ESport Manager (Switch) Review
The matches in the MOBA half of this game are pretty much playable.
Nothing else in this game escapes its personality-free crushing tedium.
ESport Manager, a new sports management sim for the Nintendo Switch, promises players the thrill of leading a team of gaming professionals to victory in either an FPS or MOBA by carefully training each player and cleverly using social media to win them fans and support. Instead, this game offers the white knuckle excitement of repeatedly telling tiny cube people to go to bed and, later, watching them play a boring video game badly. Though it isn’t difficult to see how this game could have fulfilled these promises, it’s instead boring and occasionally broken.
ESport Manager would have a shot at being a decent game if it had even a little more interactivity. Team management involves selecting one of your team members, which is followed by the thrilling task of clicking on a bed, table, or piece of gym equipment. Once you’ve done that, you wait for their hunger, rest, or exercise meters to hit 100%. You can also level up their computer equipment, which is just done through menus, or buy new rooms, furniture, and decor for the team’s house, which the game automatically places.
The eSports themselves aren’t much better. Once a week, you have a match against a rival team. The interactivity in these segments is wildly limited, too. Since the ability to control team members needs to be unlocked, you have very little control over the outcome of the matches. At first, it’s easier to click the “simulate” button and avoid watching the mind numbing AI matches altogether. Once you do get control of some of your team members, one character per tediously learned skill, all you can do is select where you’d like them to go. In the MOBA side of the game, this isn’t so bad, as it allows you better control over where you’d like your team to focus its attacks, but in the FPS mode, it feels just as pointless as watching the game play itself.
The dull lack of interactivity isn’t this game’s biggest problem, though. The biggest problem is that it doesn’t feel finished or functional. Load times drag on for no obvious reason, and the controls, even with a help menu, are really difficult to figure out. More than once, I got stuck in a loop where trying to send my team members to bed or dinner also brought up the pause menu. The FPS half of the game seems like an afterthought next to the MOBA mode, down to the FPS prematch menus asking which lane you’d like your characters to start their attacks in. If nothing else, the graphics and sound are functional here, but they’re not good, either, leaving ESport Manager looking and sounding like a mobile game from ten years ago.
ESport Manager could have been a decent game. The MOBA mode has charming hero designs and works just well enough that it’s not miserable to play. With better controls, a smoother interface, and more control over your team’s house, managing the team could be fun, too. The social media management is an interesting idea, and there’s enough upgrades to buy for the house that the ability to arrange them yourself could lead to hours of pleasant micromanagement. As it is, though, this is all wasted potential. The game barely works, the player has very little control over the team or its matches, and the FPS mode doesn’t really have a reason to exist. ESport Manager is a messy disappointment made worse by the knowledge that it could have been much better than it actually is.