This was just meant to be a podcast, but as I started writing the script, I felt that a blog post was needed to share what I wanted to write about. I feel that FM21 Touch has a lot going for it this year, deserving some sort of review here, allowing me to share with the community an insight into the game and also offering me an opportunity to create a story, just like I do with the full fat version of the game
I’ve had some experience of FM Touch in the past, fortunately all taking place on an iPad, though of course the experience will transfer across onto Android & Microsoft tablets as well. Given my previous with FM Touch, and wanting to familiarise myself with this year’s game, I began my experience with FM21 Touch where I had most of my FM20 success – Bayern Munich. Of course, the Bayern team that starts FM21 are the latest Treble Winning side in the club’s history, and with the addition of some impactful new players, Leroy Sané most notably, it’s an easy place to get to grips with the game itself.
Having the ability to customise the view of the Match Experience (including 2D Classic), from multiple camera angles (with adjustable heights & zoom), highlight packages & match speeds, with replays as well to complete the experience sets me at ease when loading up my first friendly against my Second Team. Being able to customise my Match Experience as I have done on FM21 gives me the feel of FM21 right here between my fingers.
The FM21 experience doesn’t just stop here. The highlights transition screen of Match Stats/The Dugout/ Touchline Tablet (which itself can be customised to show the analysis you want/need during a game) reflects the full version of FM again. Though many have expressed their dissatisfaction with this screen, I’ve no awareness of any skin to alter this view in the way other skins have changed this screen in the full FM version. When selecting a player from the menu along the bottom of the screen, the same pop-up menu appears, showing the layer name, body language, player role/duty, PIs, Touchline Shouts and the option to Substitute Off. Touchline Shouts have finally made their way into Touch, and just like full FM, the Red Faces seem to appear after each Shout…consistency though?!
Team Instructions and Player Instructions also mimic FM21, with the same suite of options, the same layout and graphics when selecting whichever Instruction it is you’re seeking for your team. The same can be said for Team Mentalities, though of course many may see them as gauges of risk, the accompanying descriptions also aid in the selection of your approach. The tactics screen has one significant absence, which effects the whole game – tactical familiarity. This is not visible on the tactics screen because on FM Touch, it is not an issue, meaning that from game-to-game, all you need to consider is the intensity, while drastically changing your shape, instructions, roles or duties does not impact anyway on the performances of your squad from game-to-game.
User Interface (UI)
The in-game UI is not exactly the same as the full-version of the game, of course catering for the simplified experience Touch offers, while also assisting the ability to Touch the screen, rather than rely on the traditional scroll-and-click approach FM is experienced through, with the Preference screen showing the Touch specific controls, including multi-finger touches and gestures that iPadOS and Android support.
The Inbox features all of your usual News items, though of course Media responses are much more restricted. No Press Conferences or the like exist in this simplified version of the game.
Customising the Squad View screen can also be done, though of course factoring in the dimensions of the screen need to be considered as you may need to scroll across.
The Staff view is drastically simplified to a simple overview of the key personnel (no individual coaches, scouts or staff), with the options beneath to access shortcuts to the areas each staff member is responsible in supporting you and the club for.
Training is much simpler than FM21, much like the old days when you selected a primary focus for as long as you wanted, rather than picking and choosing your sessions on a timetable. Training performances and happiness though are still monitored for you to view & to be aware of, while of course, assigning the responsibility of organising training can also be done by your Assistant.
Scouting comes from a smaller overall database, understandable when you consider the limitations of the majority of devices Touch will be played on, but the Scouting Screens retain much of the original information and screens, including the Recommendations, max/min Asking Prices and other key information for you to be aware of before pursuing a prospective signing.
The Development Centre is streamlined, so while the depth and usual user experience may not be there, the same overview exists allowing you to see prospective first-team candidates and players worth noting for good/bad reasons.
The Player Profile screen has a little more colour to it than the usual FM screen. Colouring the attributes is boxed (as before), while key information is all present in a more minimalist way, though the addition of the jersey with name/number is a little touch I enjoy seeing every year!
