Football Manager Touch 2018: review

As a great man once said, “Football’s a funny old game”. The same can be said of the games industry, which has the knack of making some quite bewildering decisions at times. Football Manager Touch 2018 arrived on the Nintendo Switch out of nowhere, suddenly appearing on the Switch eShop with very little publicity. This may make you think that this port of the popular football management sim is a bad fit for the console, but read on dear reader.

The game lets you tweak tactics to the tiniest minutiae.

As you might imagine, Football Manager Touch 2018 isn’t as in-depth as its PC big brother; but to be honest, we’ve found the mainline entry of the series a bit bloated in the last few years. Having to deal with the media, team talks, and all sorts of other distractions becomes a chore, taking away from what made the game great in the first place. This version is thankfully back to the basics of picking your team, signing players and (hopefully) winning matches! The last Football Manager game to appear on a console was the 2014 version on the Vita. While it worked well, and featured a 3D match engine, it was painfully slow at loading. This Switch version thankfully runs really well, with load times that are significantly faster than the Vita.

The 3D match engine is functional and works well, but don’t expect FIFA levels of detail.

You start by creating your manager, and picking a team to manage from a huge database of worldwide leagues – or you can create your very own team and work your way up. It can be a bit bewildering at first, and we have to say it took us a while to discover how to scout for players and make signings, as this is hidden in a menu that is accessed by pressing the L Joy-Con button. This brings up all the options you need to get into the meat and veg of the experience, with the ability to sort out training schedules and tactics, check your reserve squad, deal with your finances, and make crucial signings. This version of Football Manager is a lot more in-depth than the mobile version of the game, with you able to pick any formation imaginable, and set different roles for players within said formation, then tinker with these tactics during a game if things aren’t going your way. The game has a 3D match engine which looks okay, but is a bit basic compared to games like FIFA or PES. It does give you a good idea of how the game is going though, which helps you tweak your tactics to suit. As well as the full career experience, you can also do a series of challenges, which are shorter modes where you have to perhaps steer a club to safety in the league with a handful of games remaining. These challenges are a great little diversion if you’re struggling in the main game, although they are quite challenging themselves.

While the game is almost as feature-packed as its PC big brother, there are a few niggles that hamper the experience. Gamers with big sausage fingers (like us) may struggle with the touch screen icons, which are tiny on the screen when played in handheld mode. Ironic given the ‘Touch’ moniker. We also found the text quite small to read with our ageing peepers.  Thankfully, you can highlight icons with the thumbsticks, which helps alleviate that problem.

Football Manager has a nasty habit of hitting you with all manner of other problems, however. Your star striker will inevitably get injured during the season, or even more than once in our case! So you have to ensure your squad is adequately covered. Also, any player not getting a game ends up whining to the media of their lack of game time, but when you give these prima donnas a chance they more often than not will let you down. There were also a few times when our team racked up over 20 shots on goal, only to lose the game 2-0, which is also very frustrating. At the end of the day though, these kinds of things can happen in the crazy world of football.

It took us a while to figure out how to work the transfer market. A tutorial would have been handy.

Football Manager Touch 2018 is a welcome release on the Switch, and it’s good to see such a feature-rich version of the game appearing on a console. While it’s not perfect, with the icons and menus being a ‘touch’ (sorry!) cluttered on the Switch’s 6″ screen, it performs remarkably well on the console, and is just as addictive as the PC version. In fact it has the right amount of depth for Football Manager on the move, removing features that are arguably all bloat. It may be a bit pricey at £30, but it’s a price worth paying if you’re a football fanatic who fancies a decent management game for your commute or to play on holiday.

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Written by Kevin M

I've been addicted to gaming since my parents bought an Atari console way back in the 70's. I progressed to the iconic Speccy, Amiga, and all the Playstation platforms. Having seen games evolve from single pixel bat and ball, to HD constructed environments, gaming has changed much from my early years. Having defeated the rock hard R-Type on the Speccy, the biggest challenge I've faced so far is putting up with the hordes of American teens spouting abuse in the current generation of consoles, noob indeed!

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