As we write this it’s nearly time for the 2022 SUPER BOWL, which we understand has to be shouted with great enthusiasm. As a bit of history, here in NL Towers during Thanksgiving 2021 we had a bright idea – “let’s do a best NFL-style list for Switch, like the
proper football / soccer one we did in the Summer!”
Oh how we patted ourselves on the back, and we’ve now revisited this list knowing that the Super Bowl (or Superb Owl for you witty types) is one of the world’s biggest sporting occasions and – as we write this – is right around the corner. Even though your humble scribe is (foolishly) a Chicago Bears fan and has no bear in the upcoming fight, I’ll be watching the big game in the early hours of Monday morning in Britain while munching pretzels. It’s the dream.
At Thanksgiving last year we diligently looked at the Switch eShop and the internet to figure out which exciting games to include in this list and settled on… all of them. To say it was slim pickings would be an understatement but it’s now got an extra game – Retro Bowl is fresh on the eShop, joins the list and is bloomin’ excellent, so that’s nice.
Publisher: FiveAcesPublishing / Developer: New Star Games
Retro Bowl, like most games on this list, goes for a stylised approach inspired by Tecmo Bowl; it’s rather addictive. You are General Manager / Head Coach / Quarterback in this game; the ‘sim’ part has you pick players in the draft, trade players, play nice with the owner, renew contracts, appease fans and more besides. The actual gameplay is all about dropping back and playing quarterback, and that’s terrific fun. A cool distraction either in the build-up to a big game or to help you through the long, long off-season.
Publisher: Digital Dreams / Developer: Digital Dreams
We didn’t exactly shower this in praise in our review, but the developers did promise many moons ago to add missing content in a free update. Some do enjoy this game too, a spiritual successor to a cult classic on SEGA Mega Drive; it plays like ‘real’ football to an extent, though of course the concept means there are all sorts of extravagant and violent shenanigans taking place as well.
SNK produced a broad range of sports games for the Neo Geo, so naturally this is the American Football entry in the series. It has chunky sprites familiar to fans of the company’s output, with some neat touches like over-the-top player celebration animations and a fancy spiralling ball when it’s up in the air. As expected, of course, the Arcade Archives version on Switch has a lot of little goodies and options thanks to HAMSTER’s work.
This is only available on the North American eShop (we can’t find it on the UK store, in any case), with this being a premium iteration after a previous mobile release. It draws some inspiration from Tecmo Bowl but naturally offers more modern visuals, a faster pace and additional depth in terms of play selections. It also throws in some fighting for comedic effect, while a season mode has some RPG-lite twists. All told it’s a game that seems to best suit modest expectations, short bursts and relaxed fun.
This is a game that has a place in many hearts, in particular the original NES release that provided (at the time) dizzying depth considering the technology. It’s rather cool, then, that we can experience the more technically impressive version that was found in many arcades in the late ’80s. It’s surprising just how different it looks to the iconic 8-bit version, so if you’re curious about what Tecmo could achieve without battling hardware limitations this eShop version is worth a look.
Yeah, we had to cheat to get six games, that’s how limited the range of American Football titles is on Switch. This is the rather different but fondly remembered NES version of the game. It’s not on the eShop, but it is in the NES app for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers. If that doesn’t make NSO worth signing up to, then we don’t know what to say…
And that’s it, time for the victory formation. Not exactly a feast, is it? We did our best but the Switch isn’t blessed with many American Football games. In any case, let us know your favourites — and any we’ve somehow missed! — down in the comments.
Honestly, we’d love to bulk this out a bit — please tell us we’ve missed some!