Game Reviews

Football Manager Touch 2017 review - Another championship-winning sports sim

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Football Manager Touch 2017 review - Another championship-winning sports sim

As any elite football manager will tell you, getting to the top is one thing. Staying there is quite another.

And so we have Football Manager Touch 2017, which has the mixed blessing of following up on comfortably the finest football management game ever to hit a mobile device.

How does Sports Interactive follow up on Football Manager Touch 2016? By sticking to a winning formula, with a few minor tweaks here and there.

Hey, it works for Barcelona.

Title defence

Here's both the good and the bad news: to all intents and purposes, Football Manager Touch 2017 is the same game as last year. If you played FMT 2016, you won't even need the tutorial screens in 2017. It really is that similar in terms of look and UI.

You'll soon settle into a familiar rhythm of forwarding time, checking through your inbox for news and transfer updates, tweaking your team on match-day, checking out scouting reports, and moving on to the next match - all via the same sidebar UI.

Those matches, too, are pretty much the same as before, with the same intuitive system for adjusting the approach of your team and doling out tactical instructions to individual players.

Indeed, the main difference I noticed at first was the absence of a team talk facility this time around. You might feel this removes a direct layer of influence over the game, but I can't say I missed it. Choosing from a limited list of communication options swiftly became a repetitive chore in the 2016 edition.

Looking good for the camera

Without doubt the game's biggest improvement relates to its 3D match engine, but it might not hit home until a few games in, and once you've set the highlights to Extended or above. It's much more sophisticated than before.

There are new, more fluid and varied animations, and the general flow of matches is far more convincing. You can actually spot technical midfielders picking out deft passes and flying wing-backs knocking the ball past their opposing numbers as you would expect in real life.

One of the most gratifying moments I had was a believably bizarre 20-yard looped headed goal one of my midfielders scored through a mixup between the opposing defender and goalie.

Conversely, I found that this more advanced engine took its toll on performance. On my iPad Air 2 - far from the newest iPad, but still arguably the default tablet that Apple stocks - the match engine frame rate frequently slowed to a crawl, particularly when it switched to some of the new zoomed-in camera angles.

Striving for consistency

Otherwise, the list of tweaks over last year is rather insubstantial. The vaunted new social media feedback feature offers a bunch of polarised opinions from anonymous members of the public - and thus is absolutely useless. You could argue that this makes it true to life.

You'll also get the kind of bugs and glitches we've come to expect from the series, such as the irritating way the suitability rating often doesn't update when you switch a player's positional role in the tactics screen.

It's all part the familiar feeling that comes with playing Football Manager Touch 2017.

It's the championship-winning team you know and love with all the same talented faces, plus a couple of minor tweaks to the way they set themselves up. It lacks the excitement of the new, but that doesn't make it any less of an essential purchase for fans and willing first-timers alike.

Football Manager Touch 2017 review - Another championship-winning sports sim

Football Manager Touch 2017 is an iterative update, but that still makes it far and away the best football management game on iOS and Android
Jon Mundy
Jon Mundy
Jon is a consummate expert in adventure, action, and sports games. Which is just as well, as in real life he's timid, lazy, and unfit. It's amazing how these things even themselves out.