In a bit of a shock move Sports Interactive and Sega announced and released Football Manager Touch 2018 on Nintendo Switch the other day. It's been a while since a console version of the series was released even if this release isn't a main series entry, but rather the somewhat scaled down Touch edition that's available on PC and mobile devices.
To be fair, it's a wise decision not to launch the full version on Switch. Touch offers the same sort of accuracy and depth, with fewer options which makes for a faster, more streamlined, and even then navigation was always going to be a concern
Let's be honest. Noone beats Sports Interactive when it comes to accurately representing the management aspect of football. The depth of the database and the research that has gone into it over the years is simply a treasure chest for fans and it's no wonder that it is being used by certain real-world teams in order to assist their own scouting. But the real question here is whether the Nintendo Switch is a good platform for the game and whether the game runs at acceptable speeds and controls well on the platform.
At first it's a pure delight to boot up Football Manager Touch 2018 on Switch. It's quick and responsive and the large screen offers enough pixel density and real estate for the massive amounts of stats the game contains. There are three modes you'll choose from in the start menu, Career, Create-A-Club, and Challenge. The former is easy enough to explain, and it's the main mode here. Create-A-Club lets you be creative and make a club from scratch. Challenge, on the other hand, is perhaps the most notable mode and it's one a great fit for those looking for a more focused quick fix of Football Manager as it allows you to take on a specific challenge (go undefeated, use a squad of young wonderkids, survive an injury nightmare, etc) that is well suited for those of you who like to use your Switch in handheld mode. These challenges come at different difficulties, and on top of that, the team you choose to play as also adds a layer of extra difficulty. We tried to remain undefeated with Barnsley (who apparently had gone 36 league games undefeated while only scoring 28 goals, which must be some kind of a record) from March and until the end of the season. We failed early on, but that was to be expected.
There are some bits of the interface that had to be compromised, for instance, you'll need to scroll your list of substitutes in the tactics screen during a match and similar concessions have been made elsewhere. You simply cannot fit the same amount of information on screen here as you'd see on PC or even a tablet. Still, what's here is plenty and in fact, while the game uses touchscreen functionality it quickly dawned on us that that's not the best way of playing the game, simply cause even with nimble little fingers such as our own we were prone to making mistakes. Instead, the game offers a couple of systems, one being a cursor that you can move around the screen rather effortlessly with the left stick and a selection of quick keys, like opening up the menu with L (your shoulder button) or accepting most options by pressing Y.
We'd say Football Manager Touch 2018 is a successful port of the lighter version of the game onto Nintendo Switch. We do miss some of the more advanced options available in the main game, and the user interface isn't a perfect fit. Nevertheless, the swift load times and fast processing offered by the console ensures an enjoyable experience with the most in-depth and accurate football database there is.