Football Heroes Turbo review for Nintendo Switch, PC

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also On: PC
Publisher: Run Games
Developer: Run Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: Yes
ESRB: E10+

When I played Atari Flashback Classics earlier this year, one of the things that stood out for me most was how little football games have changed over the past several decades. I mean, sure, Madden is miles beyond anything they could have dreamed of back on those Atari arcade machines, but the basic game isn?t all that different.

There?s an even straighter line between Atari Football and Football Heroes Turbo. Like those old games, Football Heroes Turbo is focused more on delivering arcade action than a comprehensive, true-to-life experience.

It achieves this streamlining things down to their basics. You choose from around a dozen offensive plays and a dozen defensive ones. Each half lasts only a couple of minutes. The game doesn?t keep any individual records, and focuses only on the score. There?s no needless commentary. Seasons last only a couple of games, before launching straight into the playoffs.

That?s not to say there?s no depth whatsoever. You can edit your team name, colours, and logo, for starters. You can also dip into a very limited free agent market in order to upgrade your team, and you can train up your existing players up so that their can do things like shoot fireballs and teleport.

Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. You see, as much inspiration as Football Heroes Turbo draws from, say, Tecmo Bowl, it draws an equal amount from beat-?em-ups like Double Dragon or Battletoads. You aren?t just allowed to punch and kick your opponents, you?re encouraged to do so — get in enough punches, in fact, and you earn bonus dollars for your team. While the end goal is still scoring more points than the other team, it?s much easier to do so if you?ve upgraded, and a surefire to upgrade is to pound the crap out of your opponents.

In other words, if you?re looking for refs to throw the flag on pass interference, it?s not happening here. You can pummel opposing linesmen into submission, you can launch your players into waiting receivers, you can pause during a kick return to throw hands at oncoming tacklers — it?s all legal. Thankfully, the game balances all this out by a) giving every player a stamina bar, and b) requiring a cooldown period between special move uses.

That?s not to say Football Heroes Turbo is a totally balanced game. Seasons gets progressively tougher the longer you play, and you?ll quickly find that if you aren?t leveling your players up as quickly as possible, they quickly turn into braindead morons against stiffer competition.

On the whole, though, this game is perfect for anyone who wants to play football without knowing all that much about its many intricacies. Football Heroes Turbo is no substitute for Madden, but if you?re a Switch gamer, that?s probably not what you?re after. This game is a throwback to the earlier days of gaming — and, given the whole beat-?em-up aspect, it?s a throwback in more ways than one.

Run Games provided us with a Football Heroes Turbo Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B+