The Soccer Player Manager 2016 (TSPM 2016) may be the most punk game I’ve ever played. It’s built with a DIY-ethos. It has a name which has terrible SEO. It’s obtuse for new players. And it’s one of the best things I’ve ever downloaded onto my phone (along with Leftöver Crack’s F*ck World Trade).
I discovered TPSM 2016 during promotion of Sensible Soccer Pro – whilst fishing for punters on Twitter with all sorts of hashtags appropriate for a retrogaming event showcasing the best of nineties football games, it was shared by the account for the Kick Off World fan community. So at their suggestion it only seemed right to check out TPSM 2016, which I downloaded for Windows Mobile. It’s pretty much on all mobile platforms if that wasn’t obvious, and is completely free can’t say I’ve come across any micro-transactions yet. For zero currency, what you get is a fan-made tribute to Kick Off, tacitly authorised by Kick Off Player Manager series author, Steve Screech.
Call it 20-16bit, because this year there is a raft of professional Sensi-ish remakes and reimaging. The headline title is Jon Hare’s Sociable Soccer, despite the cancellation of its Kickstarter. There’s also Super Arcade Football, developed by Wimbledon’s own OutOfTheBit studio. And Kick-Off’s other big name Dini Dini, is behind a professional re-make planned for release this year on for PlayStation platforms. All of this is tough competition for TSPM 2016, but as I said it’s free and is first out the gate. With that price, it’s definitely worth a try.
The game’s ‘problem’ can be chalked up to its very genesis. For those, like myself, who have never played Kick Off world, its a steep learning curve and one which does teach the lay gamer. Sure, there is a player manual; dealing with many of the mechanics of the game but gameplay loops aren’t taught and have to be worked out, through costly trial-and-error – for example, having played it in an Arcade style, the manager sim elements ground Walworth FC to a halt the beginning of their second season. The game would benefit from tutorials and or an arcade or management-lite feature.
But that would be my one complaint – it ran fine on the phone, graphics are wonderfully retro whilst clear and gameplay is fluid. If you’re looking for a football game for mobile whilst not give this go, after all it won’t cost you anything and like me, you might love it – and if you love its ethos maybe try some Leftöver Crack.
Featured image is a screenshot of The Soccer Player Manager 2016 found within post titled The Soccer Player Manager 2016 on the Touch Arcade forum.
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