7 Reviews

Football Manager Handheld 2010 - iPhone

Hugging the (iPod)Touchline

November 27th, 2006. The day liberty was taken by the horns - and productivity told in no uncertain terms "you and I are going to have to get reacquainted".

My on/off addiction to Football Manager had previously come in waves; a Christmas break here, a lost Bank Holiday Monday there. But in the three months preceding that most myopically important of dates, my relationship with Sports Interactive's baby had gotten, well, unhealthy.

I'd regularly nod off, post-midnight, sat bolt upright in bed - illuminated by a laptop screen showing Hull City's training regime, the declination of a work permit or some other vitally important factoid.

And the worst part? Despite FM being directly responsible for the dark shadowland under my eyes, my over reliance on caffeine and fictional football chatter becoming the only water cooler topic in my arsenal, I never once stopped loving it.

All REM-ruining things must come to an end, however. And so it was my hard copy of FM 2007 was symbolically plunged into the bin - as I pledged never to return to the series' intoxicating realm of anorak-pleasing algorithms and 'add your own mind-graphics' match engine.

It was a purging of a true addiction; a wave goodbye to procrastination and an acknowledgement that it was high time to transpose some of my virtual Fergie- and Wenger-conquering stratagems to the most troubling match of all: Real life.

Despite keeping abreast of the progression of the series, the introduction of (shock!) ACTUAL 3D GRAPHICS and other such neat touches, I've stuck by my promise to avoid FM ever since.

Until now, that is. When the opportunity to test drive Sega's iPhone version of Football Manager Handheld cropped up, I allowed my resolve to bend. After all, I reasoned, surely it doesn't offer the same beautiful human pitfalls as its big brother? It's a distraction on a mobile phone, a mini-burger of the dugout experience, a non-game. It's an app for Christ's sakes.

More fool me. After spending a two weeks glued to it, I can directly blame missed tube destinations, scornfully-received silent car journeys and paranoia-alerting public fist pumps on its existence. Moreover, I can also report that it's bloody excellent.

EARLY DOORS
FM Handheld makes quite incredible use of the iPhone hardware to offer something lacking in nearly every other title available on Apple's pocket warmer: Real choice.

Whether it's taking the reins of teams from across 34 leagues - including all UK tables, as well as France, Spain, Portugal, Brazil and more - or diving into the bewilderingly huge player search function, FM on iPhone is a head-bendingly complex beast, delivered in an outstandingly straightforward package.

Zoom

The immensity of the player database is perhaps FM Handheld's most impressive feature - and its defining victory over rival mobile-based football tactics titles.

Over 20,000 players are available for perusal, of which the true gems can only be found by gainfully employing your scouts.

Hours can be lost instinctually digging out bargains before a ball is even kicked. The customisable player search filter is perfectly judged - giving you more than enough options to find the sharp shooter or defensive rock you require, with fields including age, wage, position and contract status to tinker with.

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