Football Manager Handheld 2013 (iOS, Android, PSP)Sports Interactive has been around since 1994 and is renowned for its work on the Championship Manager line of PC management titles that sapped the lives of many gamers wanting to try their hand becoming the maestro of leagues around the world. Sadly problems arose with a split between UK publisher Eidos Interactive and the name of the multi-million selling series was snatched away and given to another team. Thankfully, SEGA was wise enough to snap up the British outfit in the aftermath, and so was borne Football Manager, which has by far surpassed the increasingly diminishing Championship Manager. Fans thankfully chose the right option, sticking with the superior game despite the name change and now the latest mobile edition has hit the market. Prepare to lose more of your life with Football Manager Handheld 2013!
The Sweetest Form of AddictionFootball Manager Handheld 2013 takes the series back to a more humble form, right to its roots in many ways and this will certainly appeal to some lapsed fans that felt there was too much being pumped into the annual updates. For several years it has been almost too daunting a task to jump into what was previously such a simple pick-up-and-play experience. Now it has all changed with Football Manager in the palm of your hands. It is simply sublime gaming goodness and is even better in this handheld form than when tied down to a home PC.
The Beautiful Game!From the off there is the option to select from a regular career in any of the leagues offered across fourteen countries, or take part in some interest challenges. In the Challenge Mode there is the opportunity to tackle various scenarios, such as taking charge with only a few games left in order to avoid relegation or claiming victory with a youthful squad alone. It proves to be quite an intriguing bite-sized alternative for those unable to dedicate too much time to overseeing their favourite team over the extent of an entire season. However, there is always the choice to merely keep on playing, whether the objective is met or not, so at least there is no limitation there.
What is so mesmerising about Football Manager Handheld 2013 is how much it harks back to what most would class as the 'good old days' of Championship Manager 2 and Championship Manager 97/98 that definitely monopolised any free time for a lot of people during their school years, this writer included! If there is a desire to delve deeper into the intricacies of management that give coaches constant headaches, there is that chance, but for anyone wanting the sheer adulation of hopping onto the team formation screen, juggling a few players around, checking on their current condition and form, as well as tweaking the layout of the squad before launching into the next match, this is probably the purest edition yet.
On Me 'Ead, Son!Searching for players is as user-friendly as ever, with a barebones name search function, the chance to browse through 'hot' players of the moment, check on those potentially interested in a move, or go deeper and change numerous other variables to whittle down the plethora of choice into a more manageable selection. The Board also keeps chipping in with comments about their thoughts on the tenure of a new manager, sharing opinions on key purchases, performance runs, the mood of players in the dressing room, and so on, and every now-and-then there is the opportunity to comment personally on news reports that will either anger or please supporters. There are all manner of ways to become involved, but nothing ever becomes overly complicated or threatens to bog down the experience.
During the matches themselves, there is the option of dropping the live action visuals in favour of classic commentary-only, with the traditional comment boxes flashes onto the screen with the possession sway bar at the bottom. Strong memories will wash over long-term followers, and the intensity of the action is absolutely stunning, even after all these years. The exhilaration felt when monitoring the swift updates is immense, and that thrill when a flashing box appears with 'Rooney Scores!' gets the heart racing. Sports Interactive hit upon a phenomenal idea nearly two decades ago and its impact has not lessened in the slightest.
All the live match day details can be spied mid-game, using just the swish of a fingertip, as can how players are faring during the 90-minutes so they can be substituted quickly if not performing up to their expected standards. Outside of the games in leagues, cups, and all manner of tournaments, players can be put on different training regimes, requests can be put in to expand stadia, and contracts can be tinkered with to keep talent at a club of choice for many more years to come. It all proves imperative and the attention-to-detail will help when striving to gain glory and adding silverware to the trophy cabinet.
One of the primary additions that mobile handset owners can take advantage of is the debut of an in-app purchasing feature where optional extras can be bought to instantly do things such as expanding the stadium or attract a wealthy 'Sugar Daddy' chairman for a small fee, as well as unlock fresh new objectives in Challenge Mode. Checking out the news updates is also more streamlined than before, and the ease in which pertinent snippets of information can be extracted is wonderful. Reading about a particular player requesting to be transferred? Jump right in, make a comparison against other players, get the scouts to watch him, make an enquiry to the club, or get down to the nitty gritty and offer a deal with the parent club right there and then - all with a tap or two of the finger. Sports Interactive shoots and scores with Football Manager Handheld 2013.