Early impressions of the game are good. The interface is polished with plenty of options and buttons to press. The game also features a pretty complete set of teams and players with all the usual statistics that you would expect from a football management game.
The key part of a football management is the match interface. Choosing your formation and assigning players to positions is incredibly easy with the touch interface. The actual view of the match is top down and feels really cramped on the small screen. Reading the text commentary is simple, but watching the tiny dots running around on the pitch is very difficult to follow. You cannot help but feel detached from the action.
Post-match you are often treated to a press conference where you pick a journalist who asks you a question. You then pick an answer from a number of options, trying to balance the happiness of your players, board, fans and the media. Different answers will improve your standing with some and reduce it with others. Oddly along with the text of each answer the game shows you the exact effect the answer will have. A really manager has to guess at how their answer will be interpreted, they don’t have a help set of red and green numbers.
I was quite surprised to see a football management game on the iPhone. Both Championship and Football Manager are well known for needing substantial amounts of CPU power and memory to run well even on a desktop PC. The game does run pretty well, although some of the menu transitions are a little sluggish. I’m sure it would run better on a 3GS rather than the 3G that I have. Another issue is that the game is a huge battery drain and you can probably only get an hour or so play on a fully charged phone.
While Championship Manager on the iPhone was never going to be a graphical marvel, but it is undoubtedly one of the most impressive games on the system. At just £2.99 it’s an excellent purchase.
Photo of a soccer ball by jbelluch.