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Champ Man 16 - Should Football Manager be watching its back?

For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone

Ready for promotion

Product: Champ Man 16 | Publisher: Square Enix | Format: iPad | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Champ Man 16 iPad, thumbnail 1
Bournemouth are staying up and Arsenal are champions. If Champ Man 16 can be relied upon for a realistic simulation of the 2015/16 Premier League season, I'll be a very happy bunny come May.

I wasn't quite so delighted in the early stages of Square-Enix's mobile management sim, though.

Shaky start

Having balked at the 99p / 99c fee for the coaching badge required to take the reigns at the Emirates, I started the new campaign with seven straight defeats in charge at Bournemouth.

Such runs of form are the acid test when it comes to football management games. You need to be given the assurance that genuine tactical thinking can result in a change of fortune.

The transfer market shouldn't always be the first port of call, and the best rewards often come from the satisfaction of formulating your own internal solution through setting different training regimes or adapting your team's play style.

Colour me impressed, then, with both the game and myself, when a change of tack saw me settle on a formula effective enough to rise from the ashes and end the season in a respectable 12th position.

IAPs explained
Champ Man 16 is free to play but can be very affront with its IAPs.

You're immediately hit with the offer of a 99p / 99c coaching badge, which is required to manage any of the game's top clubs. Thankfully you can earn these badges through extended play.

Also on offer are CM$, which can be bought in packs of up to £34.99 / $49.99 in value. These are used to upgrade club facilities and increase transfer funds. It feels like cheating, so don't do it.
Formula for success

My only summer signing, the veteran Michael Essien, anchored the midfield in a similar manner to fellow old timer Esteban Cambiasso at Leicester last year, whilst those ahead of him inflicted ruthless counter attacks upon my opponents.

Rather than the ambitious 4-4-2 the game suggested I start with, I was now utilising a 4-3-3. Essien was supported by youthful energy in midfield and striker Calum Wilson was flanked by the pace of Christian Atsu and Max Gradel, who proceeded to score all the goals.

My side's impressive recovery even saw me offered the Norwich job.

I know, Norwich!

By allowing me to give the side an identity, and therefore recover from such a demoralising start, I was given plenty of reason to believe that Champ Man 16 possesses the strategic depth required to be more than just an occasional distraction.

It's not Football Manager, but it strikes a good balance between the accessibility expected by mobile gamers and the options needed to make victory feel rewarding.

Be the Roman Abramovic of mobile

Of course, mobile gamers have also become accustomed to in-app purchases, and Champ Man 16 has them in spades.

You can unleash your inner Manchester City and buy your way to glory by spending up to £34.99 / $49.99 on a pack of CM$ to boost your club’s transfer budget or facilities.

Although if you want to manage Manchester City yourself, you’ll have to pony up 99p / 99c for the aforementioned coaching badge.

There are also a fair number of intrusive ads, some of which you'll be rewarded for watching with in-game currency, and plenty of opportunities to bombard your Facebook friends with invites and offers if you're that sort of awful person.

If you can look past those issues inherent to so many mobile games, though, Champ Man 16 serves up a very capable alternative to Sports Interactive's behemoth.
Champ Man 16 - Should Football Manager be watching its back?
Reviewer photo
Tom Acres | 28 September 2015
Balances accessibility and depth for a fun, rewarding take on mobile management
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