Anyone who reads my reviews knows that I am a geeky dork who spends his days consuming copious amounts of anime and manga. Back during my teenage years I did however pursue more “manly” hobbies. Specifically speaking, I was a football fanatic who would watch practically every match Sky Sports would air. As with most sports I was hopeless at playing the beautiful game, but on the virtual field I was a goal scoring superstar hero when it came to Sensible Soccer. Aside from Sensi I also enjoyed management sims such as Premier Manager. The first sports management game I ever played was Football Manager on my dad’s Commodore 64. Kevin Toms, the talented chap who coded Football Manager, is still releasing footie games to this day. Motivated by nostalgia I decided to give his recent iOS release a go.
Anyone seeking state of the art graphics should steer well clear of Kevin Toms Football, as the game’s aesthetics are purely retro. In this latest venture Toms revisits his past by mimicking the visuals found in the original Football Manager – a game programed entirely in BASIC. Wow, that’s rather impressive. The best my crummy BASIC skills can muster is making a smiley face run across the screen. Still, who cares about graphics? Management simulators are essentially glorified spreadsheets, so my only concern is if the game is any fun to play. Well I am pleased to report that, despite lacking the complexity of Sport Interactive’s PC management offerings, Mr Toms has once again delivered a game that budding coaches will find highly addictive.
Kevin Toms Football is a soccer title that loosely simulates the English league. Presumably, to make seasons go by more quickly, the divisions are made up of just sixteen clubs and the fixture list only requires that teams play each other once (rather than home and away.) If you’d rather manage in La Liga fear not as the game comes bundled with a handy editor that allows you to rename all of the teams. You can even rename the roster of players to keep the data current with real life transfers… or if you want to have fun you could christen the footballers after your friends and family. Given that I am a self proclaimed otaku I could not resist calling my top striker Captain Tsubasa (star of a classic anime that featured guys who could rip apart goal nets with their fierce kicks.)
For all intents and purposes Kevin Toms Football is an enhanced version of the legendary Football Manager. From a tactical point of view it’s nice that you can pick what formation you wish to play, rather than just naming a starting eleven (this comes in handy for marking opposition players.) Be wary of picking players out of position though, as this will negatively impact their performance. Players will also underperform if they are injured so rotating your squad is always a sound strategy. Once a match kicks off the action is presented via a bird’s eye view, which easily trumps the stickmen highlight reel found in the original Football Manager. The player AI sometimes does weird stuff though. During my management tenure I witnessed keepers trying to score goals and players run off the pitch (presumably to kung-fu kick a heckler in the stands.)
My final rating for Kevin Toms Football is three and a half stars. The only real negative that comes to mind is the game’s simplistic transfer market. It would be nice if you could be more proactive in bolstering your squad. At the time of writing the only way of acquiring new talent is by accepting/rejecting weekly trades proposed by rival teams. That minor quibble aside, I had a lot of fun playing this App. Current gen management games are too time consuming for my tastes, so it’s nice to find a game were I can breeze through a season without worrying about inconsequential stadium improvements or talking to the press. The speedy matches work well for a mobile game meant to be played on the go and the price is just right. £1.49 for hours of fun beats buying expensive FIFA Ultimate Team packs any day.