It’s not a rare case that a great football player continues his career equally successful as a manager. Zidane did that, Pep Guardiola, too, and now you can add New Star Soccer game to that elite group. The original game took smartphones by storm in 2012, and now the same team made a follow-up simply called New Star Soccer Manager. It’s built on a simple and appealing base of NSS, and it represents a more light-hearted game than Football Manager Mobile. The question is, will the game manage to keep its charm after its turn to manager genre.
The first big change in execution is that rather than taking a single player and guiding him to glory, in NSS Manager you have an entire beginner club. Unsurprisingly, the name of the team is New Star FC, no matter which country you choose to compete in. You begin at the very bottom of the ladder and it’s your job to raise your club all the way up. You’ll do that by improving existing players, signing new ones and generally growing the club on and off the field.
It reminds us of those classic old-school management sims such as Ultimate Soccer Manager, although players now bicker at each other via social media instead of the ability to gesticulate some very nasty symbols to opposition bosses.
Interestingly enough, unlike the original mobile New Star Soccer, NSS Manager is played in landscape. No matter what, the matches will still feel familiar. Being the overall manager, you’ll have the final word over substitutions, formations, and tactics, so you don’t have to wait for “your” player to get the ball before you get a chance to show what you can do since all players are your players now (evil laugh). As soon as someone on your team gets the ball, you’ll get the control and be able to try and score.
Now you get more freedom with controlling the ball. If you tap a teammate, the ball passes directly to them, or you can draw paths to initiate runs and pass into space for them instead.
The dribbling mechanic has also been revamped, so if you drag back from the player in possession as if you’re going to shoot but hold your finger in place rather than letting go, the player will embark on a run. By stopping the dribbling you’ll be able to pass the ball, which allows you to create more sophisticated attacking maneuvers than the isolated pass and shot actions in New Star Soccer.
The switch from individual to collective also means there are off-field obligations you need to take care of. And we don’t mean buying cars and keeping your fictional girlfriend happy, but looking after the backroom staff, shirt sponsors, training ground facilities and similar things.
New Star Soccer Manager is free to play, which means it carries adverts, although they haven’t been implemented in the preview version, so it’s impossible to say how intrusive they’ll be.
Similar to the New Star Soccer, one of the game’s main objectives is keeping your squad’s energy levels high, which involves occasional squad rotation and chugging your players with NRG drinks. During the play, you’ll get the notifications about the possibility to spend some real life bucks on them too.
So far we’ve been able to play without feeling pushed towards forking out, but it’s a balance that’ll be crucial to maintaining the long-term interest in the game and preventing players from feeling like cash cows.
New Star Soccer made a really good job in transitioning from managing a player to managing an entire team. With its slew of options, you can control tactics, strategy, business, training and the game itself, putting yourselves in the role of the supreme football manager. All the qualities of the previous game are kept and even improved, so it’s almost certain you’re going to play this game fanatically as you did with its predecessor.