Retro Bowl iOS Review

retro bowl

Retro Bowl is a captivating iOS app that successfully blends the simplicity of classic sports games with modern mobile gaming elements. Developed by New Star Games, the creators of the popular New Star Soccer series, Retro Bowl brings a refreshing and nostalgic take on American football, delivering an engaging experience for both casual gamers and football enthusiasts.

One of the standout features of Retro Bowl is its straightforward yet immersive gameplay. The controls are intuitive, allowing players to easily navigate their team on the field. The touch-based interface feels responsive, and actions such as passing, running, and tackling are executed with a simple tap or swipe. This accessibility is crucial for players of all skill levels, ensuring that even those new to football games can quickly grasp the mechanics and enjoy the experience.

The game’s graphics contribute to its retro charm, employing pixel art that harkens back to the golden age of 8-bit gaming. While the visuals may not be cutting-edge, they play a significant role in establishing the game’s nostalgic atmosphere. The simplicity of the graphics doesn’t hinder the overall experience; instead, it adds a unique charm that sets Retro Bowl apart from more realistic sports simulations.


Retro Bowl’s main gameplay mode revolves around managing and coaching your team to success. Players start with a modest squad and are tasked with leading them to victory through a series of matches. The team management aspect introduces an additional layer of strategy as you make decisions on player recruitment, training, and play calling. It’s not just about controlling the players on the field; it’s about shaping the destiny of your entire team.

Recruitment is a key aspect of team management, and Retro Bowl offers a diverse pool of players to choose from. Each player has unique attributes, including speed, passing, catching, and tackling skills. Balancing these attributes is crucial to building a well-rounded team. The recruitment process involves scouting, negotiations, and making tough decisions based on your team’s needs. It adds a dynamic element to the game, forcing players to think strategically about the composition of their squad.

Training is another pivotal aspect of team development. Players can invest time and resources into improving their team’s skills, making them more competitive on the field. The training system is straightforward yet effective, allowing you to allocate resources based on your team’s weaknesses or areas that need reinforcement. This aspect of the game adds a satisfying sense of progression as you witness your players grow and become more skilled over time.

On the field, Retro Bowl captures the essence of American football without overwhelming players with complex controls. The play-calling system is streamlined, presenting a selection of offensive and defensive plays that cater to various strategies. As a coach, you have the flexibility to adapt your play style to exploit the weaknesses of the opposing team. The simplicity of the play-calling system ensures that even those unfamiliar with the intricacies of football can enjoy the tactical aspect of the game.

A unique feature that adds depth to the gameplay is the inclusion of a passing mini-game. When executing a pass, players enter a simple yet engaging mode where they control the trajectory of the ball. This interactive element adds a personal touch to each play, making successful passes feel like a result of your skill rather than luck. It’s a small detail, but it significantly enhances the overall experience.

Retro Bowl’s difficulty progression is well-balanced, offering a satisfying challenge without becoming frustrating. As you advance through the seasons, the competition becomes tougher, requiring you to continuously refine your team’s strategy and make wise decisions in recruiting and training. The sense of accomplishment in leading a previously struggling team to championship glory is one of Retro Bowl’s most rewarding aspects.

The game’s replayability is further enhanced by its seasonal structure. Each season presents new challenges and opportunities, keeping the gameplay fresh and preventing it from becoming monotonous. The ever-changing landscape, coupled with the randomness of player injuries and retirements, adds a layer of unpredictability that keeps players engaged in the long run.

In-app purchases are available in Retro Bowl, allowing players to acquire in-game currency for faster progression. However, the game maintains a fair balance, ensuring that those who choose not to make purchases can still enjoy a fulfilling experience. The microtransactions don’t feel intrusive, and progression through the game is achievable through dedicated gameplay.

While Retro Bowl excels in various aspects, it’s not without a few minor shortcomings. The lack of a multiplayer mode is a notable omission, as the competitive nature of American football lends itself well to head-to-head matchups. The addition of multiplayer functionality could elevate Retro Bowl’s appeal and provide an avenue for players to challenge their friends or other users globally.

Worth the Download?

Retro Bowl stands out as a gem in the mobile gaming landscape. Its combination of accessible gameplay, strategic team management, and nostalgic pixel art make it a must-play for both football enthusiasts and casual gamers alike. The game successfully captures the spirit of classic sports games while introducing modern elements that keep it relevant and engaging. With its well-balanced difficulty, satisfying progression, and charming aesthetic, Retro Bowl cements its place as one of the standout sports games on iOS.