Football Drama released on PC in 2019 to little fanfare, published and developed by a three-man team at Open Lab Games it has recently been ported to the Nintendo Switch opening it up to a whole new market of gamers. This football management simulator is unlike any other we have ever played, but is that for better or worse? Well, let’s find out in this Football Drama Review.
Football Drama Review – The Not So Beautiful Game
Not Your Normal Football Game
As will become immediately clear this isn’t your typical football game. There’s no transfer window, no pages of statistics, no tinkering with your squad. Football Drama is instead a gloomy look at the world through the eyes of an eccentric manager trying to get results on the pitch while dealing with the press, a billionaire owner, his wife that really wants to get with you, and a whole host of other characters.
This is what sets Football Drama apart from its contemporaries as it aims to tell a darker story that’s dripping with charm. For the most part, it does this really well, the art style is perfect for the game with the colors and characters providing a very moody atmosphere. There’s nothing pretty about this game only rugged characters and dark shading, a far cry from the bright lights of all other football games. Even the sounds the game makes are gloomy and almost eerie, further establishing the darker atmosphere the game sets out to achieve.
Football drama has a lot of charm to it as well, there are so many little references or moments that aim to poke fun at the world of football and these add to the sense that this is something of an anti-football football game.
With so many video games these days failing to really make their mark it is a credit to Football Drama that it stands out, the developers set out to tell their story in their own way and this game benefits from that as it is an experience unlike any other. In some ways Football Drama reminds me of Wrestling Empire, it takes the absurdity and ramps it up to 11 completely ignoring any sense of realism. Unfortunately, this is the only thing the game can be praised for as it has its issues.
For a game that seems so focused on the dramatic lifestyle of the player you spend a lot of time managing your team in games, this is where the game begins to falter. Managing your team involves making one of two choices while in possession, one being a safer choice that rests your team while the other is a riskier choice that increases the pressure, if the pressure gets too much then you can no longer pick the riskier option until you calm things down. Your aim, clearly, is to manage this and make sure your team has enough left in the tank to make riskier moves when needed. This sort of gameplay gets old very quickly and by the third game you’ll be dreading the thought of playing matches, which is not a good way to be in a football game.
The commentary especially detracts from the matches, if they were clever or easy to ignore it wouldn’t be so bad but they have a cycle of maybe 5 lines that slow the pace of the game to make sure you’ve seen their repetitive wisecracks.
No Sense Of Accomplishment
The worst thing about the game is that you feel like a bystander so often. When your team win matches it doesn’t feel like its because of your skills or tactical nous but just a stroke of luck. The same goes for pretty much everything about the game, you never really feel in control enough to feel any sense of accomplishment you are merely a bystander in the story who is hoping for the best.
I don’t know about you but I want to feel like an eccentric world beating manager who swindles the press and gets with the owners wife all while pondering the realities of football while talking to a cat but this game never makes me FEEL like that. I felt like a bystander hoping that what I said was the right option more than anything else.
Football Drama Review Verdict
While the developers certainly deserve credit for their unique concept and magnificent atmosphere this game is a bit of a misfire, the gameplay is just lacking in too many areas and the creativity is put into little references rather than the actual gameplay itself. While this is certainly a game that people can, and have, enjoyed it was a very tedious experience for me and one that I can’t recommend unless you enjoy a more passive gaming experience.
Rating: 5 out of 10