Episode 171 of The Cincinnati and Dayton Sports Podcast is live! Enjoy it here or find your favorite way of listening to podcasts at this link!
On this episode, I interview Simon Read, the creator of New Star Games, Ltd. and Retro Bowl. We talk about the game, some of the processes on creating the game, and more! I also provide a review on the game, which is readable after the break.
This episode closes out my third year of doing this podcast. Thank you all for listening to The Cincinnati and Dayton Sports Podcast, here’s to the fourth year!
Until the scheduled live stream,
RETRO BOWL REVIEW by Lee W. Mowen
When you think of some of the football video games out there, chances are you instantly think of the Madden series by EA Sports, a series that got its start back in 1988 on MS-DOS and started yearly releases in 1990 on the Sega Genesis. You think of any video game console from the 16-bit days onwards, chances are Madden’s got a game on there (yes, even the Game Boy had a release for Madden NFL 95 back in 1994.) While Madden is the biggest football video game series out there, there’s other games out there.
I’m here today to talk about Retro Bowl, one of the newest football games out there, released by New Star Games earlier this year. This game is available on Google Play for Android devices, as well as the App Store for Apple products, and online at poki.com (spelled p o k i dot com.) It’s a free download with in-app purchases available. Retro Bowl was created by Simon Read of New Star Games, with the Art by John Savage and music by the Heatley Brothers, and special thanks go out john holden, five aces, and @mrspecialk_. For this review, I look at the Android and Internet versions.
From the start, you choose your name and team, with your first game normally starting late in a season. From there, it’s your job to build your roster and coaching staff, consisting of two assists, one on each offense and defense. The more stars a coach or player has, the better they perform. You have your full slate of NFL cities, but you can also change not only the look of your team but the name as well. If you want the Bengals instead of Cincinnati , you can change it to that. Do you want Brady back in a Patriots jersey? Change their name (as long as it’s a short name, I tried it for my Tight End while with New England, it got shortened to Gronski.)
The graphics are nice and retro-y, if that’s even a word. It’s got the eight-bit look, and it’s quite a colorful game. You even have the option to turn on scanlines from the Options menu to make it look even more old-school, but I personally leave those off.
Some of your options include how long each quarter last, which is normally set for two minutes. You can also change the difficulty, weather changes, camera zooms, music and sound control, which way you can drive the field, and the size of your team. One of the new updates also you to have a max salary cap at $200 Million and 12 roster spots total. That might not sound a lot, but you fill up the spots and cap quickly.
Gameplay wise, you control the offense. You are the Quarterback driving the offense, with your normal options to hand off to your running back or the ability to spread it out with your receiving crew. You can have two Wide Receivers, normally spread out on the wings, as well as one Tight End and your Running Back. On the Android device, passing is smooth. You pull back behind the quarterback to pass, then aim towards a target. The farther you stretch, the longer your QB can throw (as long as their stats allow you to.) To run, you touch the Running Back and they’ll run in the direction according to what the play is. Online, you use the mouse to throw, along with the WASD keys to move or dive. You have audibles in the game, normally starting with one per half (thanks to an update on Google Play), but as you level up your Quarterback, you’ll get even more audibles. I think my QB had six at one point before deciding to toss him in the Free Agent ocean.
Speaking of leveling up, the more XP the players get, the better stats they can have. Each player has the potential to be better, with a max level set in. For QBs, you have Throwing Accuracy, Arm Strength, Speed, and Stamina you can upgrade, for Wide Receivers there’s catching and strength, Kickers have Accuracy and Range, and Offensive Line and defensive players have Tackling, Strength, and speed. Your coaches can also have special attributes, such as the ability to level up players quicker, make tiredness a moot point, and even the ability to have toxic morale players have no affect on team morale.
The gameplay itself is fun and quickly goes by. I can pick up and play a single game quickly, and the time flies by when you have quarters set to two minutes. It’s easy to pass and rush in this game, as well as kick field goals and extra points. While you don’t have any control on defense, the better players you have, the stronger defense you’ll turn in.
You also have coaching credits, which can be used to sign free agents, hire better coaches, and improve stadium and rehab facilities. The higher your fanbase approval is, the more coaching credits you can earn. Win the ultimate game in the Retro Bowl and your name will be forever etched into the history of the sport, until you erase the game.
Overall, this game is a lot of fun. It’s easy to pick up and play, it’s rewarding when you have level up and improve your team and fanbase, and it’s highly recommended for those that want a new football game. It’s free on Google Play, but there’s also a few in app purchases you can make, mainly for coaching credits. This game gets a thumbs up!