Retro Bowl is an arcade-style game with a U.S. football theme that revisits the nostalgia of 8-bit classics from the 1980s. The player, as head coach, must help a low-ranked, professional team achieve a successful first season. Over time, they can build up their career until they coach their favorite team.
The player manages everything from day one until they and their favorite team achieve greatness. The game offers them many opportunities to make improvements off the field. Through the Front Office and Roster areas, they can check and update the salary cap, team and fan morale, and star ratings for offense and defense. They can improve the physical shape of the stadium, training and rehab facilities to turn around fan morale and player performance. They can review and update details about their draft picks, free agents and staff hires, alter training regimens and extend contracts.
When it's time for a game, the player can alter various settings, including cam zoom, quarter minutes, roster size and weather. They can set up dynamic play that becomes more difficult after each win and update the uniforms and ball type. On the field, they control player positions and make critical gameplay decisions. They also receive opportunities to earn coaching credits, which they can use to pay for all the changes that they make on and off the field.