The year hasn’t even really picked up yet and your team is already flirting with relegation? Think you could do better? Prove it with these tactical games…
This one isn’t just concerned with what happens on the pitch. You spend time in CYOA-style sections working on your relationship with the club owner (and, er, his wife), winning tactical cards to use during matches. Sharp humour presents a cynical take on the game, although matches drag a bit – you’ll wish there were more drama and less football. Still, worth a shot.
Kevin Toms Football Manager
Should you fancy something really retro, this one takes you back to the source. Kevin Toms was responsible for the original Football Manager, released in 1982 on the Tandy TRS–80. This isn’t a pure port, but it echoes the original’s simplicity and idiosyncrasies (such as the way player skill levels vary season by season), and even includes crude highlights.
New Star Manager
Free (IAPs) / iOS
This follow-up to the acclaimed New Star Soccer is potential bliss for any armchair manager who gets frustrated whenever some idiot fluffs a shot. Here, not only do you get control over a beleaguered team, but you’re also hands-on during key on-pitch moments, guiding players into position and tapping the ball in precisely the right place to ensure it ends up in the net. No pressure, then.
Harking back to the 16-bit era, this one recalls Player Manager and Sensible Soccer. You manage a team but also play entire games, hoofing the ball between dinky teammates. The gameplay’s not as fast as in those old classics, giving you a fighting chance; and your phone’s pocketability is an obvious plus overhauling about an old Amiga and CRT TV.
Rumble Stars Football
The notion of unruly footballers being akin to animals might belong to another era, but the players here are literally lions, pandas and the like (along with the odd explosive device). Your task is to fire them into play at the optimum moment, to thwart your online opposition’s plans. It’s Clash Royale meets Subbuteo meets The Jungle Book. This really is a funny old game.
Football Manager 2020
Touch If you’ve played Football Manager on PC you’ll know what you’re in for here, since this is effectively the same title. It can be a bit spreadsheet-tastic but there’s no denying the sheer depth of this sim, as you dig into everything from tactics to transfers. You’ll need a powerful tablet… or try the stripped-back Football Manager 2019 Mobile for half the price.