Football Heroes Hands-On Preview

When I sat down to play Football Heroes, the pitch from the game’s creators at Run Games was somewhat weird. At its core, Football Heroes starts by drawing heavily from Tecmo Bowl’s classic and simplistic style of football. The next thing was infusing that proven formula with MOBA-inspired special attacks, like in League of Legends. Quite the unusual mix, but I parked the hype, and tried out Football Heroes for myself.

Tecmo Bowl’s influence on Football Heroes is undeniable. The side-scrolling field of view, play calling systems, and controls are inspired from that legendary game. These design decisions make picking up the game extremely easy, especially for sports heads. Where the comparisons stop is in its touches that make the action feel modern. Football Heroes is a good looking game, most evident in the animation department. Players move and perform with lots of personality and swagger, especially with the special moves.

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Speaking of special moves, Football Heroes is rather ridiculous. Players can do spinning backfists, fireballs, uppercuts, and dozens of other aggressive moves on offense and defense. The effects of these moves are largely determined by player ratings and rank levels, so developing your players is going to be huge for bluetooth and online multiplayer games. Trying out the Bluetooth multiplayer on an iPhone vs. iPad setup was largely smooth, but the game is still development as evinced by a mid-game crash.

Customization is a huge element of Football Heroes as well. You can adjust your team colors, and name, and even import logos and pictures to show up on team stadiums and helmets. The import tool looked easy to navigate and I’m sure some fanatics will enjoy recreating real NFL teams here.

While we’ll need more time with the game before offering a final verdict, the potential in Football Heroes is undeniable. The game is already very fun and the spirit of Tecmo Bowl is captured nicely. The variety of special moves seems solid, but only time will tell if these moves are additive or simply gimmicks. Football Heroes will be free-to-play and is coming this fall right in time for the 2013-2014 NFL season.

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