The Wii U was pretty starved of football experiences, with just the one FIFA game released on launch day and one or two lesser known titles on its eShop. Fortunately, the Switch has been more lucky in this department, with New Star Manager a new, lesser known release.
With Manager in the title, you have a clue as to what sort of football game this is. The gameplay as pertains to the actual matches is a pretty simplified down version of the Football Manager Touch experience (or the sim match experience in FIFA) just with the slight difference of you being able to play the key attacking moments for your side. You’ll pick your side, apply tactical cards which are unlocked using credits (more on these later) and then watch the clock race to ninety minutes as you tinker with the substitutions, formations, tactics and occasionally leap into action to control the team whenever the game decides you should take over.
Off the field you have a decent amount of micro-management work to stay on top of. You start the game with minimal facilities, but by using credits which are earned from the sale of players, good performances on the field and by meeting targets set by the board and sponsors, you can purchase and upgrade your stadium, as well as fitness and training facilities to improve your team’s stats, and a club shop to rake in some more income. You can go from what is to all intents and purposes a Sunday league setup to a Premier League one if you put in the time and investment as well as the performances on the pitch.
Opportunities come to earn more credits when you field interviews from the press – rather than the trash-talking session that this allows for in FIFA, interviews in New Star Manager are more of a quiz testing what you know about your team, to make sure you’re paying attention. You’ll be asked the name of your scout, what level your training facility is at and other questions which would be a stab in the dark if you weren’t paying attention. Otherwise, some are straight memory questions, showing you good answers highlighted in green and bad in red, and then mixing them up and getting you to recall them.
What is impressive is that you can take your New Star team into the league pyramid of a wide range of different leagues. This writer, being from Wales, chose the Welsh league, and there were a bunch of real-life sides to take on. Of course, the real player images and likenesses were never going to be in this sort of game, but when you spend so much time actually watching the action on the pitch, that doesn’t really matter. This is a basic experience but fun enough – but certainly no FIFA challenger.
New Star Manager
New Star Manager is a lighter take on the Football Manager experience. Influencing the key attacking moments yourself is a neat touch, but it’s not deep enough to offer a sizeable challenge to its more well-known contemporaries.