American football fans, sit this one out. Sega's latest game is geared towards the other kind of football, the one that, you know, people actually play with their feet. This popular series turns soccer fans into managers of their own professional club. From the confines of their Android device, players can manage most aspects of running a team for $9.99. Yeah, that's a bit pricey for a mobile title, but calling the shots doesn't come cheap, even virtually.
Players get to build a club from scratch, trade players, manage the media, and deal with the board. This may not be everyone's idea of fun, but not all of us are wired to kick the ball into the net ourselves. Someone has to be the manager, and Sega's annual sports sim is aimed at that person.
Football Manager Handheld 2014 has received a makeover, but it's still not much of a looker. Expect to spend the bulk of your time looking at menus, grids, stats, and graphs. For this year's release, Sega hasn't really upped the graphics, but they've crammed in brainier features that are sure to appeal to their legions of fans.
- A complete redesign of the way the game looks, with improved graphics and a much more intuitive menu system.
- My Club Mode allows you to create your own club from scratch. You choose the club name and kit colours and you assemble your squad. Recreate a classic team or build a squad of family and friends and then enter them into any league or international competition to compete against today’s real teams and players. It’s the ultimate football fantasy experience.
- A more realistic transfer system with more intelligent bids and squad management from AI managers meaning the FMH transfer market reflects the real-world.
- Use the new player progression tracking system to monitor the progress of your players’ attributes over time. These pages chart the improvement or decline of your players’ skills and are the perfect visual aid for making those tough decisions on whether players have a future at the club.
- Improved media interaction, with questions from reporters about your club’s successes, failures and the future. Can you keep the media happy without upsetting the board, fans and squad?
- Improved post-match analysis gives you better feedback on your team's tactical strengths and weaknesses.
- More detailed historic records of previous seasons allow you to look back fondly on past successes.
- You can now choose multiple nations when starting a new game, so your career is no longer limited to one country... you can start managing an English club, but move abroad to manage in another country if you fancy a different challenge or a change in culture*.
*This feature is not available on all devices. Dependent on device capability.
Last year's version contained in-app purchases, so be on the lookout. Ten dollars can get you through the door, but it may not buy you everything. Yet if you want to save a few bucks, last year's version has gone down to $6.99. On the positive side, this is not a visually demanding series, so either release should be compatible with most hardware.