Retro Goal review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Switch
Publisher: Five Aces Publishing
Developer: New Star Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

Earlier this year, I reviewed Retro Bowl, an excellent, retro-tinged football game that?s probably the best football game the Switch has to offer (which, admittedly, isn?t a high bar to clear). Now the same developers are back with Retro Goal, their take on the other kind of football ? and, even though the competition is a little bit fiercer, they make a pretty solid argument for having created the best soccer game on the Switch, too.

In large part, Retro Goal doesn?t stray too far from the formula established in Retro Bowl. It looks like it could have come out thirty years ago, the gameplay is basic enough that it doesn?t require too much in the way of knowledge in order to pick up and play it, you only have to play on offense?and it?s incredibly addictive the moment everything clicks into place.

What?s more, once everything becomes clear, you soon discover just how deep this game is ? both on and off the pitch. On the field, you have full control over your formations, and you can move players around so that you optimize your best offensive ones up front. Further, you can quickly flick the ball all over the place, and the game makes long passes a cinch thanks to the action slowing down as you figure out exactly where you want the ball to go. As I said, much like Retro Bowl, it takes a few games to get the hang of how it works, but it doesn?t take long to get to a point where you can make your team competitive even against the best other teams.

As for off the field, you don?t just have full control of your roster, you also get to build up your stadium and training grounds, reinforce your youth academy, and basically do a lot of what you?d expect from other, much higher profile sports games. You also have to balance all kinds of factors like individual player happiness, schmoozing the owner for more funds, and building your fanbase. There?s a lot to do over the course of a pretty lengthy career mode — and, like with the on-field game, it doesn?t take long for everything to become obvious enough that it?s fun.

Which means that Retro Goal is just a really fun game all-around. It captures not just the spirit of the sport it?s trying to emulate, but also the essence of what makes a great soccer game. It may not look like the new standard for soccer games on the Switch, but if you pick it up, you?ll soon find it makes a very convincing argument.

Five Aces Publishing provided us with a Retro Goal Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A-