Retro Bowl
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Retro Bowl review

Retro Bowl, developed by New Star Games, is an enchanting throwback to the golden age of American football video games. This mobile and Nintendo Switch title made its debut in January 2019, reviving the nostalgia of console-era sports games by drawing heavy inspiration from the beloved Tecmo Bowl series. Initially launched only for iOS and Android, the game exploded in popularity by late 2020, with notable commendations from JefeZhai Hostile Beast and RetroSportRadio. 

Immersive Gameplay: Assembling and Managing the Ultimate Team

Retro Bowl delights old-school sports fans by crafting an experience that blends action and strategy seamlessly. As the player, you're charged with not only controlling the team's offense but also holding the mantle of team general manager. Admittedly, while defensive playing isn't an option - a facet of the game simulated instead - the thrill of building and managing an effectively stonewall defense is undeniable. 

With an aesthetic that harks back to simpler times, Retro Bowl's charm lies within its minimalist graphics. Despite not having the NFL license, the game creatively uses closely matching jerseys and city names in place of actual team names, subtly tipping its hat to real-world teams. It's Philadelphia, not Philadelphia Eagles, but the excitement of leading your city to triumph is just as thrilling. 

Attention to Detail: Offering a Complete Experience

Retro Bowl takes the football gaming experience to another level by incorporating elements of team management. It's not just about getting the ball over the line; there's trading and cutting players, signing free agents, maintaining morale, drafting players, and more. A highlight is the availability of the "unlimited version" for a mere dollar, which allows for editing team uniforms, logos, names, and more.

In April 2022, Retro Bowl sweetened the deal for football fans with an exciting update that allowed kick-off returns. While this may seem minor to the uninitiated, to a fan, the opportunity to return kickoffs adds an exciting new tactical angle to the proceedings.

A Vintage Classic for Modern Times

In conclusion, Retro Bowl is more than just a game - it's a delightful homage to traditional American football gameplay with a personal touch of strategy, management, and customization. It may not fully cater to those seeking a more defensively interactive experience, but don't let that overshadow its merits. Retro Bowl hits the right notes as a retro yet current and immersive football simulation game. Its astounding success in being the most downloaded App in late 2021 solidifies its appeal to an audience that appreciates the strategic elements of American football fused with intuitive gaming.


  • Easy-to-understand mechanics and truly engaging gameplay
  • An accurate emulation of American Football, paying homage to the classic Tecmo Series
  • The freedom for customization in the "unlimited version"
  • Engaging elements of team management
  • focuses not just on gameplay but also on strategy.


  • Limited interactivity with the defensive side of the game, which is computer-simulated
  • Lacks official NFL license, leading to generic team names.

Graphics 7

Gameplay 8

Controls 7

Replay Value 9

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Retro Bowl Retro Bowl
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