Football Manager Touch 2017 (iOS) Review

By Chris Leebody 23.12.2016 1

Review for Football Manager Touch 2017 on iOS

In terms of football management simulators, Football Manager from Sports Interactive sits proudly at the top of the table, albeit in a division that is far from Premier League competitiveness. An annual fixture of the gaming calendar, the series has a fierce reputation of quality and it is noticeable how mainstream it has become over the years, really tapping into the public consciousness. With the rise of mobile and tablet gaming, it is no surprise that over the last few years an annual mobile port has accompanied the main PC big brother. The Touch version (introduced last year) is an expanded edition for higher end iOS devices. With a similar UI and a full 3D match engine, the port certainly strives to avoid being a cheap knock-off and the idea of being able to take Football Manager on the go is certainly an appealing prospect in a series renowned for dangerous levels of addiction. The teams have finished warming up, so now it's time for this review to kick off.

Sports Interactive has yet again made the decision to tier its mobile offering of the management sim. This is important because it is fair to say that Football Manager Touch 2017 requires a high end iOS tablet on the more impressive performance scale, such as the iPad Air or iPad Pro, both an expensive option when it comes to the tablet market . It is apparent that more than one buyer has been caught out between this and the modest Mobile 2017 with its lack of 3D match engine and streamlined UI, which obviously has an extremely wide compatibility list in comparison.

Some may consider this a negative, but it actually seems to make logical sense. It was the right decision that those with the hardware are able to take advantage of a true representation of the main PC version in this portable experience.

The experience is a positive one, as well, with a few caveats. What the team has essentially created is a direct port of the whole interface with license given to the use of finger pressing. The size of the icons means this is easily accomplished without too many sacrifices having to be made to what many long-time fans consider the best the UI that has ever been designed.

Screenshot for Football Manager Touch 2017 on iOS

Of course it isn't perfect; this is a game ultimately based on a lot of menus, numbers and charts, after all. This means there are a lot of screens to dip in and out of and occasionally it is possible to hit the wrong button or menu without due care. However, this is a lot less frequent than might be expected, especially if playing on one of the larger tablet devices. In summary, mouse still rules but tablets are what they are and work well. Mobile might be more of a struggle, though.

In general, it must be said that the information on show (player, value, stats, coaching thoughts, training levels) are all very clearly and cleverly laid out and presented in such a way that information, which is the key facet of the game, is very easy to come by.

As would be expected, all the main modes are present in the sense of the challenge mode introduced into the mainline series a few years ago, which sets up some bespoke scenarios to play through. However, the bread and butter lays in the fully fledged career mode; taking any club and forging a long and hopefully successful career to be the best manager seen.

Screenshot for Football Manager Touch 2017 on iOS

Now, this is where some limitations come into play. Unlike the PC version, [i]Touch 2017[I/] allows only up to three nations to be run. It isn't a disaster, as very few will need more in a play-through, but it is quite a big compromise for anyone used to the massive scale of the big brother version. It certainly means moving around clubs is less frequent, although obviously players are still generated from those other leagues so it does not restrict transfers or anything such as that.

There haven't been a lot of changes to the core gameplay in this year's addition but fans will know this is not a surprise as changes in general to the series have been much more subtle the last few entries. The inbox has been made less cluttered and more user-friendly, which is obviously great for the mobile user.

The new social feed introduced is fun and all, but it is simply another layer of 'nonsense' added to the media side of the experience, which is not what many core management fans are particularly interested in. In reality, it is just a tool for merging a few menus together to cut down on wasted space, with the social feed amalgamating the existing transfer rumour menu from the main version.

Screenshot for Football Manager Touch 2017 on iOS

Of course, the biggest change on show is the 3D match engine, which was first seen on a portable device last year. It has had some improvements in the animation of players, as well as a touching up of the stadia. The main question is if it runs well enough to be a solid representation of Football Manager 2017 on PC. That is always going to be hard, but in general it is fair to say it does achieve this well.

Is it the smoothest experience? No, it certainly isn't, with frequent stuttering, which obviously lessens or heightens depending on the device used. Do the players move in a realistic fashion? Well, they do very good impressions of Subbuteo figures (the old table-top football game), but it is acceptable for the context of being on these types of devices. Frankly, it is fair to say even the match engine in the main series is not exactly a TV match watching experience in its quality, so the drop off here is less noticeable.

This is really the point; this is never going to be the perfect portable version of the main game, at least not until mobiles and tablets get a lot more powerful. However, the key word is 'portable.' The idea of taking Football Manager Touch 2017 on the bus, plane, train or even work (don't tell the boss), is a dream that fans of the series five years ago could not even have imagined. It cannot be underestimated how many social lives have been lost to people stuck on a PC for hundreds of hours at a time. In a world with a growing acceptance of tablets and tablet gaming, this is a potential life-trapper!

Screenshot for Football Manager Touch 2017 on iOS

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Football Manager Touch 2017 is not the perfect management sim. The match engine is rudimentary, but functional, for instance. Also, although the restriction on the amount of leagues simulated is a compromise that is understandable, it is irritating, plus a system designed with menus in mind is always going to have challenges with touch screen input. However, the ability to play on the go on an iOS device arguably trumps these concerns. It is certainly a worthy entry to the series and hopefully a continuing refinement of this tablet spin-off series. It is also obviously cheaper than the PC version, with it currently on the App Store at £14.99.

Developer

Sports Interactive

Publisher

SEGA

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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