Football Manager Handheld (Android)
Mobile games generally have a short life span on our devices. Developers have taken this into account and as such most games are designed to be quick pick up and play pieces that keep us entertained for a few minutes and then we’re off doing something else or playing another game. As a result, the longest standing game I’ve had on my phone is Sudoku. Nothing else has been able to keep me coming back to my phone to play. Until now.
Football Manager 2014 came out earlier in the year, and with it they announced Football Manager Handheld which was released mid way through November. Obviously the handheld version is a much cut down version of the full game, but it still retains all the important features that have made the Football Manager series so successful. You have three main game modes, Career, Challenge and My Club. Career will be familiar to any Football Manager player and in the handheld version you can play for up to 30 years. Challenge mode is designed for a shorter game (in Football Manager terms) and sets you up in certain scenarios. There are four challenges in the game, but another three that you can buy as additional content.
My Club mode allows you to create your own team from scratch, including all your players if you so wish. You need to choose a team to replace from whichever league you wish to start in, and have the option of using their players or removing them and building your own team. This is ideal for the person who want to promote their favourite local team into the lower leagues!
At first it was disappointing that there was no sound in the game, until I found the option to turn it on in the menus. It was immediately turned back off though as the only sound was an annoying click for menu changes. Had there been match sounds I might have put up with the click, but I understand Sports Interactives decision to leave the sounds off by default.
The only other disappointing omission is that of team talks. Before the team talk feature was added to the Football Manager series it had been one of the most sought after features. Team talks can often make the difference in a match both pre match and at half time, and it’s always nice to let your players know how you feel at the end of a game. There is at least some media interaction, so players and the board do react to how you handle yourself with the media as well as on the sidelines.
The latest version of the game does boast many new features to previous handheld iterations, which bring it considerably closer to the “Full” PC version. Improved analysis of player progression, match performances and club history, along with a very successful graphical redesign all bode well for the future of the game. They claim there is “a more realistic transfer system with more intelligent bids and squad management from AI managers meaning the FMH transfer market reflects the real-world” but why Barcelona would sign Jelavic is beyond me…
Playing Football Manager Handheld feels like playing Football Manager 2008 (just before the 3D match engine came in), but in a good way. It’s nice to go back to the classic engine, and the game is kept simple enough for light use yet retains a depth of features for you to use when you really want to get down to business. The “My Club” mode is a fantasy managers dream whether you chose to build from the ground up, or jump straight into the big leagues. The menus are slick and very intuitively laid out for mobile devices, so you spend less time figuring out the options and more time figuring out how to beat your opponents to the title.
4 league trophies raised out of 5