As a hardcore fan of PC football management simulation games ever since Football Manager was known as Championship Manager, I never thought this genre could work on mobile devices. Still, Sega tackled this very difficult task for the first time last year, when it launched FM Handheld 2012.
With no intention of replacing the rich PC gaming experience, but rather thinking of complementing it, Sega did almost everything right and made a perfect first step in establishing a whole new franchise. But with great power, comes great responsibility, so the bar of expectations was very suddenly at an entirely new level.
And now it’s time to see if Sega thrived under pressure or cracked. The first impression – it thrived. Football Manager Handheld 2013 is live in Google Play for less than 24 hours, but the initial user feedback is almost entirely positive.
Everything that was good about FM 2012 has stayed the same, while the improvements and tweaks should make you feel more like Jose Mourinho than ever. There are a couple of new playable leagues – Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland – a new player comparison, form updates, but also very up-to-date data on leagues, players and competitions.
The visuals are still not that great, but the progress since last year is noticeable, especially during matches. The player photos pack is another very nice touch, while on the flipside you’ll really have to splash the cash to enjoy FM 2013.
Not only is the game a whopping $9.99, but there are also in-app purchases “making their full debut this year”. Of course, these are in no way mandatory and you’ll still be able to win your share of trophies without making use of the purchases, but the mere fact they exist is a tad disturbing.
Then again, you know how Football Manager can change lives, so spending 10 or 15 bucks to take home the Champions League doesn’t sound that bad, now does it?