Developed By: InImages
Published By: Ultimate Games
Category: Management Simulation
Release Date: 08.27.2019
With the emergence of major organizations that have gained notoriety in the e-sports ring, as well as individual players that have made it to the top of the leaderboards and entertainment spaces like Twitch and YouTube it was only a matter of time before we say the slew of management/simulation games take a crack at running an e-sports organization. As much potential as this premise has to offer, I hate to say we will have to keep hoping for a title to come to the Nintendo Switch that makes us feel like we just created our own OpTic or FaZe Clan.
ESport Manager is a management sim that takes you through the paces of running your own e-sports organization, while not actually having you do anything to run an e-sports org. You start out by selecting your team and customizing their gamer tags and how they look. You have a voxel style to the game, so don’t plan on getting to make a ton of cosmetic decisions; just about as much choice as you would have in your Minecraft skin. From there you take your team of 5 and add in a logo and create an edgy team name to go along with your group of hardcore gamer boys. Last choice is to decide to take the FPS or MOBA storyline. Don’t worry; no actual story here, just determining what TV show you get to watch later. (More on that soon). Now that you all have names and the look you want, you are ready to create your org, as that’s all it would take to make one for real.
Your team takes itself to a gamer house, which is common for the major team organizations to have. The house consists of all the basics that would be necessary, a kitchen, gym, and obviously, the gaming room. You might think you are still running an organization, but you would be sadly mistaken. You are actually now playing The Sims. Your team walks around the house, and it is up to you to make sure their needs are fulfilled before you take on your first tournament. Your guys have three bars to manage: fatigue, hunger, and overall health. Let your Sim eat in the kitchen if they get hungry, or take a nap in the bedroom if they are too tired. Once you have everyone nice and happy you can take your team out to the battleground to try to win the major honors you were always destined to.
You join up in an amateur tournament and select your team members’ play styles and perks. Play styles would include which lane or character to use in the MOBA playthrough, or weapon layouts and aggressiveness in the FPS run. All of this could have been where the real meat and potatoes of this one were; the mechanic that made the rest of the game worth it, but sadly this doesn’t go deep and keeps things simple with only a single trait to choose and very limited variations throughout. In any case, you play through a series of matches after choosing the team settings and either win or lose (probably win, the game is quite easy, and the system can be gamed with ease). You then gain some notoriety, and social media following, and can leverage that onto the next steps in the gameplay loop.
Sponsors come rolling in now that you are the hottest thing around in the gaming world, and with the influx of money you can expand your house to add additional rooms, and increase the available perks for your teammates. This adds some much needed variation to how your characters play in the matches, as well as gives your Sims more things to manage. Even though things improve as you progress, it still isn’t enough to overcome a lot of the challenges you will face in this one.
One of the most glaring issues you will find here is that in this entire loop I have detailed you don’t actually participate in any coaching, or the tournament gameplay in any meaningful way. Once the matches begin you just watch the match play out, which wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for a terrible AI that is present for your characters. Some really quirky things happen with players going in weird directions or making weird choices, and overall not adapting to the situation. You also don’t have any options to change choices. If you sent too many guys down the middle lane in the MOBA mode and want to change that up you are out of luck, as it is already set in stone, totally missing out on you being the coach of the team. This basically means that the most immersive portion of the gameplay comes in being a house manager, which isn’t the game’s title.
You also have a user interface that is clearly meant for PC, and wasn’t adapted at all for the Nintendo Switch. Things are very wonky to try, and traversal through selection screens and the like are rough to get through. No touch screen interface either to try to make up for it, but overall they just ported the title over and left the issues as is instead of making any customization’s for the platform.
Esport Manager is a management sim that takes on the stigma that has been attached to many of the “Simulator” titles that have come out for various platforms over the years. You have a lot of questionable decisions made when creating this port, and even more lacking gameplay based on what the game was supposed to be about. You pretty much have a bare bones version of The Sims here, with a weird voxel Twitch stream in between making money to upgrade your home. You don’t participate in the team’s success outside of making the initial gameplay style choices for the team, followed by feeding them and putting them to bed to ensure top notch gameplay at the next tournament. As much as I hoped for something that could be an easy time drain in a fun genre with a ton of potential this one just simply disappoints across the board.
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*The Switch Effect was provided a review code for this game*