Developer: Konami
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

With the World Cup looming, it’s the perfect time to indulge in some soccer (or football, for people like me) management. Which is presumably why PES Manager has just been released. It’s a soccer management game for those with limited time, not really dipping into the tactical depths that can be experienced in the Football Manager Handheld series. Throw in some convoluted menus and it’s kind of fun, but it’s tricky to pinpoint why.

pesmanager7Heavily focused on an RPG-style experience, PES Manager gives players the choice of numerous different types of matches. There’s the usual bunch of fairly low down matches to complete, but then there are friendly matches that unlock prize draws, and the special matches that are suitably special in terms of what one can gain. Ultimately though, the general experience is the same. Players set up their team, set a formation, and let them do the more interesting part.

There’s a choice of either watching the game unfold slowly or fast forwarding through everything but the key moments – something that one will find themselves doing a lot. It’s all quite hands-off and impersonal at this stage. That’s arguably what happens in any soccer management game but the exterior of PES Manager means that one never really feels in control off the pitch either.

Much like the console games, PES Manager‘s strength isn’t in its menu system, which proves to be somewhat confusing. It’s possible to train up individual players by combining cards and badges, but it’s something that makes more sense after trial and error than through the tutorial system.

pesmanager5On the plus side, persevere and there’s plenty going on. There are always new matches to tackle and it is somewhat satisfying when a tactic pays off. There’s an energy meter that restricts progress but leveling-up is pretty speedy early on and ensures that one becomes invested by the time that’s a problem.

PES Manager is Football Manager Handheld for the very impatient and at times, that’s all of us. That won’t stop one wanting the fine wine of the superior, earlier offering though.

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