After never having a single Football Manager (or Championship Manager) game on a Nintendo console before the Switch, yet again we are treated to another release in Sports Interactive‘s ever-popular manager sim. This year’s version is the “last of its kind” according to the developer.
What that entails for the Nintendo Switch version of Football Manager 2025 (or the Switch’s successor that we are all expecting in late 2024) is anyone’s guess, all we know is that it’s switching to the Unity engine. Taking all of this into account, it’s understandable that Football Manager 2024 Touch is not that different of a game to Football Manager 2023 Touch. Sure, it has improved and refined a whole host of features, but there isn’t anything here from a gameplay perspective that stands out as being completely new or overhauled. This isn’t dissimilar to other games that get yearly releases, such as EA Sports FC (formally known as FIFA), but it seems like there was a conscious effort to subtly improve things on this release and then go all out next year.
For those who are new to Football Manager, you might have heard it being called a glorified Excel spreadsheet. While this is slightly unfair, it is different from most other games on the market, as the main crux of gameplay sees you looking at trawling through pages of text and graphs before you get to the match scenario. It’s very different to manager modes in EA Sports FC, for example. It is much more in-depth than that.
Your goal (no pun intended) will vary depending on which team you fancy choosing to manage and because there are literally thousands of teams to choose from, you will have a different experience each time you play. If you take Manchester United, for example, a team whose goals are to be winning trophies, but are struggling (in relative terms) in real life. However, considering the spending power they possess and the fact they still do have some good players already, it isn’t all that difficult to get them back to winning titles again and dominating everything. However, picking a team such as Luton, is going to alter your game massively. Not only are Luton odds-on favourites to get relegated, but they have very little money to spend on transfers and wages, so attracting players that are decent enough for the league is a challenge in itself. It’s almost as if your choice of team is the difficulty slider, it’s just this game has thousands of them to choose from.
If you have never played the “Touch” (or other console) versions of Football Manager before, but you have played the regular PC iteration, the main difference is Touch is completely stripped down. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, as this version has been created for exactly this reason. The standard PC game is incredibly in-depth and allows you to take control of every resource you can think of. With each new game, comes new features and the level of detail only increases. Think of the Nintendo Switch version as something similar to the earlier versions of Football Manager (or even Championship Manager if you go slightly further back in time). When you didn’t need to get involved with setting up a corner routine or get really in-depth with training programmes for each player.
The Touch version of Football Manager allows you to finish seasons in a fraction of the time it does compared to the full version you find on PC and it is simply your own preference whether or not this is a good thing or a bad thing. The ability to have a game or two and simply put your Switch to sleep cannot be overstated. You might be somebody who doesn’t get a lot of time to turn on their PC or laptop and sit there for a couple of hours. Therefore, it might take a month or longer just to get through a single season. The caveat here, then, is that while the PC version is undoubtedly the best version of the game if you simply don’t have the time to pour into it, the Touch version is the next best thing.
One big downside that the Switch version has that the PC version has an answer for, is its licensing issues. There are only a select few players, clubs and competitions that have proper licensing. For example, if you check out Manchester City, you’ll notice that they have the official club badge on display and every player’s mugshot appears whenever you go to their page. If you check out other clubs, you’ll notice that they have a made-up club badge (usually just the club’s colours against a generic badge) and the players have a black silhouette where their faces should be. Some teams, such as Manchester United, aren’t even called Manchester United – instead, they’re called Man UFC. In fact, across the entire Premier League, only Manchester City and Brighton have their proper badge and player pictures. This somewhat diminishes the experience, as it makes the game feel less authentic when compared to EA Sports FC. On PC however, you can download unofficial picture packs that add all of these missing bits to the game.
If you have ever played a Football Manager game before – whether that be on PC, console or mobile device – and then played the next year’s Football Manager game, you’ll be aware that you just had to start a completely fresh game. You couldn’t transfer anything over, meaning if you had a save that you sunk tens, if not hundreds of hours into, you simply had to leave it behind if you wanted the new features of the newer release. With Football Manager 2024 Touch, one of the big new features means you can now take your old Football Manager 2023 Touch save and continue playing. If you already have a save file on your Switch from Football Manager 2023 Touch, this might make your decision to get Football Manager 2024 Touch a little easier, as you can continue your old save, whilst having most of the new features available to you.
All in all, if you have played any of the other Football Manager Touch games on the Nintendo Switch, then you will have a good understanding of what you are getting here. This is a game for the Football Manager player with less time on their hands than they used to – consider it Football Manager Lite. It’s a decent upgrade from last year’s version, but nothing more. So, if you were hoping for more, then maybe next year’s version – which the developers are touting as a new era – might be worth holding out for.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by SEGA