In the past few years, the only thing I hated about playing any Football Manager game on my laptop while sitting on the couch was playing Football Manager on my laptop while sitting on the couch!
Finally, Sports Interactive has given us the game on our mobile devices that we deserve with a title that snuck onto mobile platforms late into the season. Some may get confused because there are already numerous Football Manager games for mobile devices. The biggest difference is that Football Manager Classic is a port of the PC game. Football Manager Handheld, while fun in its own right, is a stripped down version of Classic.
Nearly everything you could ever want from the PC version of this game is here. You can create your team tactics, decide or delegate training regiments, scout your players and so on. It’s a very familiar interface that players on PC can adjust to very quickly. Just like the PC version, you can micromanage to your heart’s content focusing on areas you like and leave the rest to the AI.
Also whether you are new to the whole thing or trying to find your feet after playing on a PC, there are numerous tool tips that will walk you through various aspects of the game. I highly advise to leave the tips on as you play the game at first, to feel your way around.
One of the best parts that players will enjoy is unlike the Football Manager Handheld, your players have a little more humanity — i.e. their personalities will play a big part of how they affect your club. For instance, two months into a new club, one of my new strikers was homesick because there was no one else from where he was from (which I noticed a slightly weird glitch that I will discuss later), so he was lonely.
Contract negotiations play out a lot better as again with this being a port, players and teams may not always bend to your will just because you throw money at them. In fact I had 2 negotiations that broke down over appearance fees and it’s been driving me mad!
Where the game really shines is the 3D engine. Instead of watching the dots of Football Manager Handheld, we finally get the 3D engine of this game’s big brother in a portable package. As always, you can adjust the setting to select how much of the match you want to see, yell instructions or simply get an instant result.
To be fair, not all stadiums are accurately represented, but who cares?
Finally, in this iteration, I can watch my hard work unfold (or crash and burn) on the pitch with a match engine that rivals the PC. All of this is finally in a portable package where one can lay across the couch to play, take on commutes or just lay comfortably in bed and play.
The Not So Good
There are a few areas that I would like to point out that, while this is a good port, those thinking of purchasing the game would want to be aware of before making the jump.
Requirements – While it is available for mobile devices both iOS and Android, know your device before buying. Just by looking at the forums, complaints of the game not working reveals that some people leapt without looking and wound up with a game on an inferior device. Click here to see if your device is compatible.
Price – The price is $20. For some, it may be a steep price to pay for a mobile game. However to be fair, this is an extremely good port with very few items missing from the full version that we have played on PCs.
Timing – This one slightly bothered me. The game came out of nowhere to be released near the end of the season meaning that there may be another 6 months (as Football Manager Handheld tends to release around October and November) before the next version arrives. This then leads to the question of “Should I buy it now or wait until then?” because it may be hard to justify buying this game twice in a year should SI release a new iteration this fall.
Mods – As of now, SI does not allow any logo packs or picture packs to be installed in-game. I am one of those few who enjoys that customization feature. Being able to see some of these players made it better for the visual experience. While modders have done most of SI’s homework, here’s hoping that future updates and iterations will allow for it.
Touchscreen Accuracy – This is my biggest complaint thus far and echoed by other reviewers. There are some screens that when scrolling are far too ‘floaty’ that makes it hard to get to certain menu icons such as when you go to search for a team to look up players. At other times, especially when you are in the tactics and you want to drag a player back and forth, the game doesn’t allow it. Sometimes I had to mash the screen for it to recognize my gestures and fight with it to get the players in the right place.
Suspending the game – This is something else that I hope can be fixed via an update. Should you decide to leave the game for any reason like, looking at a web page, opening another app or simply putting your device in sleep mode, once you open the game back up, it takes you through the whole intro screen before it asks if you want to reload your previously unsaved game.
Weird AI bugs – This goes back to what I mentioned earlier. One of my new Argentinian strikers claimed that he was homesick because he had no one to talk to and my first thought was, “You have 2 other players on the team you can talk to from your home country.” Although I have yet to find a way to work around this and get them talking, I simply chalked it up as “Well maybe they just don’t like him.”
Cross-platform saves – While it would be nice to play on the mobile version, save to the cloud, and then pick up where I left off on the PC, with a device that can be played anywhere, why should I buy this game twice?
Despite this, I am highly recommending this game. It’s the best way to play Football Manager on the go without having to drag a laptop everywhere.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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