The Football Manager franchise have once again released a handheld version of their football simulation game for supported Apple and Android devices.
Like previous outings handheld users can expect a streamlined experience of the massively extensive and inclusive desktop series and this lends itself well to portable gaming.
Some fans of the game call for the gap between the handheld and desktop version to be bridged slightly, however I personally like the feel of the stripped version of the game.
Whilst having all the features and the massive detail that can be expected from the PC and Mac versions of the game might improve certain aspects of the handheld edition I don’t feel it would work well in a portable environment.
The handheld version strikes a good balance of the necessary detail and the quick functioning format which is crucial for portable gamers, it is quite easy to get caught up in the game and run until the 30 year time limit is reached without having to put in the months of play time necessary for the PC version.
Football Manager Handheld 2013 seems slightly more difficult than last years game, this should be seen as an upgrade however as the 2012 version was a tad unrealistic, as my Champions League winning Leyton Orient side would vouch for.
Included in this years game one can expect all the usual squad and competition updates, as well as a few new features.
There is now a ‘form’ category which presents all the players in the game that are on a good run of form, this helps when stuck with which players to sign and is a welcome addition.
The ability to compare players is another new feature which adds a nice bit of detail to the game, however the way this information is presented could be clearer so I do find myself avoiding this quite often.
Certain screens have been updated also, a welcome update to the main player profile page presents important information all in one place rather than having to scroll through various pages to find out value, position and other little pieces of information.
The main menu and news screens have both been updated as well and are vastly improved over last years rather simplistic pages.
You can also now set club captain, which is a nice touch, even if such bits of trivia only really matter to football purists.
The popular ‘challenge modes’ from last year have been kept after they were ported to the desktop version of the 2012 game, with new varieties available to buy and download from the app store.
So the updates work well and the game is more challenging, surely this game should score higher than three stars? Unfortunately not as I have quite a big qualm with the game.
Aside from the three or four updated screens mentioned above the majority of screens and pages look identical to Football Manager Handheld 2012.
In fact I don’t think look identical quite goes far enough, they’re exactly the same and it really is quite disappointing, especially as these are pages that are used a lot, like the tactics, squad, club and league tables screens.
It’s a shame because the areas that have been tweaked and updated work very well but it feels like a half completed job with so many areas that seem as though they’ve been imported directly from an old game.
The result is a game that had so much potential but falls short and fells rather average, with the old screens that make up most of the game making me feel like I could have just stuck to the old game without having to shell out almost £8 for the ‘new’ version.
Of course if this is the first handheld outing of Football Manager that you’re considering then my qualm will not affect you and you’ll probably enjoy a good football management game that could eat away the hours of your day.
If you did play Football Manager Handheld 2012 and was impressed with the game, as I was myself, then you may want to reconsider paying out what is contextually a lot of money for an ios game.
By no means is this a bad game, it’s enjoyable and I could see myself advancing to the late 2020’s like I did with the last years game, especially now I’ve paid out for it, however it’s just annoying that it feels like the majority of the game has had very little work put in, really it feels lazy from the developers.
Summary: Irritatingly a handful of good new features do not paper over the fact that many screens feel as though they’ve been taken straight from an old game, the gameplay is still engrossing though and if you didn’t play Football Manager Handheld 2012 on ios you’ll probably wonder how this game didn’t get another star or two.
If you did play the last game however you may feel as though you’ve purchased a lazy, half updated game that could have been considerably better if all screens got the same attention as those that have been updated.
You can get Football Manager Handheld 2013 from iTunes here, and from the Play Store here.