Over the last few years, Sports Interactive has provided more diversity to the Football Manager franchise in terms of what we can play. Not only have they released their annual Football Manager game every November, they have also released Football Manager Touch alongside it, a ‘lite’ version of FM that can be played on both desktop and iPad/tablet devices. Some FM players love the speed and efficiency that FM Touch offers but for others, it’s just not as intricate and in depth as classic Football Manager games should be.

There are several key differences between the desktop and Touch versions of Football Manager. In short, the desktop game “offers users the ‘full fat’ FM experience, while Touch and Mobile are more streamlined versions designed for playing in shorter bursts or on the move.” So, is FM Touch as good as the real thing? Or is it too superficial and tenuous to be considered a major rival to the classic Football Manager game? Before we reach a conclusion, let’s compare them both.

Focusing on the regular Football Manager game first, the level of detail it goes into to provide you with an immersive management experience is quite staggering. There is so much that you have the final say on, from staff, training and tactics to transfers, contracts and even arranging friendlies, that you feel like you’re having a real impact as a manager. Tweaking training the slightest bit, or changing a couple of your player roles in your tactic for an upcoming away game can make a huge difference. It puts everything in your hands and, when the game gets going and the seasons roll by, you have total ownership over the dynasty that you have created with your club, and that feeling is difficult to beat.

The extent to which you can control every aspect of your club is not something that FM Touch offers. Yes, you are free to choose your tactics, play games and sign players just like on the regular game, but you don’t truly feel like you have been the catalyst that has changed your club’s fortunes for the better. Maybe the regular FM game is just too detailed, but Touch goes by so quickly that your successes can feel hollow at times and developing a real attachment to a save can be difficult. Essentially, Touch is much, much easier to get right, but you don’t become as immersed in the gameplay.

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But hang on, is that a bad thing? It is common knowledge that the main drawback of the regular Football Manager game, and a reason that occasionally puts me off loading it up, is the sheer time it takes to get through the first season alone. This is the reason FM Touch was introduced in the first place. To play the regular FM game right, there are so many intricacies that need to be looked at that it can take many, many hours of gaming to feel like you’re making real progress. My Beginner’s Guide to Football Manager 2020 covers everything that needs to be addressed on the first day, which is a lot. Reaching your first regular game of the season can take the best part of an hour, so I have sympathy for new players who are looking to get stuck into playing matches and are put off by how much they actually have to do to get there.

This is where FM Touch really flourishes. A lot of people don’t want to spend half an hour of their Tuesday evening arranging training schedules for the forthcoming weeks, or sending individual scouts on ridiculously specific scouting assignments in countries that you haven’t even heard of. Our time is precious, so why not keep the important bits of the game that we love, but jump right into the action? On Touch, you can still effect training if you wish to do so, transfers and tactics work in the same way and you can view matches as normal. You could even argue that Touch streamlines parts of the game that most people overlook or are overwhelmed by, anyway, so why wouldn’t it be as good as the real thing? For example, when looking at your staff, there isn’t an endless list of coaches serving countless different roles that need organising. A Director of Football? Check. Head of Youth Development? Check. Assistant Manager, Head Physio, Chief Scout? Check. The essentials only, no messing about. It’s much easier to grasp and much easier to dive right into for a quick 30 minutes due to how quick it processes things when you’re not playing a match. All of this, without sacrificing any of the quality of the real game.

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In summary, FM Touch is a serious contender to the regular Football Manager game. If you want to invest your time into something special, a save that will be an emotional roller-coaster and bring you sleepless nights, then the full FM game will tick all of the boxes for you. However, FM Touch focuses on the football stuff. The fun things. The reason we pick up the game.

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