NS Review – Motorsport Manager (Switch)

Motorsport Manager Switch Edition is a wet dream for fans of motor racing and management games and the best thing since Grand Prix World on the PC back in ‘98.

Motorsport Manager Switch Edition (MM from now on) is essentially a port of the mobile only Motorsport Manager 3 only with an extra track, a 3D mode for cars when watching races (the mobile version. Only has dots), the editor built in instead of being an in app purchase and an update to all the tier 1 teams and drivers to match the 2019 Formula 1 season, a detail very easy to miss as there are no real names, a lot of the drivers are women and Alfa Romeo are the wrong colour. This attention to detail of updating all the teams highlights the care and passion behind the entire game.  

Gotta go fast!

MM is a technical masterpiece, not in the audio/visual department they suck end of. Well maybe not, the 3D cars look pretty awful but this is a management and a fair comparison is that of Football Manager not Mario Kart and when you make that comparison for the price the graphics are fine. I would love to see a future version with actual good graphics but the sped up gameplay means you wouldn’t fully be able to appreciate the good graphics and have a game that costs twice as much. The 3D have honestly changed the way I play as on mobile I have the view zoomed out so I can see the whole track, whereas on Switch I play on the two most zoomed in settings exclusively to see the action for myself as I find it a lot more immersive even though the cars still behave more like dots.

Reverse order grids are frantic.

Now we’ve got the only real negative out the way let’s find out how great MM is. There are 9 championships ranging across 3 disciplines of Motorsport and 4 tiers. You start in the 4th tier choosing either GT cars or open wheel and if you place in the top 3 of a team championship you can move to any discipline in the next tier ending in tier 1 which is only open wheel to simulate Formula 1 being the pinnacle of Motorsport.

Everything is important in MM you have to hire drivers who have a range of stats, differing potentials and can only drive in certain disciplines (your drivers are the most important thing and make a bigger difference in race than anything else). You have to hire mechanics to build parts to upgrade your cars, or you can spend the money to buy better parts. There’s engineers who set up your car during qualification with a fun card system based on chance which makes qualifying all the more exciting, there’s no need for knowledge of car setups that is gone in Motorsport Manager 3 on mobile and this version but personally I prefer the change to the card based chance system. You sign sponsors and I’d recommend hiring drivers with good sponsor appeal to get the best sponsors as money makes the world go round. Upgrading your headquarters is important as it gives permanent perks to drivers and unlocks vital resources such as the ability to build upgraded gearboxes and engines. Then there’s the supplier network in which you slowly traverse the globe picking up a few suppliers that give one off perks such as improving your current mechanics. Half way through the season you unlock next year’s car development which you want to save money for as you need to through in at least a few million to a championship winning car and if you’re going to move up a tier next season even the ultimate car you’re building in your current tier will like an old Skoda next year. Just when you thought that was it and you finish your first season you unlock the young driver program where you pick 3 hopeful youths out of a bunch and watch them progress through the year deciding whether to hire one or not at the end of the following year. The rest can be picked up by other teams or even yourself at a later date which is a nice touch.

That’s it my youth driver become amazing then conquer the racing world.

One last thing you need to manage is influence this allows you to convince drivers to negotiate a contract with you even when not interested, force a change of rule at the beginning on a season such as adding an extra track or making it so you can upgrade a certain part and you can use influence to occasionally steal a part from a rival. Now it all sounds like a lot but it’s all presented in an easy to understand way with plenty of tutorials so whether you know much about management games and motor racing or not MM is pretty simple to play.

Just a few things you can change with precious influence.

Let’s get into the action, each race starts with qualifying unless it’s a reverse grid series. You pick your cards set up your car go do a lap and repeat. A handy tip is to keep setting up the car even if you can’t set a lap as the setup bonus still counts. In the race you pick between 3 different tires, set your fuel (if allowed), set your drivers driving style (push, normal, take it easy) and fuel consumption (save, normal, gogogo! Not actually called these but should be) then race. During the race you decide when to put, push and take it easy trying to out strategise your foes.

The supplier network is pretty big, but only a few actual suppliers.

Open wheel racing is your straight forward affair. In GT racing all the bumping and barging can end up in spoiler damage which makes your car slower, it’s indicated by an exclamation mark in a shield. The damage gets worse as time goes on so it’s best to change strategy and push hard making an early stop to fix it however even on hard mode the CPU don’t adjust strategy mid race when this happens which can decide a championship if it happens to your main rival. Finally endurance racing you have 3 drivers per car and when you put you change drivers too, with drivers only being to drive a certain amount of time before becoming exhausted.

The different elements make each discipline exciting as different stats are important for each. In open wheel you want your driver to be smooth and fast, GT you want a driver who can overtake well, especially as this class can have reverse grids and in endurance you want focus so your driver can do a longer stint. As you progress to a higher tier you unlock ERS (energy recovery system) this allows cars to have a boost which recovers during the race and boost some more. It creates tense and exciting first and last laps as cars attack and defend, you can also recover fuel instead of boosting which means you can start races where refueling is banned with a lighter fuel load then manage it through the race. Basically there’s a lot to do in the race and it’s always entertaining.

Upgrades really turn you from zero to hero through the season.

I wholeheartedly recommend turning on hard mode which apparently makes the game more realistic in terms of CPU in race strategy, driver movement between teams and mid season upgrades/next year’s car development. As even with this turned on the CPU can usually be beaten by using a better strategy, make odd driver selections such as Ferrari taking a rookie with poor sponsor appeal who then didn’t score a single podium and Gasly and Bottas being dropped by their respect top tier 1 teams to be picked up by 4th tier teams. Though I did find it quite amusing to watch unfold.

No Red Bull you can’t buy my wonderkid.

If you’re a fan of management games and even have a vague interest in racing your decision on if you want MM will come down to can you put up with “Switch tax”. Even on Switch I believe MM is outrageously good value as if you want to win every championship it’ll take a good 30 hours, then it has replay value as once you’ve unlocked the higher tiers you can challenge yourself to start in a higher tier or play in a different way sticking to a discipline and promoting yourself through the tiers as soon as possible. You might think it’s more convenient to whip out your phone and play for a few minutes but trust me you’ll never play for just a few minutes and the larger screen will prove valuable when looking at gaps between drivers, fuel remaining and pressing the ERS button quickly on the start of the 2nd lap. There’s so much on screen after playing on I don’t want to play MM on my phone anymore. You might think “oh I’ll just play on my tablet then” however you’ll soon be praising the mixed use of touch screen and buttons if you have played a touch screen only mobile version.

Need to save up to pump money into next year’s car.

At the end of the day the only competition for Motorsport Manager on Switch is itself on mobile and PC. My humble opinion is that this is the best version as you have portability, big screen play, buttons, touch screen and a game with long lasting appeal.

Motorsport Manager for Nintendo Switch is available digitally on 14th March 2019. Thank you Curve Digital and Playsport Games for providing the download code.

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