Sports Interactive sent football management fans to the brink of dreamland with Football Manager Classic 2015. At last, here was a mobile version of the famous footy game built from the same components as the host PC series.
The only thing holding that game back from a title tilt was a clunky interface and a sense that the developer hadn't quite finished thinking through the move to mobile.
So here, around six months later, is Football Manager Touch 2016 to finish the job.Swift one-two
Wait, six months? Yep, there's no getting away from the fact that SI has been a little hasty in returning to market so soon. Especially when these are two of the more expensive mobile games on the market.
But there's no denying that Football Manager Touch 2016 is an improved experience. Most of the criticisms we had about tiny, borderline broken interface elements in the last game have been addressed here.
Players are now represented by chunky cards in the tactics screen, with clearly defined and easy-to-access drop-down menus. Switching out players is so reliable that I found myself initiating lots of accidental substitutions at first, so unused were my fingers to the responsiveness and sensitivity of the system.
Team instructions, meanwhile, have been given a boost with a single page of contextually sensitive graphs and gauges. You're still essentially playing a spreadsheet, but now it's one with proper formatting and pie charts.Holes in the defence
That's not to say that SI has created the perfect mobile footy management game. There are still too many glitches for that.
The whole game can feel a little sluggish at times, slowing to a crawl in between seemingly simple screen transitions. Some UI elements remain unresponsive, such as the side arrows used to alter wages during negotiations.
There are also a fair few bugs in there. I was informed at one point that Man Utd had won a game thanks to "a stunning strike from De Gea." That would be the David De Gea who plays in goal for the reds.
The 3D match engine, meanwhile, is possibly even ropier looking than before, with low-res players and fonts making it look more like an early 3D FIFA than ever.Champion
But when SI has finally given us a full Football Manager experience that feels at home on mobile devices, complaining about bugs and technical glitches feels a bit like complaining that Messi doesn't track back.
Yes, Football Manager Touch 2016 could be easier to love. But you overlook these foibles because of the amazing things it can do that no other management can - like destroying a whole evening when all you wanted to do was send your scouts to watch a Croatian wonderkid.
Cutting through all the issues, Football Manager Touch 2016 is quite simply the mobile footy management game we've always wanted - most of the time. There's obvious room for improvement within its framework, but there's also nothing else that comes remotely close.