Despite being normally associated with the PC world, the managerial genre could ideally adapt very well to mobile use and this Soccer Manager 2022 review it shows how, at least by someone, concrete results are emerging in the exploitation of the formula also in this area. Available on iOS and Android, the game is part of a series now quite consolidated between smartphones and tablets, but also on PC and Mac, since the origin starts from the desktop version, as an indie response and free-to-play to the overwhelming power of Football Manager. There is therefore now a well-established basis under the increasingly complex and refined mechanics of the last few chapters, with the structure that now goes on above all for increases in content rather than substance.
To be sure, there are no huge changes in Soccer Manager 2022 compared to the previous edition, which you can learn more about by reading our Soccer Manager 2021 review.
However, in a game like this, even the simple advancement between seasons with consequent updates of squads, names and regulations, all on FIFPRO license obviously makes the difference and the fact that it is still offered as free-to-play leads to a practically automatic passage of users from one chapter to the next, as long as total saturation has not been reached.
We know well how football managerial, especially in a land of football fans, however, has an irresistible attraction, which is why it is easy to overlook the scarcity of news and the unfortunate consequences of the freemium model to jump on to this other edition as well.
Gameplay: a club in your pocket
It is impressive the amount of options and facets that Soccer Manager 2022 manages to bring to the small screens of smartphones, staging a gameplay which is equivalent to that of other major and noble productions, although with some changes made to meet monetization in a free-to-play style. It is always about coaching and managing a football team, both from the point of view of the pitch and in terms of controlling the finances and the general health of the club, trying to obtain ever better sporting results.
The game concentrates in the hands of the users an enormous amount of statistics to keep under control and options with which to interact, managing to always remain quite clear thanks to ainterface which, already designed to work best on portable displays, is even more optimized and clearer in this edition.
From this point of view, we must praise the streamlining carried out in terms of reading and navigation, although there has been no lightening in the options, which have actually increased: unlike the previous chapter, in this case there is no longer vertical scrolling but everything is visible on a single screen, with the ability to quickly switch from one to the other with side swipes.
Through these menus, which are the heart of the game, we must control the fate of the team by taking care of transfer market and bargaining with the players, training sessions based on different characteristics, developing the form and tactics of the game and of course directing the team during the actual match.
Changes: between game systems and technique
In addition to the improvements applied to the interface, which appear immediately evident, there has also been a certain evolution in the graphics related to the games, with more varied and detailed stadiums and better animations for the players, although obviously this remains a minor part and is still somewhat subdued compared to football games more set on action. The most notable technical evolution is then probably found in the management ofartificial intelligence, which now proposes both more difficult opponents (even too much in several cases, with suspected influences on the issue of micro-transactions) and more reactive players. By this we do not only mean on the pitch, but also in the management phases: the dynamics of the team, the chemistry between the players and also the reactions that they can have based on their performances have been better elaborated. Requests for contract adjustments or "stomach ache" due to incompatibility with the team emerge in a more convincing way and force us to take into consideration further managerial aspects.
Also the progression of the coach himself represents a notable novelty of this chapter, which allows you to apply experience points to increase the statistics of our alter ego, as in a sort of role-playing game.
At the beginning we can choose between three standard types of managers: the coach more focused on physical work, the tactics specialist and finally the financial genius, but starting from these basic archetypes it is then possible to evolve the character by applying points to increase statistics and improved in various respects by personalizing our coach. Finally, other changes concern the introduction of extra-league tournaments, which can be used to test modules and formations as well as to earn some extra money, and some changes to the player transfer system, which to be honest is still rather confusing and unclear, with the introduction of additional agreements and pre-contracts.
The consequences of free-to-play
It is not easy to assess, in a few days of testing, the actual impact of microtransactions on the balance of Soccer Manager 2022, which all in all seems pretty fair. Also in this chapter we have to face forced expectations regarding the construction and improvement times of the structures, which also makes sense, while the presence of advertisements is rather intrusive, which can still be eliminated by making at least the basic purchase from 5,99 EUR. The latter can be considered an acceptable agreement to be able to enjoy the game in a more peaceful way and paying a rather low price: the problem is that the monetization system is in any case inherent in the mechanics of the game and sooner or later emerges, especially as regards the management of bonuses and boosts, as well as additional save slots, which then partly affect the general balance by pushing towards in-app purchases.
CommentTested version Android 1.0.6 Digital Delivery App Store, Google Play Price Free Resources4Gaming.com
Soccer Manager 2022 continues precisely in the path traced by its predecessors, carrying out some functional evolutions but without distorting practically anything, while also maintaining the defects and risks inherent in its free-to-play structure. However, it remains one of the most profound managerial that can be found in the mobile field, returning to all effects a truly complete experience of the genre in the portable version, in this chapter with further improvements made to usability thanks to the new interface and an interesting increase in 'artificial intelligence. Some doubts about the balance and the potential pay to win drift remain, given the uncertainty of certain performances, but in general there is a certain general fairness in the progression.
- Deep and multifaceted like a complete PC manager
- Improvements to the interface and artificial intelligence compared to the previous chapter
- The sense of progression is more marked
- The free-to-play model involves some long-term imbalances that lead to microtransactions
- Some slightly bizarre passages, such as transfers and the like
- The interface is much more navigable but some elements remain a bit microscopic