A REVIEW OF POCKET LEAGUE STORY I WROTE FOR THE WEBSITE WWW.SQUARE-GO.COM
Kairosoft is a name that will not mean much to many people, but when talked about in the right circles you will hear tales. Tales of late nights and dead batteries and of joy, sheer joy. They make games for phones and have now made a football game called Pocket League Story.
The game, like most of Kairosoft’s output, is a management-cum-strategy game. In this instance, you are the owner of a football club. You have to hire the coach, buy the players, sort out the facilities and schmooze the sponsors. All of this costs money as well as research points which you can use to discover new buildings and tactics. After that, it’s on to a match where your team needs to win in order to keep the money rolling in.
That’s it. It’s nowhere near as deep as something like Football Manager. Once the match starts you can change tactics and do substitutions but with no real flexibility which can feel stifling to those used to the bigger games. The options available to you in Pocket League Story are as basic as the graphics are functional.
There is, however, magic here. There is no other word for it, Kairosoft seems to be able to dust their games with a magic that makes them as compulsive as a bowl of Crunchy Nut covered in crystal meth. This is because the key word in that title is ‘story’.
Those graphics may be functional but they have an awful lot of personality, all of which endears itself to you. The players have slightly goofy names so you quickly form an attachment with them. You cheer as they score their first hat trick, you feel proud as your training facilities grow. As your team moves up through the leagues you can’t bear to lose those players, the ones that got you this far. Pocket League Story is a game that draws you in like few other games on a phone.
Whilst its not as deep as Football Manager, there is still a lot to play around with. Getting the right balance between training players and improving the facilities is a fine balancing act, possibly more about resource management than anything else. The game is always fair as well, which is always important in sports games. You will get trounced by some teams, but that’s the way of football and nothing feels better than defeating a team that once beat you 7-0.
It’s not quite the best of the Kairosoft games and is a little shorter than you might expect. It is fun for the first few playthroughs but you will quickly learn how to build unbeatable teams, so the challenge is lost. That doesn’t matter because the magic is still there, which makes Pocket League Story a must for the all the football fans out there.
And if you don’t like football? Take a star off, or just go buy Game Dev Story.
Four stars out of five
Originally published January 15th 2012