Review: Motorsport Manager Mobile 226 Jul 2017 1
Review: Motorsport Manager Mobile 2
Released 13 Jul 2017
Sport Management Sims are a bit of an odd breed. Sure, there’s been some version of a Football Manager type-game since the 90s that wins people over every year, but otherwise it is a genre that seemingly feels directed towards a niche audience (here’s to you, Pro Cycling Manager).
Admittedly, I never got my hands on the first Motorsport Manager but from what I can tell it was a solid debut entry that just needed a bit of fleshing out. This review will not be able to tell you if this is achieved or not, but I can still tell you if the game makes the podium, qualifies for pole position, etc...
The aim of the game is managing a racing team from season to season; developing young drivers, acquiring talented engineers who in turn help to craft new parts for your cars, building up your home base, and dealing with the dilemmas that pop up from time to time. All of these elements cost money and make up one half of the game’s challenge, the other bit being out on the track.
Within an actual race, you get to watch as a bunch of circled icons zip around locations in Russia, England, Germany and more. Each course has its own unique flavour, with variations in the numbers of corners, long straights, weather (that can and will change during a race) and number of laps, meaning you need to fine-tune the cars to suit the course. In all honesty, it feels quite binary in terms of the options available. Does the track have a lot of corners? Make sure the car is focused on acceleration. Is the track wet? Pick the wet tyres. There’s little nuance past this, and it all comes back to your preferences. As a fan of the simplified Football Management Mobile series, I like the ‘pick up and play’ feel, but I also fully understand those who prefer a deeper level of depth, and Motorsport Manager 2 will only be able to satisfy on a surface level.
Once the race starts you have a few more options to tinker with. You can speed up the cars, sacrificing either fuel or your tyres. This is typically left to the last few laps of the race when you’ve stored up additional fuel or the tyres haven’t worn out yet. Speaking of which, what tyres to use and when to change them is the most mentally taxing part of the race - just like real life, I think. There’s a genuine sense of satisfaction in nailing the correct combination of tyres. Of course, when to change them is half the battle, and it’s no good bringing both cars in at the same time as this will typically end up with one car being delayed leaving the pit. Again, it’s a bit binary in regards to the weather, but it does at least add another layer of challenge, and you can’t leave the game on autopilot to go make a cup of tea.
It would be nice if you could put the camera into free mode, or even have the option of additional fixed views. As it is, you’re stuck with following either car around the track. The tracks all have some nice details, even if it’s all low poly models - the kind of thing an architect would put together in Unity.
Off the racetrack you need to handle the development of the cars, your drivers and sponsors. They will, as you can guess, sponsor you for a number of races. The money will be spread over an upfront payment, per race payment, or a bonus payment for hitting a certain position in qualifiers and the actual race. It’s good to find a balance between the different sponsors you sign up, as the per race payment will ease the burden of the costs on race day, while the upfront money can be used to grab a shiny new front wing. Again, it doesn’t have a great deal of depth to it, but there’s still a level of satisfaction to be found in balancing out the costs and turning a profit per race. It also creates a risk/reward system as you pick between a sponsor that will turn over half a million per race, but you need to finish in a podium position, or another that may not fully absorb the costs of a racing weekend, but you don’t have the pressure of finishing as high.
The balancing act, while daunting at first, soon finds a rhythm as you begin to memorise the UI. It’s not as spreadsheet-y as say a Football Manager. Not the standard release anyway. But it fits into the mold of a mobile port Management Sim: focusing on getting a player involved in the game quickly; streamlining the experience for fifteen minute bursts. Within that short period of play you can fit in two weeks of the seasons calendar, which will include one race weekend. I think the big positive of Motorsport Manager 2 is that it feels viable as a game to play in either quick bursts or over a longer session.
During the season you get to make investments. Of course, you’re limited in what you can purchase. You can plunge money into next season’s car (I would typically use the funds earned from the end of the last season). You can build up your headquarters, giving perks like extra sponsor slots, perks to your cars, and unlocking the ability to build additional parts. And you can feel the benefits. Like an RPG, a race that may have been tricky in the first season, with improved drivers and an improved car, becomes significantly more manageable next time round.
A game editor makes up one of the two in-app purchases available, but I haven’t purchased it to give comment. The other IAP is the Chairman’s Payment - essentially giving you extra money after every race; If you play cautiously and don’t blow your finances in one go, you’ll never even need to look at this as an option.
Although it seems like a lot to take in at first, after a season (ten races in the 3rd division which takes anywhere between two to three hours to complete) you should have a decent grasp of everything the game has to offer, and from there you can really begin to work on improving the team and stabling your finances. Even after ten hours I still haven’t finished the game, and there’s a constant curiosity to craft new parts, hire new engineers, train new drivers, that will keep you coming back to form the perfect team. This is seriously addictive stuff. Motorsport Manager Mobile 2 will always try to throw the occasional wrench at you that will cost money and/or stats, but when has anything in life ever been simple, eh?