soccer manager 2020 Review and Guides
Everything you need to know
Is it worth playing?
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Soccer Manager 2020 is a single-player mobile sports management simulation game that came out at the start of 2020. While video games in this genre usually compete in whoever will get the freshest and the most accurate data pack to mirror the real sports scene (real players, stats, scores, etc) we very rarely see a leap ahead in terms of gameplay or style. Players are focused on tactics and how to best use the data presented in the game. However, a developer attempts to push a particular trend past its limits, and this game might be it.
This is “Soccer” Manager 2020, not “Football Manager”, so please make sure you are in the right place…
SM 2020 is developed and published by Soccer Manager Ltd. Yeah, that’s their name, literally… Leaves no room for error, we assume, with so many games being titled similarly in this genre. And, that’s “Soccer” Manager 2020, not “Football Manager”, so please make sure you are in the right place. This studio is behind such titles as Football Clash: All Stars, F2 Target Tekkers, and they also dished out Soccer Manager Worlds, which is a multiplayer manager game from 2016.
Soccer Manager 2020 has had a successful run since its release date on January 29, 2020. On Google Play, the current voting score stands at a very good 4.2 stars, with over 110 thousand people voting and over 1 million people downloading and playing the game. The game got even better reception on the iTunes App Store, where it currently stands at 4.5 stars out of several thousand votes. And, in case you are wondering, the multiplayer version of the game, Soccer Manager Worlds, also has an overwhelmingly good rating on both stores, 4.4 on the App Store and 4.0 on Google Play currently. However, it is a 4-year-old game and is no longer updated.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
As it is traditional in the genre, the player takes the seat as the chairman of a selected club…
Sports manager simulation games attract players who like to look at data, organize teams, analyze figures, and play the all-important role behind the scenes. In this respect, Soccer Manager 2020 has it all and it even improves the experience with a few editions. As it is traditional in the genre, the player takes the seat as the chairman of a selected club. You assume control of every aspect of your club, all but actually playing soccer, but you affect this part as well as you need to know your players and club workings inside out. This game manages to put some life into the endless data packs overflowing the screen by allowing a 3D/2D view of the match, and you can choose to view only highlights or some more details, or you can even sit back, relax, and watch the whole game.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
All the hallmarks of a standard sports managerial video game are here, literally all…
All the hallmarks of a standard sports managerial video game are here, literally all. The UI handles the touchscreen control touch input well, with easy to tap and access sections on-screen. The player can access data packs for all aspects of the soccer club they control, including financials, players, training, and other managerial things. You have insight into everything, including which of your players are on loan, what’s the current condition of your players at home, their morale, and a lot more. The gameplay is organized in turns, sort to say, where the player sets things up and then chooses to “end turn” which is the Continue option in this game. This will forward time to 3 days ahead, where you take another turn, and so on.
However, when you get to your first match, you will see how Soccer Manager 2020 made it to differentiate itself from other sports manager video games. After you’ve set up your tactics, formation, player lineup, and the usual, you are in for a treat. This game features a unique and innovative match view system, where the player is offered several options. Firstly, the player chooses match speed, from normal to up to 90x fast. Secondly, you can choose which parts of the match you want to see highlighted, from Key parts to the whole match.
And, finally, the player can choose the Match View between 3D and 2D. The 2D will bring about the top-down view of dots playing football, as it is traditional in sports manager sim games, while the 3D will show player models, with basic textures and animations. They are kind of rough and sometimes unnatural, but you can actually choose to watch an entire game as if somebody is playing it on PES for instance. You can also watch the match 2D but opt to be shown highlights in 3D. These expanded variations and options really help with the game experience and atmosphere.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
As mentioned, the user interface is rather well accommodating to the Smartphone’s touchscreen input method, and the developer managed to organize things quite well…
As mentioned, the user interface is rather well accommodating to the Smartphone’s touchscreen input method, and the developer managed to organize things quite well. There are as many panels and data sections as one screen can manage without becoming clogged and everything is comprehensive enough. I guess people who play games like this do not come about simplicity much and they only want well-organized data packs and sheets on the screen. The mentioned expanded match view options are the highlight of Soccer Manager 2020 because you really feel like a soccer manager when you set everything up and then watch it unfold in front of you with a 3D full-time match view. But, the models are kind of basic and they can move in a kind of an unnatural way.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Any average Smartphone can play it with no problem, even the 3D match feature…
Because of its approach to visuals and gameplay, SM 2020 is not a demanding game in terms of tech. Any average Smartphone can play it with no problem, even the 3D match feature, which, as mentioned, features basic models, so it won’t be a problem. Also, you do not need too big of a screen either, as the UI is well organized. However, because of the whole nature of being a manager and watching a game, you may want to have a holder for your mobile or position it in a way where you can be comfortable and not hold your phone up in the air too much, so some nice accessories might make your gameplay easier.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This game does kind of fail in the microtransactions and ads area…
SM 2020 is a completely free-to-play game. Anyone can download it and access any aspect of the game without any paywall what so ever. But, this game does kind of fail in the microtransactions and ads area. Firstly, there are a myriad of boosts available to buy for the in-game premium currency, to which you might become addicted to if you play against some challenging clubs. Secondly, the premium currency, the SM Credits as they are called, are earned very hard and are used for everything, even your club finances. A player might be tempted to spend these very quickly when the going gets tough. And, thirdly, if you play with ads, they will pop up way too often, to the point it becomes annoying.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
All in all, fans of the football manager simulations will undoubtedly like this game, and they probably already play it…
I got to give it to Soccer Manager ltd studio for daring to go further than the usual boundaries of sports sim games allow. They’ve definitely pushed the limits with this SM 2020 title, especially with the match view options and with the well-organized UI. However, they might be going a bit overboard with the monetization options in the game. There is no paywall, but when the game becomes challenging, it becomes a bit easier to pay to win than overcome the challenges through skill and perseverance. All in all, fans of the football manager simulations will undoubtedly like this game, and they probably already play it.