Contract renewals can be handled in much the same way, whether taking on the responsibility of delegating, with the ability to “Apply Recommended Action” available from the Inbox as well.
FM Touch has “game-ified add-ons available for purchase outside of the game, from purchasing magic sponges to heal players immediately, to buying the ability to manage internationally or guaranteeing your son comes into the club as a player. This is not something I’m a fan of, as paying €21.99 for an iPad game is dear enough without purchasing add-ons to change the in-game scenarios, e.g. miraculously healing injury crises or dodgy lasagna ahead of a big game or unlocking International management.
Registered leagues will have the official 2D and 3D match kits visible. Club Vision remains much the same, including the ability to negotiate prospective aims for the club. Pursuing potential signings comes with the same Transfer screen, including the ability to add in clauses & additional fees. The Code of Conduct is much the same in it’s presentation. The pre-match team selection screen is another FM21 Touch feature, including the ability to make changes for All Matches or the Next match Only. These same screens follow with the team news, team sheet animation screens and league table pre-game, while Set-pieces have the same interface and options, including the ability to save all/load all. VAR animations are also a part of FM21 Touch, a nice evolution on the addition of the feature in FM20.
Tutorials have also found their place on Touch, so for the new player, whether they’re a full-fat version player or not, the game supports the transition to the experience of FM21 Touch. Hints and Tips also appear on the loading screens, another nice continuation from FM, supporting the new player whether they’re transitioning from the full version or are a new/returning player to the series.
Creating a new save is limited, but there are some interesting caveats. While only 3 leagues an be active in Touch, the experience can be had across the same active leagues as FM21. Assistant Reports are present from Day 1, informing you of what you’re inheriting at your new side.
Thoughts on FM21 Touch
I love FM21 Touch – when my start with FM21 stuttered, this felt less real and more like a game, where fun could be had, the pressure was less and that the game filled every FM21 need that I had.
Has it been a smooth experience with FM21 Touch? No, absolutely not. While playing Touch I’ve encountered many bugs which I hope SI can fix in the next patch/update for the game. Touches can often not register, so when selecting something from the Inbox for example, nothing happens, which adds to difficulty in diving into the issue in more detail. Often, HT is skipped. Now Team Talks don’t happen in Touch, but the animations have continued for me on several occasions, without any touches from me to process the beginning of the second half.
Touch is not customisable in the way FM is. I’m unaware of skins being made available, but adding kit/logo packs and real-name fixes isn’t a thing here. Post-Match Analysis always comes up blank for the xG Match Story, Shot Map, Average Positions & Pass combinations. All I’ve been able to see so far is the Best Performance.
When creating my Atlanta Utd save, I went through the process as normal, but when it came to the unveiling screen, I was the manager of Toronto FC.
In creating my manager, I selected long stubble with red hair to reflect me in real-life, yet despite this being selected, I’m as baby-faced as the day I was born.
On the Player Instruction screen, I wanted to set my BPD to move wide with the ball to cover the CWBs. Despite selecting this option, it won’t light up, despite an arrow suggesting that the option has been selected. I’ve had a text glitch with the bench, where the layer names appear twice though the first copy of the name is only the beginning of the name followed by an ellipsis to indicate the name has been shortened here.
The lines are THICCCCCCK, but the ball is not, meaning it’s almost lost on the thickness of the line, which has cost me a goal as the ball is lost on the thickness of the line.
The MLS does not have all the MLS registration rules, meaning it plays like a standard league when signing players, so cash deals are the way here.
Screen Recording is easier if you want to create content, as it’s native to iPadOS and Android softwares.
Overall though, the experience with FM21 Touch has been nothing but positive. The option to cross-save has also given the game a more authentic feel. It’s not an FM21 exclusive addition, but being able to play on desktop/PC/Mac and on tablets just makes the game a more immersive and engaging experience knowing you can play FM Touch on the go or at home
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