Review: Arcade Archives Football Frenzy (Switch) - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Friday, September 14, 2018

Review: Arcade Archives Football Frenzy (Switch)

by Danny Bivens

Chunky American football.
American football is still an underserved sub genre of games on the Switch. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Hamster is currently the only company carrying the torch with the sport on Nintendo’s system. They are after all responsible for the first American football title on the Switch with Arcade Archives 10 Yard Fight back in May (2018). Now comes the second American football game to appear on Switch - Football Frenzy. With Frenzy, we get a more modern, visually stunning experience compared to what we’ve seen with 10 Yard Fight. The game is clearly a visual stunner, however there are some things that hold it back from being a must own game.

Football Frenzy doesn’t feature any licensed teams or players which is fitting for a 1992 release from a Japanese company. The game features fictional teams and no true player specific names. Reading through the instruction manual gives you some insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the teams. For example, the Bisons have a really fast receiver, so if you’re interested in utilizing a good passing game, that’s the team to pick. The Crushers have a great quarterback but all of their other offensive players are middling at best. There are short introductions for all ten teams in the game that go over the strengths and weaknesses. Of course, if you don’t feel like diving in to the manual, picking teams based on the name or a cool looking logo is also a way to go.
The default controls in Frenzy can be kind of confusing. The in-game buttons are automatically mapped to completely different buttons that are found on the standard Switch controller. Some adjusting in the options is definitely beneficial. After inserting some “coins” with the press of a shoulder button, you’ll get right into the action in a tournament style of play. On offense, you have a variety of pass and run options at your disposal. For on the field passing, buttons are assigned to your receivers. Running lets you either take the ball on the ground with the quarterback or pitch it to other runners. Mashing the A button gives a bit of a speed boost to your players. Defense is simple, allowing players to cycle through defenders as well as tackle. It’s all pretty straight forward once you have the controls set in a way that is easy for you to understand, you'll be good to go.

Even with the controls being straight forward, Football Frenzy isn’t anything to write home about. Passing plays seem to be bit over-powered and are usually a sure way of picking up first downs. The running game is hit or miss. While playing, I would usually get five yard gains at best, but usually just get brought down in the backfield. Kickoffs were also kind of annoying. The computer can always get great, deep kicks. However, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to mash the button for the power meter to get the ball anywhere close to the distance the CPU can achieve. All said, it’s not bad, but just average at best.
There are four game modes that can be selected. The original game is available in both English in Japanese and players can also play the high score mode or the five minute Caravan mode. All of this is pretty standard when it comes to Hamster Arcade Archive releases on the Switch, so you probably know what you’re getting at this point. As of right now, you could easily become one of the top players in the world, completing with the half a dozen or see people that have tried these modes. Good luck to ya.

The visuals of Football Frenzy are what really set this game apart. The brightly colored huge sprites simply look fantastic. The look of the game also varies slightly depending on the kind of play that you’re running. If you opt for a pass play, you will be treated with a more zoomed out view. Choosing a run gives a really close up look at the players. While the detail on the sprites are fantastic, the zoom does make it a little more difficult to spot incoming defenders. Other visual elements, such as short cut scenes after touchdowns or the halftime show look impressive. In typical Hamster fashion, once you turn off the default filter, Football Frenzy looks incredibly crisp. I’m still baffled as to why they always have some kind of filter on by default, however it is incredibly easy to change this in the options.
Football Frenzy is a phenomenal looking game that is somewhat lacking in the gameplay department. While it is more akin to what is expected out of a more modern American football game, it doesn’t really stand out in any way other than the visuals. If you are really starved for some pigskin action on your Switch, right now, this is your best option. Holding out for a future release in the genre will be a better option for most.

Final Score: 6.0

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