Retro Bowl: Worth the play or overhyped?


Photo by Chris Castelli

Junior Abraham Labban plays a game of Retro Bowl during lunch on Nov. 12.

Retro Bowl, a mobile football game developed by New Star Games, has captured the attention of students across all grades through its unique approach to a new fresh football game. The main goal of the game is to coach a fictional team created by the user and play through a season against computer-created teams to earn prizes and continuously  improve your team. The exciting new game has topped the Apple app store charts for number one simulation game, but does it live up to all the hype?

I really got hooked to Retro Bowl because it brought something original to the mobile gaming scene and it’s not just a copy of the Madden NFL series.”

— Abraham Labban

Retro Bowl was released on Jan. 17, 2020 by New Star Games, a British video-game developer that is also known for making the popular Retro Goal mobile game and New Star Soccer. Fans love Retro Bowl because of its uniqueness with its retro-style graphics and features that focus on the front office part of a team. “I really got hooked to Retro Bowl because it brought something original to the mobile gaming scene and it’s not just a copy of the Madden NFL series,” junior Retro Bowl player Abraham Labban said.

Each team has 10 players and as the user progresses through seasons, their salary cap will increase and they can trade for new players who will improve their teams. Different from other mobile sports games, players can simulate a draft by picking up new coaches and players through the use of coaching credits that are earned by playing or purchasing them with real money. “I like how the game introduced new features like being able to manage your front office and making it feel like a real NFL team,” senior Retro Bowl player Omar Fuentes said. 

Retro Bowl’s main competitor is Madden Mobile, a different mobile football game released in 2014  and created by EA Sports. Although Retro Bowl focuses on a simulation experience and Madden Mobile focuses on a gameplay-first experience, some students think Madden Mobile offers more interactive features with other users. “I enjoy Retro Bowl’s style of play and the nostalgic graphics but Madden Mobile in its prime was a much better game because of the competitive aspect it offered,” Fuentes said.   

However, Retro Bowl does have its downsides, such as users not being able to play special teams or defense and not being able see how the players they drafted are actually playing. Also the plays are predetermined by the computer before the snap and although users can audible different plays, an actual playbook would add more strategic thinking into the game. “The fan morale feature isn’t one of my favorites because I think it takes away from the actual gameplay, but I do think the defense doesn’t need to be played in a simplistic game like this,” junior Retro Bowl player Tyler Cosgrove said.

Even though Retro Bowl is not the greatest mobile sports game ever, it has offered a new take to adding simulation to sports games. With its distinct characteristics, Retro Bowl has the potential to progress into a great game that will influence how other developers will create sports games in the future.