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Champ Man logoLast week Eidos emailed me an early version of Champ Man 5 Solo, a mobile phone version of the reasonably well-known PC footie management sim. I’ve only just got round to looking at it, spurred on by the recent ELSPA Java download chart which showed Jamdat’s LMA Manager at number one. I was pretty surprised by this considering the fact it’s a very, very basic sim (actually more a random number generator than a game), and because the chart is usually dominated by quiz titles and juddery conversions of 20 year old arcade classics.
So is there going to be a huge new market for 125K management titles? There may well be if this well-designed little newcomer has anything to do with it.
Okay, so the modern football simulation is meant to be about jaw-dropping realism and eye-watering depth, throwing billions of stats and menu screens at you and giving you minute control over every aspect of your squad. But there’s something strangely appealing about CM Solo as it cuts away huge swathes of the contemporary genre’s key elements and leaves the basics – putting together a squad, selecting the tactics and then watching the commentary as all your players ruin everything in the matches.
It’s simple, but still a huge leap over LMA. There’s a very decent range of tactical options for a start - you can choose from an array of classic styles including the total football of Holland 1974, the flowing grace of the 1954 Mighty Magyars, the open hostility of Argentina’s 1986 word cup squad (you can even go for the long ball nightmare of the Wimbledon crazy gang, lord forgive you) – for each one you get a little description which is nicely informative and pretty accurate.
The transfer market is cut-down to a list of available Premiership and foreign players, which you scroll through, hitting Approach to make an offer. Unlike LMA, you can send a scout out with a set of criteria including age, ability, position and value, etc, and he’ll return with a list of viable options, an important addition. I was a little worried about the realism here though – when playing as Manchester City coach I managed to sell Steve McManaman to Arsenal for 1.4 million. I suppose Arsene has been getting pretty desperate lately, but the £600,000 offer United put in for Trevor Sinclair defies all logic.
Anyway, the menus are thoughtfully presented considering the size of the screen, and they manage to pack in loads of information, even providing you with fan and media opinions on your squad. Daily news reports are included too, with succinct dispatches on transfer activity elsewhere in the league and the odd missive on your performance as a manager.
So, yes, it works strangely well and seeing the management sim stripped back to its basics like this raises some interesting questions about the appeal of the genre and how much it – uniquely – feeds off the real world game, and the player’s imagination, to flesh out the experience. If Eidos is clever it’ll offer gamers the chance to regularly download new statistics, or it'll set up a texting service to feed the player real-life footie information which could be of use in the game. Even as it is, Champ Man Solo has kept me entertained for hours today (look, it’s raining and there’s no real football on…).
LOL - No but your close! I am part of the team who developed the game, so I guess I'm a bit biased. But I can assure you that these reviews are independent and no way fixed. I thought I'd post here because I was a bit dissapointed people were critising the game with out even playing it first.
That's a bit harsh, maybe, but the people criticising the game are not criticising your team, they are criticising Eidos.
You guys have seemingly done a great job at creating a game I personally had never thought possible, according to those two reviews.
We however think Eidos is thoroughly abusing the championship manager brand to make some quick cash. First they rush a game into existence at one studio for the PC, PS2, and XboX markets. Second they announce one will not be able to use it for online multiplayer games, as they have a second studio developing a MMOFMG. Third they announce another studio developing the game on mobile phones.
A brand we all think gained it's reputation from addictiveness, realism, and massive amounts of meticulously researched data, was thrashed within months.
That's why we criticised CMS from the start. And honestly, although it may be a very good game, as a part of the CM brand, I'd expect not only addictiveness, but some realism as well. Not a "random number generator".
Thanks for your reply. We are all major CM fans from years gone by and tried to create the game to represent what the CM name stands for.
I’ve only just got round to looking at it, spurred on by the recent ELSPA Java download chart which showed Jamdat’s LMA Manager at number one. I was pretty surprised by this considering the fact it’s a very, very basic sim (actually more a random number generator than a game), and because the chart is usually dominated by quiz titles and juddery conversions of 20 year old arcade classics. That's why we criticised CMS from the start. And honestly, although it may be a very good game, as a part of the CM brand, I'd expect not only addictiveness, but some realism as well. Not a "random number generator".
I think you have mis-read this part of the quote as the reviewer was surprised that LMA manager was No1 despite the fact that it is a random number generator, and not in fact CM-Solo. We have most definitley not developed this game as a random number generator and we would really urge you to give the game a try before completely overlooking it altogether.