I’m not going to lie, I’m not a big fan of Formula 1 in general. I think it’s fine, but I can never get into it. My friends, on the other hand, absolutely love it, and have been pestering me to get into it for years now. An opportunity presented itself though, when Motorsport Manager crossed my path. I’m a huge fan of management games in general, but usually I play games where I have some small amount of knowledge about the game in which I’m managing. I did want to give it a try though, and see if my managerial abilities could transfer across to a game where I had no understanding of the sport I was playing.
It turns out that I actually don’t need to know much about F1 to learn the ropes in Motorsport Manager. It’s pretty intuitive, with good menus and plenty of helpful tips to help you along the way. I did fumble my way through the first season, with some trial and error on the in-race management because I didn’t read the tutorials properly, but it was actually pretty clear and obvious what it was I had to do in order to improve.
On the note of in-race management, once you have that nailed down, that part of the game is so much fun. At the start I was just trying things out, seeing how my tyres would respond if I told my drivers to go on the offensive, and, also what would happen to the fuel and how much I could get away with in terms of burning fuel to take the lead. Once I’d figured it all out though, it was all go. Trying to figure out the best times to go on the offensive, when is best to take your foot off the gas and most importantly, when to tell your cars to get into the pit, while not ‘stacking’ them by getting them both in at the same time. It’s such an amazing feeling knowing that the race you won, was only won because you pushed your drivers at just the right times, and picked your spots perfectly. When you progress through the leagues as well, you get a turbo-boost type thing which recharges over time. It can be used partially, or all in one go, and it boosts your speed for the time it’s active, which can be really useful if you’re stuck behind some pillock in front of you. Waiting to hit the straight and just breezing past them is great, because you can just imagine how annoyed they are. If they, you know, were real humans and not just AI.
There’s also a lot of customisation options outside of the racing that can boost your abilities as a racing team. Firstly, you can hire mechanics to develop parts for your car, and they can both improve or decline as they age. Using them, you can build six of the major components on the car, and these can be applied to the cars whenever. Each time you make a new one, they improve the stats more and more, so it’s always worth building new parts. These aren’t the only mechanics though, you also have the in-race mechanics who can tune up your car before each race and give you in-race boosts to ensure your car is in tip top shape as you race.
It isn’t all about building and tuning up your cars though, you also have the softer side of the F1 world – the money side. There are plenty of sponsors that are willing to put their logos all over your car, and each of them gives you a lot of money to ensure you can continue succeeding. They also come with a sponsor rating, which may harm your desirability with other sponsors, or may be a turn off for some fans. You can also enhance your headquarters, which comes with enhancements for your drivers, cars and ways to make more money. All of this combined makes a properly realised and thorough entry into the world of Formula 1, with your hands deep into everything that the game has to offer.
There actually isn’t much that I can say I dislike about Motorsport Manager, but if I was being ultra harsh, I’d say the sound is a bit of a turn off. I understand that F1 cars do have a certain sound, but after the tenth or so race, it does get a bit tiresome. Also, while there is background music on the menus, it’s pretty dull and overall, there is definite room for improvement in terms of the sound design.
As this was a Switch game, I did also try it on the main TV rather than do what I usually do and just walk around playing it as a handheld console, and this was slightly more disappointing. The edges were all cut off, which made the game look quite shabby – a feat that is hard to do given the general polish in the title. It was also slightly more difficult to move around the screen, which is probably to be expected. When using the Switch in handheld mode, it’s extremely easy to navigate as you can use the touchscreen easily enough.
The Final Word
I’ve been absolutely addicted to Motorsport Manager since I picked it up. It has its flaws, but generally it’s an absolutely marvellous game that ticks every box for me. The micromanagement of the races, developing new parts and maxing out the stats on your car so you’re as fast as possible, and leaving everyone else in your dust is a fantastic feeling. I had a lot of celebratory moments, especially when my racers were neck and neck and won it by a nose at the end. Definitely one of my favourite Switch games!