Soccer Manager 2020 guides and TIPS
How to improve your gaming experience and gameplay…
While SM 2020 community already spread widely enough, people are mostly interested in the usual things sports simulation video games offer, like purchasing players, winning games, and increased ratings. We’ve scoured the community and found that there are 3 particularly frequently asked questions about this.
Use links below to jump to the guide sections. Use links in the lower right corner to jump back.
Increasing player rating is the most important thing for advancing in your league, winning matches, and selling players for high cash. You should spend all or at least most of the Club Points you earn in Training your players. When you get to Advanced Drills, gameplay improvement will be noticeable big time, and Player rating and stats will also improve. Attacking and defending improvements are a priority according to most community sources. Also, keep in mind that if you want to develop your young players into soccer stars, you should give them opportunities in matches. They cannot improve if they are benched all the time.
Sometimes, it is worth giving a chance to a younger player over a veteran, even if he is weaker, but his potential is greater. Young perspective players often have High Morale, and it only improves the more you give that player game time. If you have young, perspective players on your bench and you can’t find room on your team to play them, send them out on a loan. This will help them develop and also earn you cash. Always keep a close eye on coaching reports. You get them for free and they will show you what to focus when increasing player rating.
In this game, it is also very important to position your players in their natural, preferred positions. Their morale and development will increase this way, and so will their rating, over time, it just takes patience and work. If, on the opposite side, you do not give players the care they deserve, playtime they need, and proper guidance they require, they will not develop properly and it will be a lost investment for your club, that can cost you dearly.
Transfers are a key feature as in any other sports manager simulation video game. Managing this properly is one of the primary things you need for winning. You can approach a player directly to offer them a deal, by clicking on that player’s name or squad anywhere in-game. You can also search for the club or any player in the search field. All you need to know is the player’s surname or even only a part of the name, or a club you last seen him play in, to begin your search.
On the other hand, clubs also have transfer lists ready, and you can opt to review their transfer lists and players they offer for transfers. Transfers are either offered by the club’s chairman or sometimes requested by the player himself, which affects the price. Players offered on the Transfer list are much easier to approach and cheaper to sign than players you approach directly. When approaching directly, you will probably need to pay that player’s appropriate Chairman Value estimate, while Transfer lists will already have a price rolled out for you, and it will be cheaper.
Players have their expected wages and the Chairman will also inform you of the minimum transfer fee should you opt to negotiate further. The amount can also remain undisclosed if you choose the Hide Offer Amount, which means only you and the other party know the amount and it is hidden from third parties, which can be important for later.
Best players to buy are usually young players. This is because of the usually affordable price, but also the growth factor i.e. that player’s Rating Increase. While the game’s data packs and player bases might change with future updates, there are some tier lists for players you might consider purchasing at an early point in the game. Some community sources even call them “wunderkinds”, but it all really depends on how you manage them, referring to our “How to increase rating?” section, discussed earlier on this page. Currently, some popular young players to consider are:
- Kylian Mbappe (age 20)
- Matthijs de Ligt (19)
- Vinicius Junior ( 19)
- Gianluigi Donnarumma (20)
- Rodrygo (18)
- Jean-Clair Todibo (19)
- Ansu Fati (16)
- Osmane Dembele (22)
- Kai Havertz (20)
- Callum Hudson-Odoi
There are many more players like this and really, as mentioned, it’s not the question of “who is the bigger prospect”, it’s about you and how you groom your young players to nurture their potential. You cannot let them sit on a bench all the time, but on the other hand, bringing them in while they are still young might compromise your tactics and strategy. This is why boosts and other gameplay mechanics might be used for if you want to make the best of it. Also, keep in mind that these tier lists are never permanent and they change with in-game updates, while SM 2020 is sure to have a few this year.