Price: premium subscription
Single player online football manager that offers several game modes and wide range of configuration options, so each time you play it you will get different game.
Most of the online football manager games offer only multiplayer option, which has its strong and weak points. The weak being for example the fact you are joining an ongoing game with established time schedule and you have to adapt to it. It’s fine when you get to the start of the season, but if you are starting in the middle of the season and your team is already heading towards relegation it could be quite discouraging. And another thing - you want to just jump into action and turn the things around and then you discover that after 30 minutes of operations... you have to wait 6 days to see actual results of your activity.
Such experiences were behind the idea of that game - a single player online football manager game, in which you don’t have to wait for other players, you define the game difficulty and many other parameters that changes the gameplay (according to creators there are over 100,000 combinations of start settings).
For each game you will be given procedurally generated set of players and clubs, you will compete in 3 division league (12 teams in each division) in one of the over 180 countries of your choice. Apart from league games you will play in domestic cup and international cup.
Only your own country is fully simulated, foreign teams play some role in the game as the source of transfer offers and players.
Player parameters range is slightly different in different game modes. The player overall skills are rated using one value (between 1 and 10) and his technical skills (value between 1 and 5) include tackling, ball control, pace, passing, heading, shooting, tactical and set pieces (plus their equivalent for goalkeepers).
Additional parameters include such aspects of the player as fitness, nature, style, charisma, intellect, form, team fit (how well the player fit with his team members), experience, strong and weak points.
The interesting bit is that the player skills are not fully known to you on signing him up (they require scout report), after few games he will play for you his full data is revealed, which adds some edge to the transfers.
Apart from basics (transfers, extending contracts) there are options to send player to reserve team, to medical tests, on fitness restoration course, actively search for buyer.
SMFC Pro game mode offers extended player info that includes his match statistics and career records.
In some casual game modes training options are not available (f.e. skill increase or decrease is based on player ratings during the season), in others you have up to 10 activity points to spare on different training sessions. After each session you will get the report which players gained and how much during the session, but also which one was injured during the training (which will happen even during regeneration).
You have access to available players list, but also there are other options to find players. One of them is signing amateur players (which are poor) or send your scout abroad searching for talents in country of your choice. Also youth teams are good place to look for reinforcements.
Transfer window closes after about half of the season, which puts a bit of strain on your plans.
Only basic options are available - you choose the lineup and on what kind of offensive actions your team should be concentrating (long shots, play through center, play on the wings).
Match report offers text description of the match events and quite detailed match statistics for each player (offensive and defensive duels won, shots on target, ball losses, passes completed, etc).
Apart from player management you are in charge of signing sponsorship deal (in Pro mode also stadium advertising deals), set ticket prices, set budget on youth scouting network, the means your team will take to get to away games (bus, plane, etc).
Stadium capacity can be increased plus some of the stadium elements can be improved (seats quality, safety, club shop, etc).
Staff actually plays important part in the game. You can hire assistant manager, head coach, reserve coach, club physio, scout and youth teams coordinator. I said "you can", but in fact it is rather "you should" because only with certain staff member or in some cases good enough staff member you will gain access to some of the data.
For example without scout you will not have access to free agent players on the transfer list or players from minor foreign teams. Without assistant manager you will not see the budget prognosis or team fit parameter of your players. Without club physio you won’t know exactly how long your player will be injured.
Another nice element is the fact that you can send your staff members to courses that will (most likely) improve their skills, which opens another dimension to the team building.
There is no multiplayer option as such, there is only global ranking, where you can see how well you played comparing to other users that started with similar settings.
At this moment (version 0.4) the game does not look great, but it is based on interesting concept - player team fit parameter plays a very important role, it defines how well the player understands rest of the team and is increased for each player when he plays in official games or drops a little if he is off the lineup. This alone forces you to plan ahead and have a long term strategy. This makes the transfers even harder - while signing new players can improve your team new players will need some time to fit in with the rest of the players. And to make things even harder once in a while your top players might want to leave, so to fill the gap you will need to, again, have long term strategy or start the team consolidation from the beginning.
One of the game modes, Retro Casual, offers chance to play a copy of retro football manager game, where you have limited informations about your players and to make things a bit weirder it is set in year 1982, which means the world is still separated by Cold War. It doesn’t seem like much, but believe me it changes a lot - you have players from Soviet Union on the transfer market, but you might have problems signing them, not to mention that there are still 2 points for a win in a league game.
Overall game with potential that with time could be interesting alternative to PC football manager games.
Rating: 4 based on 1 votes
Santa Monica FC Online