There are so many different types of Football games these days: there's the standard ones that you can play with a group of mates and just virtually kick a ball around -- the sort of ones which are trying to train you to think like a footballer -- and then the football management type games. Football Director DS is the final one of these genres, and what makes it unique on the DS at the moment is that it's the only one that's available.
Unlike its overcomplicated counterparts, Football Director DS does not require a degree in spreadsheet management, and certainly does not require an expert knowledge of football. This sort of inaccessibility has lead the Football Manager series to falter as of late. As this title is for the Nintendo DS, it's very open and just requires the player to have some basic management skills and a little bit of cunning.
Football Director DS is only licensed for English football teams, which means if you want to play in the Scottish League it's not possible without editing a lot of the data in game. Fortunately, there's a very high level of customisation in Football DS, which allows the player to change almost every part of the game to suit their taste. If many hours are going to be ploughed into this title, then it's certainly worth doing. Fortunately, there are also a lot of European teams, game reports and cups in the title, so with over 3,800 players to choose from, customisation is the key of this game.
The player will take control of the daily work of managing a successful football team, as well as taking a role on the pitch by organisation of tactics and even substitutions. Fortunately, the match-day presentation is optional, and it makes the game feel like more than just a spreadsheet. However, loyalists to this niche genre will not enjoy that element to the game. The daily work as a club director includes bidding for players on the transfer market, setting the team's tactics for future games, working the players hard by organising grueling training sessions, as well as dealing with the matches themselves. All the information that you require on a day-to-day basis on Football Director DS is handed to the player in the first few screens of play. Although it can take a few moments to collect ones thoughts and work out where to go next, fortunately this sort of stoppage is minimal after a few minutes of play due to the intuitive and simple interface.
Although the interface is simple, the data provided is expansive and tracks all of the players through each match and will give a comparison chart to how they're doing match by match and in comparison to other members of the team. This allows the player to set a realistic price tag above their head when they try and sell him on. However, it can be a little over simplistic with restrictions on fairly basic areas of play, such as not easily being able to change the football player's positions in the tactics option. Changing players from an attacking winger or just a central midfielder is impossible, as they're all midfielders. This limits the amount of depth and realism in play.
Fortunately, those small niggles are made up for by the very simple user interface, which makes someone who isn't particularly interested in football games able to play and run a successful team. However, for many more advanced players, these sorts of restrictions will remind them of earlier Football Manager type games.
Final Verdict - 7/10
This is a good throwback to Football Manager games of old, and there's much more to come from this franchise with little wrinkles to be ironed out in future titles. A solid title, and a fun way to spend several hours: winning football matches.