshots, I know you’re not impressed

Usage:

Not only does the app look bad, but its also clunky. Really clunky. The app feels like you’re using an app not meant for a iPhone 3GS and the only reason you can run it is because you’re jailbroken. Yeah its that bad. At the very bottom of the app you’ve got four tabs, Home, Group Stage, Knockout, and Game. Let’s break down each one.

Main Home Screenimage_6

On the Home screen, you’ve go six buttons. The one furthest to the top left is just a link to the app store to rate the app… I’ll be sure to post mine. Right next to it is a settings button with the only useful setting being turning off match reminders. On the top right, you’ve got a Facebook button that allow you to share and like the app and its developers, as well as a Twitter button that you can use to tweet about the app and follow the developers. God knows why anyone would do that. On the bottom left there’s a surprisingly attractive looking soccer ball icon that will link you to other apps from the developer. On the bottom right there’s an equally nice Admitted Teams ticket icon that will bring up a screen with all the teams who’ve made it to the Champions League this year. I wish the rest of the app was as nice looking as these icons.

Team Standings

The Group Stage tab shows you the current group standings. To navigate groups however, you must use the arrows on the top left corner. No you can’t swipe left or right, but you can bounce the current group up and down by sliding up and down… On the top right you’ve got a help button that’ll display what’s what, this feels unnecessary. To the right of that button you’ve got a little flag icon that’ll show you match results but it’s only the Game tab, more on that later.

In between the Group Stage and Knockout  tabs there’s a big refresh arrow, it’s greyed out but is still functional. Interesting design choice… normally when something is greyed out like that it indicates a lack of ability to preform the tied function. Why a scroll down to refresh like that of the Twitter app wasn’t done is baffling.

Previous GamesTeam Predictions

Next the Knockout tab. This is actually where the app shines brightest. This tab shows you the current round and upcoming games. There’s only one icon at the top this time, it’s in the upper right hand side, it’s another little help button. Upon slightly scrolling you’ll be able to see a comment button which will open up a Facebook comment thread with other users. This is actually not a bad idea, however it takes more than a few seconds to load it. This would be even better if the developers had their own service and you didn’t have to sign into Facebook. You can also tap on a game to open up details about it, here you can enter a prediction for the game, which is neat. There’s an “upload” button for the scores that will put them in the Game tab, more on that later. Tapping a teams icon in the screen will open a news feed about that particular team, not bad although it takes more than too long to load. The icons near the top left of this screen don’t seem to do anything, and to the top right you’ve got another help button and an “x” that will return you to the previous schedule. Lastly you’ve got an info button for the stadium the game is being played in and will open the Wikipedia page about the stadium and a comment icon that will bring up the same thread previously discussed.

Upcoming Games

Lastly, the Game tab is a table of every single game where your predicted scores are posted against the real scores. There’s Apple Game Center integration which will give you points if you guess the correct score. You can also open up the your score and view other people’s scores.  Tapping on the games in the tab will do the same as in the Knockout tab, why these to tabs were not combined into one is beyond me. You’ve also got yet another help button in the top right corner. The structure could have been better.

Final Thoughts:

Despite all the negative things I have to say about Champions Live 2014-2015 it is not a terrible app. Sure it feels and looks like it’s stuck in 2009 but I will still be using it for the sake of keeping up with the Champions League. There’s some good ideas here, particularly the social features, but the developers need to work on its presentation and usage, it definitely leaves something to be desire from an app available in 2015. I reviewed this app on an iPhone 5 running iOS 7.1.2 and I give Champions Live 2014-2015 3 out of 5 stars  for its lack of presentation but its creative social integration. Sound off in the comments about what you think! If you care more about the game of soccer than an app’s essence, you can download it here: Champions Live 2014-2015

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