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Football Manager Handheld 2013

For: Android   Also on: iPhone, iPad
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World class

Product: Football Manager Handheld 2013 | Developer: Sports Interactive | Publisher: Sega | Format: Android | Genre: Simulation, Sports | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Football Manager Handheld 2013 Android, thumbnail 1
The Football Manager series is all about stories. Beneath the seemingly impenetrable stats and spreadsheets lies a game with the power to turn bundles of numbers into heroes and villains, calculations into tales of failure and glory.

This has always been the case, but with Football Manager Handheld 2013 the scope of these stories has been broadened with a raft of new additions.

Back of the net

Now you can pluck players from reserve team obscurity and thrust them into the first team limelight, you can reward deserving leaders with the captain's badge, and you can interact with the media to an increased degree in order to help shape the club's narrative in the papers.

All of this filters into the number-crunching FM 2013 pulls off behind the scenes to determine your success, but it also contributes to the game that plays out in your head, strengthening and adding depth to the emergent stories it allows you to create.

In lesser hands this increased complexity could come at the price of usability, but thanks to FM 2013's masterly menu system you'll rarely feel drowned in options. Indeed, at least one significant step has been made to make the game even easier to play.

Liquid football

In the previous iteration of Football Manager you were forced to awkwardly jump back and forth between player profiles in an attempt to compare attributes. It was one of FM 2012's most annoying shortcomings.

FM 2013 addresses this with the addition of a single player-comparison screen, presenting all of the salient details in one place. It may sound like a fairly dull addition, but for would-be wheeler dealers it makes navigating the transfer market considerably easier.

And considering that's what many managers spend their time doing, it's an important inclusion. While it's still a long way off the featureset of the PC version, Football Manager Handheld is slowly catching up.

Eat my goal

Not that the game is focused entirely on replicating its big brother. The handheld edition also includes features specifically designed to play to the strengths of the platform.

To that end, Challenges return, offering relatively short, pressured scenarios in which you have to prove your managerial nous away from the time-consuming main career. There are seven in total, only one of which is new: The Dangers of Capitalism.

It's a decent addition, charging you with avoiding the sack as your director strips the club of resources, but such is the strength of Challenges that further scenarios (or indeed a whole new set) would have been welcome.

Traction engine

In-app purchases also make their debut in FM 2013, giving you the opportunity to unlock the Challenges in any order and providing a variety of shortcuts and preferable situations, like a 'Sugar Daddy' chairman to pump money into the club.

Some players may want to invest, but slapped into a game that already sports a hefty price tag the IAP options feel tacked on. It's an addition driven by entirely by money rather than improving the player experience, and as such adds little.

Regardless, the basic FM 2013 package is fantastically good value for money, offering hours upon hours of deep, rewarding gameplay. The very pinnacle of its genre, Football Manager Handheld 2013's own story is one of deserved triumph.
Football Manager Handheld 2013
Reviewer photo
Lee Bradley  | 17 December 2012
With some essential new features, the best football management sim on mobile just got even better
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