"I know it's the geeky way to appreciate soccer but..."
One could argue that soccer (or football outside the US) is the most popular sport in the world due to its simplicity. There is no need for special equipment, as anything kickable can be a ball and any place can be a playing field. In the case of FM24 Touch, we see a completely different side of the beautiful game through a complex and absolutely addictive management experience that will deeply satisfy fans who yearn to control every behind-the-scenes aspect of the sport.
Football Manager is known to be a high-quality franchise where players manage every aspect of a team. This year’s game, FM24 Touch, brings the same level of quality and control that fans have come to expect from the series. Football Manager is to soccer games as Nobunaga’s Ambition or Romance of the Three Kingdoms is to strategy games: micromanaging, number-crunching, and absolute control of every little detail. You won’t directly control the players during the games, but they’ll certainly be following your instructions.
As a newcomer to this franchise, I can happily say that my fears of feeling overwhelmed were unfounded. The game not only provides great tutorials to fully understand the mechanics (even going as far to provide tutorials about soccer itself) but you can also fully customize how many areas you want to manage. For example, if you don’t want to scout for new players and would rather focus on training your current team, you can choose so. The flexibility of control is fantastic for new players who may want to experience, little by little, everything FM24 Touch has to offer.
The game includes licenses for the most important soccer leagues in the world (with the expected exception of the EA-sponsored Spanish league) and every UEFA competition, including the UEFA Champions League. Numerous countries are represented, but sadly, many others are left out. Unfortunately, this also extends to national teams, which means you can only coach certain countries. I understand why some leagues aren’t represented, but I fail to grasp why some national teams have been left out. Nonetheless, you have access to a great variety of clubs, so you can take control of behemoths like Bayern München or Manchester United to try to win the Champions, or instead take on a challenge and start with a humble third division team in England, like Wycombe Wanderers, and work your way to reach the Premier League one day.
The richness of customization in the game means that you can lead your small team and work on young players with the goal of creating a great group in a couple of years. You can also try to sell some of them, then purchase great, established superstars to brighten your squad. In FM24 Touch you can lead however you see fit, which is undoubtedly one of its biggest strengths.
FM24 Touch features three modes: Career, Create-A-Club, and Challenge. Within these modes you can choose to play in three ways: Original (with current squads from the beginning), Real World (with transfers happening in the same day they happen in the real world), and Your World (with squads being accurate to July 2023, but no changes happening thereafter). The game recommends Career and Original for newcomers, and after trying the different modes, I agree with that recommendation. The experience is really fun when not subjective to real-life transfers, but with transfers still happening. Create-A-Club is better for experienced players, as there are many more aspects to take care of. Similarly, Challenge is centered on players who are very familiar with the game mechanics, as you’re tasked with specific goals such as working on a limited budget, avoiding relegation, or managing egos in the locker room.
Being a simulation game, you have to be aware that even if a player has a high number in a given stat, they may still perform poorly, just like in real life. High numbers only represent a higher possibility of achieving success, so as long as that is understood, the level of frustration of losing a game against the worst ranked team in your division won’t be too overwhelming.
The presentation in FM24 Touch is serviceable. Graphics are really not that important, as you’re just watching the highlights of players scoring, or almost scoring. In fact, you can just skip the games and go directly to the results. You would miss on giving pep talks or changing instructions on the fly, but it is a great option if you just want to focus on the numbers and data. I preferred to watch the games, as it was quite thrilling to see players performing the plays that you worked on, and every missed chance stokes your emotions, just as it would if you were watching your favorite team play. Creating that level of engagement is another superb strength of the game.
As for the audio/visual side of things, music and sound are pretty much null and the game glitches sometimes in some menus, which is very frustrating as you have to go to a different section in order to remove the glitch. That said, these were not game-breaking bugs, but rather mildly annoying.
Managing is hard, complex, and multi-faceted, and FM24 Touch brings all those characteristics to the Switch in an extremely customizable package that eases newcomers into the addictive world of min-maxing stats within dozens of menus. If you have ever dreamed of bringing your vision to life on a soccer field, this is your best chance due to the incredible attention to detail that Football Manager packs in.
Christian’s a fan of long lists, Pokémon, SMT, Advance Wars, Xenoblade Chronicles, Splatoon, S/JRPGs, VNs...
When not solving mysteries in Ace Attorney or doing supports in Fire Emblem, he can be found doing math or learning languages.