This is my first experience of Champ Manager on the iPhone. I always used to play the original version on the PC before sports interactive went its own way and developed football manager, which i felt was the better game. This year the iPhone version of Champ was developed by beautiful game studios and is very different from the PC version. In a good way!
Last year i bought football manager for the iPhone, and it was an easy to pick up game. This year I am lucky enough to have a copy of CM2011 to review for iPhone, and I have to say, beautiful game studios have done a great job with it. It has a fast loading time and literally within a minute or 2 of starting, you are in your role and approaching players for your chosen club.
The interface is very easy to use, icons on the main screens with a slidable dock for different sections of the game. e.g. squad, fixtures training etc. it benefits greatly from using the iPhones main “single click” to select feature when swapping players etc. rather than having to slide a player out, and then slide someone into their place (something which frustrated me with FM2010)
Obviously due to computing/space/time restraints, it is not the full package as you would play on the PC, but you don’t want to have to spend hours on tactics or transfer negotiations when you are playing this on the bus, in bed or even in the loo at work!
Disappointingly there was no Fraser Forster in goals for Celtic and I had to make do with Zaluska or Cervi until I could bring in a suitable replacement! Although Samaras has missed a slew of chances in the first few months of the season so far, so 10/10 for realism there! Although having just typed that, He has just scored a hat trick in an 8-0 demolition of Aberdeen. This is my only slight annoyance with the game so far, one game you can beat Aberdeen 8-0 and the next game you are struggling to get a 1-1 draw with Hibernian, playing a full season will probably give a better idea of the games AI.
When you are playing a game, you get a nice little 3d style pitch display showing your players and then your oppositions players in their positions on the park, but the “match” itself uses only a summary of stats and very basic ball movement.
One of the main features that i enjoyed was the press conference where you get to select a question from several reporters. When you give your answer to their question, it will change the rating of the fans, the board or even the media, so choose your responses carefully!
The game is also openfeint enabled, so you can get achievements ingame and compare stats on the leaderboards or against friends. Realistically the game is designed with the casual gamer in mind, it’s on the iPhone so you aren’t going to replicate the detail or the pc experience, but as it is so easy to just pick up and play, it’s all you really need or want when you are commuting to work etc.
Championship Manager 2011 iPhone is available now on iTunes, priced £3.99.
Reviewed by Vagelis Georgariou