American Football

Alex Donaldson on Retro Bowl as a Super Bowl gaming appetiser

The Super Bowl starts tomorrow (see: We’re getting a Super Bowl/Winter Olympics eclipse!) and if you’re a gamer and needed to get in the mood, Alex Donaldson from VG247 wrote a great review of Retro Bowl for the Nintendo Switch:

Retro Bowl is pretty simple, all told. It has easy to grapple controls that let you perform the basic actions of American Football, and streamlines the game down to just the offensive side of the ball – defense is played by AI. It’s a single-player only affair, something designed to be played to kill time on your own. When I fell in love with it in 2020, it was when I almost got trapped in a foreign country as the pandemic suddenly forced borders to slam shut. When I was sitting hungover on an airport floor, awaiting a rescue flight home, Retro Bowl kept me sane. All of the mechanics that helped it to do so have been lovingly reproduced on Switch with actual button-based controls rather than touch screen stuff.

The whole reason this game works is because of the pure simplicity of its play. It controls smoothly, with the sort of snappiness that defined many arcade sports games of that 80s/90s era. It takes about two seconds to understand. It even – slightly frustratingly – appears to feature the aggressive rubber-banding that defined the era, where if you get too far ahead your opponent will suddenly really turn on the gas. I like that bit just a little bit less – but it does make matches thrilling.

Check Retro Bowl on the Nintendo website.

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