By Craig Chapple
Getting the intricacies of football right on mobile is always a difficult task.
Console games like FIFA and PES offer fantastic complexity in a relatively simple setup, which is difficult to truly replicate on mobile. Particularly when it comes the fast nature of the beautiful game and stringing together attacking moves.
Management titles meanwhile have to deal with a small screen and the trappings (for better or worse) of the free-to-play model if they’re going to be successful.
New Star Soccer has long been a popular game, and now New Star Soccer Manager has arrived on the scene.
You're in charge
There’s a lot to get through when you start the game, from how to play matches with your team (and beat relegation), to how to run an entire football club. You're basically taking the board's job, even though you also have to deal with them.
There are collectible cards, staff to manage, buildings to buy to improve your club and team, sponsorship deals to sign, and lots of small details you might expect from a management sim.
It’s all a bit overwhelming at first, though the game does its best to deliver lots of information as quick as it can.
Match day delivers what you’d expect from a sim, from deciding your lineup to setting up formations and tactics. During the game you’re given written commentary of proceedings ala Football Manager.
Back of the net
But once there’s a chance to get in on goal or start an attacking move, you’re personally given control over players. And the result, once you get a handle on the controls, is a delightful football game.
Play stops once a player gets the ball, letting you decide how to proceed. You can simply pass the ball straight to another player, shoot, dribble or set players on runs and to set up a cutting through ball into space behind the defence.
Successfully combining passes in quick succession, delivering that decisive through ball and smashing the ball in the back of the net is a delight.
Much like the best football sims, there’s as much drama to be had off the pitch as on it. From keeping the fans onside to dealing with egotistical players and ensuring a happy board, there’s much depth to be found in New Star Soccer Manager.
What I’ve played so far is just the tip of the iceberg. New Star Soccer Manager feels like it’s carved out its own space from other sims and put together an essential football title in the process.
Check out New Star Soccer Manager on the App Store.