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Critic Reviews

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With arcade-like, simplistic game play and easy controls, Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff gives a nice little alternative to the realism found in that other football title. Now if we could only get an Xbox Live Arcade or PSN version with online leagues life would be grand.
No doubt, some will miss their licensed team logos. They'll long to be steamrolled by Christian Okoye. They'll find the gameplay too limiting after all these years. For me, that simplicity stands as the best inheritance Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff could receive.
G4 TV: X-Play (Nov 25, 2008)
In this day of super HD home consoles and blockbuster, multi-million dollar video games, the elegant simplicity of games like Tecmo Bowl are understated. It’s never going to be the next Madden in terms of sales or simulation, but what Tecmo Bowl Kickoff does offer is fast, fun football action on the go and you owe it to yourself to pick it up, especially if you grew up with the series and want to bring a little nostalgia back into your life.
GameZone (Dec 03, 2008)
If you’re expecting a reality-faithful, Madden-approved game of pigskin, look elsewhere. For players seeking fun, simple and addictive football gameplay, though, Tecmo Bowl is still the game’s unrivaled MVP. Hut, hut, it!
IGN (Nov 11, 2008)
It's a great "remember when" piece; the football experience definitely has a hard time holding up to today's sports experiences, but Tecmo does everything it can to make sure Tecmo Bowl fans have something to cherish in a current generation product on the Nintendo DS.
Nintendojo (2008)
Some visual and audio tweaks are bothersome, such as the lack of field information. Stylus controls also come up more than a few yards short compared to traditional button controls. All in all, though, Kickoff is a good, portable way to get a classic football fix on the go.
Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff is a blast from the past. The experience I had with this game was great. I felt like I was playing the original game. Madden might be the king football but Kickoff is the game fans will play for years. Pick this one up, even if you have to go through a few copies to find a good one.
Game Chronicles (Jan 24, 2009)
The gameplay is still just as challenging (if not more), and the touchdowns are just as rewarding (also, if not more), and if you are willing to put aside some basic gaming conventions – it can be a ton of fun.
GamePro (US) (Nov 11, 2008)
Players looking for an accessible football sim with robust local and NWC multiplayer capabilities will cheer on Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff, especially against a monolithic Madden franchise. If nostalgia is your game, the original Tecmo Bowl on Virtual Console still remains unbeaten after all these years.
At the end of the day, the only thing to say is "Well, its Tecmo Bowl," and while it doesn't do much else than relive the past, it does have the simple, fun gameplay of its predecessors. After all, the only thing that any good football game should have is fun and quick gameplay and Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff will keep you entertained for a while.
GameSpy (Nov 19, 2008)
If you've never dominated the competition as Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl or carved up an opposing defense as Dan Marino in Tecmo Super Bowl, this game is going to look and feel antiquated, with gameplay that hasn't aged particularly well. However, for those who fondly remember tapping the "A" button as fast as they could to avoid tackles, this is an enjoyable title, mainly because of the feelings of nostalgia it will inspire. Sure, many of us have grown up, cut our mullets and gotten big-boy jobs, but Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff gives you a chance to relive those days when you and your buddy played Nintendo on your parents' couch.
NintendoWorldReport (Nov 24, 2008)
Giving players the ability to edit every piece of team and player information in the game is a great feature, and the online play is welcome and sure to extend the life of the title, but in the end it all seems a little too barebones. You can’t help but wish that Tecmo put a little more attention into the details that place Kickoff’s predecessors amongst the most cherished titles in gaming.
Operation Sports (Nov 27, 2008)
With a single-player mode that gets old after one season, and an online mode with lag issues that make it more or less unplayable, the only use I can see for Kickoff is as a local head-to-head game. So if you and your friends have DS handhelds and are looking for a way to play Tecmo Bowl on the go, you might get some long-term enjoyment out of the game. All other gamers would be better off sticking with their dusty (but trusty) copy of Tecmo Bowl for the NES/SNES.
