|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Tecmo||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Tecmo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 18, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
On the presentation front, the funny sounds and charming visuals are true to their retro roots. The main musical theme is straight out of the late 80s, and the on-field effects are perfectly crude. The pixelated sprites, simple animations, and cheesy stop-animation-like, special action scenes are not going to wow you in any way but they fit the bill nicely, nonetheless.
Controls also follow the retro line. For the most part, players will only have to use the A and B buttons along with the directional pad for movement. This simple setup works like it should and captures the flavor of the title. However, they do feel decidedly archaic. The DS has four face and two shoulder buttons and they probably could have all been used to greater effect. Yet, the dev team at Tecmo did include touch screen controls. The touch-sensitive controls work a lot better than I thought they would. I especially liked their implementation during passing plays and while selecting defensive players, as it's just a matter of a simple tap rather than cycling through them. However, during running plays it's a different story. I found myself to be far more successful at breaking tackles and employing the sideways rushing exploit with the traditional control setup. As a result, using a hybrid of standard and touch screen controls seems to be the best way to play. Thankfully, players can use either as they see fit without having to constantly change it in the options menu.
If you dig retro titles, don't hesitate to pick this game up. One could easily wring 30+ hours out of this game before getting bored with it. However, don't expect an experience like that of EA's Madden NFL 09; you'll be sorely disappointed. All in all, Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff is a nicely polished version of a franchise that's steeped in history, but it certainly won't be ideal for everyone.
CCC Editor / News Director