Review: Nintendo Pocket Football Club

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Head up your own football team and shoot for the top! Nintendo Pocket Football Club puts you in the manager’s seat at your very own football club, only on  3DS. Can you keep the crowds chanting and guide your pint-sized players from the lower leagues to the wonders of the world stage?

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Pros:

  • Graphics are basic but all they do is add charm to the game. Watch your little chunky players run around the pitch in brilliant pixel art detail. See swarms of your supporters jump around in the stands as they cheer you on.
  • Animations follow the same suit, Looking basic in appearance, But working so well in execution. Every slide tackle, flying header or shot looks brilliant on the little screen. Think about the charm of Nintendo World Cup on the NES and you are on the right track.
  • The 3D is not a must have but be warned that without it you will lose a lot of the games great work, 3D on makes the whole thing pop out of the screen and is an excellent addition.
  • Easy to read/understand player cards detailing fitness/stats and playing records. Especially useful when choosing your starting 11.
  • Name your team, Design your home/away and goal  keeper kits. Then tie it all off with your own emblem, With a  huge selection on offer, you can change the colour scheme and make it your own. Lastly you make up the 3 letter short name fro your team.
  • Uses your Mii character as the face of your manager. Will allow you to pick which Mii to use just in case you have multiple Miis on your console.
  • Multiple save slots so you can have a few different teams on the go.
  • Sleek easy to use menu system. Minimum button presses to go through what is actually a deep interface.
  • The game is really easy to get into and after a brief overlay of what to do, You will soon find yourself playing your first game within the first 5 minutes of switching it on.
  • Big colorful map of the city is used as your central hub, Here you can select the different parts like training camp, HQ, online play and saving.
  • Save whenever you want and as many times as you want from the map.
  • You can do everything you expect from a football sim like change formations, edit game plans, set zones for players etc. You can even go into the formation which will bring it up in a grid form, and then simply drag and drop individual players into new places.
  • Your whole score/rank is presented as a percentage and is called backing. It represents how your fans feel about you and how much they erm back you. Win games or play well and see it rise, Play badly and lose a lot and see it drop. If it goes too low then you will be looking for a new job in no time!
  • You will have a list of league games and there dates to which you must play, Aside from that you will have spare time and this is where you can then use your time to train players, have friendlies, practice matches or change your formations.
  • Practice games are only 45 mins long and don’t affect your backing score and is a good way to try new plays. Friendlies are your full 90 minutes and do affect your backing score. You can earn cards in friendlies and you can select who you play by looking at your offers tab in the match section of the map.
  • Find/earn one time use cards which you use in between matches to improve your player stats. There is a huge selection with things like sprinting,shooting to the more obscure cards like analysis, pressure tactics etc to find and use. Each card will increase a set of stats for that player and using a card will be quick and instant in terms of affecting their stats. Finding and using a group of cards at once on one player may unlock a card bonus that increases stats even further. Each player can have a maximum of 3 cards assigned to them at any one time before a match.
  • Handy help button in every section of the game so you will always feel that you have help when needed.
  • Before each game you can still change your formation and get tips on your opponents and mark key players to watch etc.
  • Match presentation is excellent with stadium fly overs, player line up close ups. All can be skipped but it is a really nice touch.
  • Different pitch conditions help keep the stadiums look different.
  • Transfer market where you can offer money for new players. Also allows you to search for players by friend id.
  • Earn cards even if you lose so its always worth playing friendlies to help bolster your team.
  • Play well in game or badly for that matter and you will get a shot of your supporters, They will be saying things or showing their feelings via signs after each goal. What they say is a good indication on how your rating will be affected.
  • In game the game plays out on the top screen with the bottom screen allowing you to do different things like:
    • View stats like shots taken/on target, Bookings, Goals and there times etc.
    • Top down view of the game and allow you to mark players.
    • Go to player management and change tactics or sub players.
  • Any goals scored will trigger a replay of the goal from different angles with a small text commentary to accompany it. This can be skipped.
  • In general play the view will always be the same but penalties and free kicks will change the camera to behind the player.
  • After the game you can save individual goals or save the whole match, Any option picked will do a quick save to your video library. Once there you can re watch them at any time in the training camp. Upto 12 videos in each section can be saved.
  • Whilst in the video replay section, You can actually search for ranked online match goals/games by their ID.
  • Local and online play is available.
  • Recieve and play against teams found via the streetpass system. Once you play the team, they will be automatically deleted from your console.
  • Tweak and edit your team exclusively for streetpass matches.
  • Controls are so simple with the stylus used for everything but you can get away with button presses for some of the menu.

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Cons:

  • Huge download size, Coming in at over 3000 blocks small card owners need to be aware of this.
  • No free drawing for strips or emblems which would of been a cool feature.
  • You cannot shout out any orders in game to help your players.
  • No stadium edit options.
  • No pause button in game.
  • Cannot name your own players.
  • Simple transfer system with no real control on negotiations like price,time etc.

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In Summary, This is a fine example of Nintendo magic hitting the football management sims genre. It is so easy to pick up and play. With cracking little player animations, watching a game unfold is a feast on the eyes but also a tense and scary experience. Do not let the price put you off in anyway as you will get many many hours of fun out of the game and more sales may bring updates or a sequel with even more friend integration. As is I really love it and get memories of Nintendo World Cup on the NES and that is never a bad thing. Once you train your players up and get the results umping in, You cannot help but smile as you guide your team to victory! A must buy.

 

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Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!

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