Just about this time last year, our old friend Michael Rose (who currently does great things at IndieGames.com) wrote a review about the then little known game development management simulation game Game Dev Story. Soon after the game became one of the most popular smart phone games amongst gamers due to its subject matter and genuine fun. Seriously, it was a great game, proven by just how much Michael enjoyed it.
Since then, Japanese indie developers Kairosoft have gone on to release other simulation titles in the same style like Hot Springs Story (where you manage a popular Hot Springs inn), Grand Prix Story (where you manage a racing team) and, as of this week, Pocket League Story, a game which strives to bring soccer club management to smart phones.
So I’m not going to beat around the bush and go on and on about this or that. I mean, I will if you keep reading, but let me cut to the chase really quick: if you enjoyed any of Kairosoft’s other sim games, you will enjoy Pocket League Story. It’s as simple as that. The mechanics are the essentially the same.
Now that that’s out of the way I’ll resume with the traditional review…
Essentially what Pocket League Story is about is managing a soccer (football) club. Those of you, like myself, who are very passionate about the world’s game will find that many of the basic aspects of the sport are kept true in the game, something that’s very reassuring. For example, a win gets you three points, a draw 1 point and a loss no points. Sometimes games like this can tweak the original sport to make it better for casual gamers or non-sports fans. Luckily, Kairosoft did not. You are running a soccer club and you’re building your team to play honest, legitimate soccer.
What Kairosoft has done here is created one of the most perfect soccer management simulation games possible on a screen with very limited real estate on a platform that’s not really designed to hold your attention for a few hours worth of gameplay, as is the case with the PC’s fantastic Football Manager series (which has destroyed more hours of my life than I’d prefer to admit).
In the game you’ll be able to hire/negotiate with players, build new facilities, send out players on fan services (to create more fans) and, as you’d expect, play matches. It’s a remarkably simple system that is both easy to learn and understand, but also deep enough so that you feel like you have full control of managing a team. You can even fire and hire new coaches if you want.
Of course, the ultimate goal of the game is to win matches. Doing so requires training and leveling up your players with new skills. This is automatically done when players are simply milling about your training field, but you can also increase individual stats by giving them specialty training. This is especially helpful when you’re trying to give players key advantages in certain areas of the soccer field.
And then we have the coup de grace… once you’ve trained your players up you’ll naturally want to have them play a match. When this happens, you actually get to see your little players passing, crossing, and shooting for goals. It’s quite fun to watch and, at times, can almost feel just as nail biting as a real soccer match, especially if you have a lot on the line.
There’s a lot more to Pocket League Story than I could ever get into in a single review, but suffice it to say, it’s a great smart phone simulation game. If you enjoy those types of games, or even enjoy games like Football Manager, then you should probably check this one out. It’s been more than worth my investment.
Pocket League Story is available on Android right now for $4.99. It’s not yet available on iOS, but I would assume it’ll be there soon.
[Pocket League Story]