Nintendo Pocket Football Club

This 3DS download is an extremely simplified football management sim, but it has a unique charm that brings your squad to life.

Nintendo Pocket Football Club review

"Making games isn't a process of just adding more and more until you have something amazing. Rather, the aim is to be able to take things away and yet ensure it still works." Satoru Iwata was talking about Nintendo Pocket Football Club with creator Hiroyuki Sonobe, but his words could equally apply to the other football management game of the moment, as Football Manager 14 Classic arrives on Vita.

Sonobe's claim that he "[doesn't] really want to create full simulations" would suggest a game diametrically opposed to the Football Manager way of doing things - after all, few games recreate a real sport in quite such exhaustive detail. And yet by stripping the game to its essentials for Football Manager 2013's Classic mode, Sports Interactive enjoyed its healthiest sales in years. The full simulation remained for those who liked to dig a little deeper, while dabblers could ignore the day-to-day minutiae of running a football club and focus their attention on match day.

Nintendo Pocket Football Club offers an even more reductive approach - and for many, it might just take away too much. Other than the half-time interval, there's no way to change your tactics during a game without making a substitution. You can't set individual player strategies, and while you can highlight up to three potential dangers in your pre-match briefing, you won't be able to assign specific players to man-mark them. There's no way to define set-piece tactics beyond selecting individuals to take penalties, free-kicks or corners. You'll never deal with the media or your chairman, and you can't discipline players for poor performances or reward them for good ones.

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