I applaud Tecmo for returning to the Tecmo Bowl well. A new Tecmo Bowl game has been long overdue, and it's appreciated that they made one. However, for the next version, we need more. Since there's no NFL license, we need more to differentiate players. We need to know who the stars are. We need more challenge. We need Here's hoping the next Tecmo Bowl game builds on this one.
68 (Feb 24, 2009)
Tecmo Bowl Kickoff is a decent addition to the franchise and a welcomed one at that. The game does however have some gameplay and statistical flaws that hamper the experience. If you’re going solo most of the time, you’ll probably get bored after a while but if you have people to play with to renew some old rivalries (friends or family be damned) then you’ll have a blast.
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.
Gaming Age (Dec 10, 2008)
The gameplay is pretty much the same, outside of the addition of super skills and the fact that the defense has an uncanny ability to always catch up to you, but if you're interested in the team editing to really recreate your old school memories of the original games, you might end up being more frustrated than amused by the final product. Still, I'm glad the game actually came out, and I hope that Tecmo uses it as a stepping-stone for a better game in the near future.
Lawrence (Dec 30, 2008)
When it comes down to it, this title will please the people it was made for. Anyone looking for a Madden-esque experience will be sorely disappointed by the lack of depth, but those looking for nostalgia will feel right at home.
I had high hopes for the return of my favorite childhood football game. But without any meaningful new features or the NFL license to prop up the game on nostalgia value, it fails to turn in a memorable performance.
I had a hard time adjusting to either the button- or touch screen-based passing controls, and the classic guess-the-play strategy was boring even back in the day. There’s no masking that there’s not much to this game, and its prominent presence in your memory is stronger than its fleeting substance.
Modojo (Dec 02, 2008)
As it stands, Tecmo Bowl Kick Off doesn't have enough features to propel it to must buy status. It's a neat throwback, but its dated visuals, lack of options and ridiculous team names make it a rental at best.
GameSpot (Nov 24, 2008)
Then again, a lot of things would have better served Tecmo purists. Though it feels great to take your custom team on the road or play with a friend over wireless, Tecmo Bowl Kickoff isn't going to make you forget about the original NES games anytime soon. The classic gameplay will take you back, but it can only take you so far.
When we first heard about a new Tecmo Bowl our minds began racing at just how they’d improve the game while still keeping the series aesthetic. Apparently the developers never figured it out and decided instead to stick to the tried-and-true. The problem is that it’s not so “true” anymore. Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff is a missed opportunity, and probably should have stayed retired rather than risk its hall of fame status.
Gamervision (Jan, 2009)
A disappointing effort all around, especially considering that a little more polish and a few more features (and some American influence) would have made this an interesting, worthwhile title. As it stands, however, Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff is little more than a weak attempt to cash in on nostalgia.
1UP (Nov 11, 2008)
Dated in many ways, ageless in others, there's no reason for this unlicensed title to be annual...but I still hope it is. Let's hope they work out the A.I. kinks and finally craft the Tecmo Bowl follow-up we've been hoping for all these years.
GamesRadar (Nov 18, 2008)
But on the field, the graphics are somewhere between 8- and 16-bit ugly on purpose. Plus, even though its teams are fake, the team editor enables players with immense amounts of free time to transform, say, the Oakland Leviathans into the Raiders, current roster included. But what’s the point of making your favorite team when they play like beginners?
The Video Game Critic (Jan 19, 2009)
The terminology is all wrong, with punts referred to as "turnovers" and two-point conversions hailed as "touchdowns". The CPU makes horrible decisions, like kicking an extra point when down by two points at the end of a game. You can't even pause the game. The user interface for the season mode is atrocious, forcing you to "sim" each game and save them one-by-one. Had a knowledgeable football fan play-tested this (instead of a chimpanzee), these issues would have been easy to catch and rectify. As it is, Tecmo Bowl Kickoff makes a mockery of a storied franchise. Oh well, if you've ever dreamed about taking the Washington Volcanics to the championship, here's your big chance.