Legendary Eleven review for Nintendo Switch, PC

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also On: PC
Publisher: Eclipse Games
Developer: Eclipse Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: No

While I don?t usually have nostalgia for gaming in the ?90s, I will say this: it was a great time to be a fan of sports games. No matter what sport you were into, chances were good you had multiple options (frequently even multiple licensed options), each of them offering distinctive versions of on-field (or on-court, on-rink) action. By comparison, it?s almost impossible to imagine today?s versions of Madden, FIFA, or NBA 2K cutting loose and getting a little goofy a la NBA Jam or Base Wars.

Legendary Eleven is a throwback to those earlier days of gaming. It?s a soccer game without any kind of official licenses as far as I can tell, where you have the option of power-ups and skill shots, and where the players are all slightly cartoony. If someone told me this was a remastered version of a game from 25 years ago, I would have no trouble whatsoever believing that.

In some ways, this is a good thing. Freed of trying to faithfully represent modern-day soccer, Legendary Eleven presents a vision of the game as it may have looked about 40 years ago, with big hair, short shorts, sloppy play, and even sloppier pitches. It rounds things out with slightly washed-out graphics that look like they belong on an old CRT TV. Combine those factors with those aforementioned skill shorts and power-ups that can make the referees swallow their whistles, and you almost get a retro-tinged, NBA Jam-ish vibe from the game when it all clicks.

Unfortunately, it doesn?t always click. While sloppy play may fit the vibe of what the game is going for, it?s not always super fun to experience. For the most part, the players here have weaker kicks, slower runs, and less stamina than what you?d get from the equivalent players in FIFA. Likewise, while the downgraded graphics may also align with what the game is going for, it?s occasionally challenging on the eyes when two teams are wearing uniforms that have similar colour schemes.

That said, those problems never seem like insurmountable challenges — more minor, nitpicky annoyances. In fact, in a way they only reinforce the overall impression that Legendary Eleven is a loose, ramshackle approximation of soccer, rather than a dedicated impersonation of the real thing. If you want another FIFA, that probably won?t do, but if you?re looking for something that captures of the vibe of off-brand sports games from decades ago, it?ll do you just fine.

Eclipse Games provided us with a Legendary Elevent Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B