Review: New hit game app ‘Retro Bowl’ proves simple yet successful

Matthew Grace
Contributing Writer

Retro Bowl
Graphic from

“Retro Bowl,” an 8-bit themed game produced by Retro New Star Games has reached No. 1 on most downloads and is currently rated as the No.1 free game to download on the Apple App Store. “Retro Bowl” has also gained attraction in schools with many students having the game download.

“Retro Bowl” gained its popularity from the leading social media platform TikTok, with thousands of videos created about the game, including memes, compilations and clips. The game plans to be introduced and playable on the Nintendo Switch in 2022. Free to play on the app store, its worth trying for many sports fans especially fans of football.

Like Tecmo Bowl, “Retro Bowl” simply takes the popular sport of football and puts it into a simple 8 bit game. Its simplicity and fast pace makes it addictive and makes it playable at any time. Without the full normal 15 minutes per quarter, the game lets the player switch between one minute – three minutes per quarter, with the maximum time possibly used for to finish a full game being around 12 minutes. It’s perfect to fill in those short times of boredom, and keeps the player occupied.

When more time is needed to occupy, there’s more football games to play. A player thoroughly progress through the game’s football “season” with a total collective time to finish a season is only around 3.2 hours, not including the postseason games if the player’s Retro Bowl team is successful enough to advance.

Playing the game itself is easy to learn, but it still gives the player a challenge of playing against the other team. The game makes the player think as a real quarterback trying to find somebody open to throw to and to advance on the field: the strategy of throwing to the right player while avoiding getting picked off by the opposing player.

“Retro Bowl” lets any player be like a head coach of a professional team and makes it easy to handle. Learning the ropes of managing the team and the key necessities isn’t hard, and the player still gets to experience enough strategy for more consideration.

One of the big goals in handling a franchise and a team is to entertain the fans. The fans’ positivity is measured through a progress bar. The team’s success, the player’s actions and the team players actions changes the fans positivity. The more positive the fans are, the more money the player receives.

Some more of the team properties in “Retro Bowl” are morale and condition. Players’ morale can be changed by actions in the team, and their contributions and success within each game. Morale may determine their performance and changes the average team morale of all the players’ morale combined.

The “Retro Bowl” morale system may sometimes be flawed or weird, for example: A player may still be angry even after winning a “Retro Bowl” title and receiving an MVP award. Sometimes, players of “Retro Bowl” can feel connected to the players in their team, as they progress through the season. They’re players that they either drafted or bought through free agents. They are a part of the team that they built. They wish for them to do well, because they will contribute to their team’s success.

The money system in “Retro Bowl” is shown with the currency “coaching credits” in which the player can use to upgrade their team, boost morale, buy team coaches and team players, or increase team players’ contracts.

Coach credits help the most in the player’s progression into upgrading and improving the team. Coaching credits can be bought with real money, though the amount of coach credits the player get upon paying a certain amount of cash isn’t what it’s worth and with a good enough team, the player can earn $2 worth of coaching credits in under a day.

The only worthwhile purchase would be the unlimited version. For only $1, the player can get access to team and team player editing, increased salary cap, increased roster size and many more features. The unlimited version gives the player 200 coaching credits worth of a salary cap boost that would usually cost $4 – $5, not including the many other features that they recieve when purchasing the unlimited version.

Once “Retro Bowl” was introduced by TikTok in mid 2021, people swarmed to play this game. It may stick around for a while, but it’s still worth playing. After all it’s completely free to play.

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