- Developer: New Star Games
- Publisher: FiveAcesPublishing
- Release Date: 31/01/2019
- Price: £14.99 / $19.99
- Review code provided by BoomBit Games
New Star Manager
As somebody who has played a lot of football management sims in their time, the idea of New Star Manager appealed to me when I first heard that it was coming to Nintendo Switch. I’d like to point out that I have never dealt with this series before. I find the idea of mobile gaming as repugnant as loot boxes and micro transactions. Even Nintendo’s own offerings have as yet impressed me, Super Mario Run aside. Apologies for the deviation. The idea of a less intense management game on the go makes sense on so many levels. For the most part, football management games are all-consuming, completely and utterly able to dissipate entire days, with evenings and subsequent mornings merging in to one. For me, that’s not ideal for a portable management game, with Football Manager Touch – whilst being lightweight compared to it beefier PC brethren, proving that to much on the go can overwhelm and overstimulate, taking away any enjoyment in the process.
Enter New Star Manager
New Star Manager, from kick off is straight out of the blocks, pressing high up the field and crunching in to tackles. Its blend of seemingly in depth micro management, combined with an arcade aesthetic offers balance and accessibility and creates an experience that is completely suited for lost evenings and the quick matches at the bus stop alike. As it turns out, this title really lends itself to the hybrid nature of Nintendo’s hybrid system and is a lot of fun to play, whether for a single match, or an entire season – both of which I experienced. Unlike other manager games out there, where you can jump in as your beloved Arsenal, or even opt to try to take a terrible team, such as Tottenham for example, in New Star Manager you start as the aptly named New Star and must immediately save them from the cold hard clutches of relegation. After that, you are free to see how far you can take this fictitious football franchise. And herein lies my own personal grievance with this otherwise enjoyable game.
49, 49 undefeated
New Star Manager does things just a little bit differently. That’s not my issue – bear with me, we’re getting there. After all the planning, all the time spent on the training pitch, time spent improving backroom staff and finalising formations and personnel, when 3PM Saturday comes around, all the hard work is essentially eradicated at the very first moment.
New Star Manager uses an engine that lets you play out any key moments. A back and forth of possession will play out to a graph displaying key events. The opposition might dominate completely, even score a goal or two for good measure. Here’s the thing, when you eventually do have a chance – be it a free kick in a dangerous position or regaining possession in your own half, ready to spring a counter attack you WILL score. This is due to the fact that you control all the action, like a watered down version of FIFA.
The problem is, New Star Manager doesn’t operate in real time, or even have a timer of sorts. When you are in possession, time, along with the opposition, completely stops allowing you to plan where to send runners, followed by clever through balls into space, perhaps a little dribble and don’t worry, nobody will stop you as you can literally turn on a sixpence, and elude your marker entirely. If they do catch you, the chances are you will draw a foul anyway and then to quote Brendan Rodgers ‘we go again’.
Now all that is left is to put the ball in the net. Pick a corner, hit the ball deadpan and double tap Y.
Unfortunately this takes away an awful lot from the overall enjoyment of the game as it rather quickly becomes a case of going through the motions and advancing up the leagues. To put it into perspective I didn’t even suffer a draw, let alone a defeat until I’d progressed to League 2, making the Nationals seem like a waste of time entirely.
Grassroots and mobile offshoots
Whilst the presentation of New Star Manager is fine, it’s apparent that this is a glorified mobile title. The avatars of players and your assistant manager are cutesy but just a little clunky and everything looks like it would be right at home on your mobile device, not a system that can run something as gloriously incandescent as say Dark Souls. As well as the visuals, a lot of the gameplay elements feel as though they owe a lot to their humble roots on IOS and Android devices. Nearly everything to do with training and developing staff is done by applying various cards which are obtained through completing tasks. Whilst this does keep things simple and in tune with the harmony of the game it ensures that every aspect of this game is singing from the same hymn sheet. There are so many options for things such as controlling the angle of the camera – on the fly, to using touch or button commands.
New Star Manager is an addictive and entertaining title, albeit an incredibly flawed one. Due to the decadent ease of scoring goals, games don’t even remotely begin to feel as though they offer a challenge until you’re well into your third season. If this is intentional on the part of the developers, it does feel as though a two season tutorial stretches things a little finely and offering a challenge earlier would have helped to keep things fresh as, unfortunately for New Star Manager, it does lose some enjoyment as a result of this very quickly indeed. That being said, for a pick up and play experience more akin to a mobile title, to which New Star Manager plants its roots, this title offers an enjoyable and very laid back experience
- Easily accessible
- Pleasantly presented
- Easy to win
- Easy to win
- Can grow a little repetitive
- The actual management side of things often feels tacked on