Football Manager Handheld 2013 review

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Arguably porting Football Manager on to the iPod/iPad is as challenging a task as keeping Wigan in the Premier League every season. But, just like Martinez, Sports Interactive has managed it. It may not be as slick, pretty or as complete as its bigger and more established PC opponent, but with the resources available to it, it does more than a reasonable job.

After I got over the amusement of being able to run more leagues concurrently than I can on my old ageing laptop (with FM 2011 no less), I was instantly blown away by the depth of the player database. Granted they don’t have as many abilities rated, but the depth is astounding nonetheless.

What isn’t as great is the match engine which instantly got turned off in favour of text commentary. Essentially the match engine is pointless and only adds confusion. But the text commentary is also prone to errors, such as yellow cards happening with no mention of the player and, in one bizarre moment, Theo Walcott taking a shot and the very next second a goal for QPR was scored by Cisse, as if he had taken the shot instead.

There are a number of other issues such as low scoring games (in my current season, none of the top four have scored more than 20 goals in 18 games), a rather bizarre transfer market and 23 managers having just been sacked all on the same day. Tactics are also rather limited, meaning that you never really feel like you’ve played as much of a part in a successful comeback as you would with the PC version.

A quick word must also be said about the in-app purchases. While they’re not forced upon you, they do feel like last minute additions in order to make even more profit on what is already one of the most expensive iOS games out there. The price of the game is justified, but I can’t help feeling that the in-app purchases aren’t and do little to improve the experience.

But considering the technical limitations it’s still a very good achievement to cram in so much detail and realism. This shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for the PC version and for some, perhaps many, ardent FM players it will feel very lightweight. But equally it’s more accessible, provides hours of gaming and is still deep enough to be rewarding.

Game details

Game title: Football Manager Handheld 2013
Reviewed on: iOS
Available for: iOS, Android
Developer: Sports Interactive
Publisher: SEGA
Score: 7 out of 10

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