OS Scores Explained Axis Football 2016 Overview (PC)
Basic and enjoyable football, Heavily customizable and moddable, Unique passing system.
Need to limit expectations going in, Franchise mode is very limited, $20 seems high, though you are supporting an indy developer.
Bottom Line
Playable and engaging in short doses, a game worth exploring if modding community takes the game up for sure.
out of 10
Axis Football 2016 REVIEW

Axis Football 2016 Review (PC)

“We think Axis Football is a lot of fun, but it's certainly not up to current standard for sports simulations in terms of graphics and depth of features.” This is the statement on the future of Axis Football at the bottom on its Steam page. It’s an important admission and perspective to keep in mind as you read my analysis of the independently developed Axis Football 2016.


Axis Football 2016 is a basic American football game, falling somewhere in between simulation and arcade classifications. Its limited playbooks and lack of penalties remove it from any simulation discussions, but its gameplay sticks too true to the actual sport to call it an arcade game. While straddling the border is usually a mark of criticism, Axis Football does a good job of owning the territory it has claimed. It’s not complex, perhaps by design, but is perfect for playing a quick game or two alone or with friends.

In a lot of ways, Axis Football reminds me of past-generation simulations, especially those that appeared on the 16-bit consoles or early PCs. Movement is fluid but lacks physicality; players control almost too well. Playbooks are varied, but relatively limited at eight plays per formation. The AI, on default difficulty, was a bit too easy for me.

Perhaps the biggest departure from past football games is the lack of icon passing in favor of a target-based passing system that’s distantly related to EA’s dreaded passing cone. Basically, you aim a cursor with mouse or stick at part of the field and throw. Your cursor is based on QB skill and movement.

Leading receivers is implied and important, though I found the game a little too forgiving. In my first game alone, I had only one incompletion at the half. Still, it’s an innovating and challenging system. The game is better for including this as opposed to the standard icon-based targeting.

Other features include audibles at the line and individual hot routes for receivers. Unfortunately, there is no fatigue or injuries.


There is no doubt when you load into a game of Axis Football that you are playing an independent game. The graphics and animations are crisp and clean, but by no means genre-standard. Visually, think of an HD N64 or PS1 game. Again, this didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the game, but I had my expectations accurately tempered going in.

Commentary and field sounds are present, but expectedly limited and repetitive.

The user interface, however, is very nice. Throughout, it effectively communicates what’s going on and makes it easy to find what you are looking for, whether a mode or specific play. It probably is the most professional looking aspect of the game.

Modes and Mods

In addition to quick one-off games, Axis Football 2016 introduces a franchise mode. However, without injuries, trades or even a draft, it’s hard to call this mode a true franchise experience. Instead, it’s a bunch of linked seasons. Unfortunately, there are no player stats, so even the joy of seeing a star player develop over a few seasons is absent.

You can also coach a team vs the AI, which I found enjoyable enough.

While I didn’t explore or review this aspect of the game, Axis Football is heavily customizable and moddable. Depending on what fans develop, we could see various additions or changes to the game to make it even more appealing -- think historical teams, fantasy teams, etc. For now, the “non”-NFL cities and nicknames are good enough to not be distracting.

Final Thoughts

Again, Axis Football 2016 isn’t a “Madden-killer” or even a rival. It doesn’t have an eighth of the features found in the annual big-budget release.

However, the fact that it’s an American football game on Steam and PCs makes it unique. It is playable and engaging in short doses. While certainly limited, what is here is worth exploring, especially if the modding community helps shape the future of the title.

Score: 6.5 (Above Average)

Member Comments
# 1 mrCPUgeek @ 08/12/16 02:44 PM
I think this game have a lot of potential going forward.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
# 2 gantous @ 08/12/16 05:03 PM
Gotta give credit to the people behind this game, they probably have less than 1% of the budget that Madden gets.
# 3 Gotmadskillzson @ 08/12/16 05:28 PM
Axis football just need an actual team of full time people and more money. They made a football game with just one full time person and $7,000. Just imagine what they could do if they could afford mocap equipment and mocap actors.
# 4 tril @ 08/12/16 06:33 PM
the passing system and kicking system are pluses.
Im surprised that the other developer doesn't have this passing feature. it's long over due. the button passing is dated and boring.
# 5 CM Hooe @ 08/12/16 07:24 PM
I have to disagree with the score offered by this review, and I don't think it's remotely consistent with other reviews offered by this site.

I don't see how this game possibly earns a score on par with Casey Powell's Lacrosse, another indie sports video game offering which features better graphics, better and more fluid animations, more depth of gameplay on and off the field, better presentation, and really is just a better game all around. Powell Lacrosse offers online play; as far as I can tell, Axis Football 16 does not. Powell Lacrosse even shares many of the same customization options, though it's obviously limited by being on a console. I can look at the two games side-by-side and tell you easily that Powell Lacrosse is the one I'm more likely to honestly enjoy and feel like it's worth my money.

I get that Axis Football 16 is a budget title and it's the only option on PC for football gamers. I respect the monumental effort the lone developer undertook to get it this far. I understand the restrictions imposed by an extremely limited budget. As an independent game developer, I root for other indie devs to succeed, and I hope the game does find a supportive and enthusiastic following so that the developer can continue building upon it.

All that said: I personally don't see any substantial improvement on the field between this year's game and last year's game from a 10,000-foot level. I don't feel like the game as it exists today is worth the $20 budget price tag it asks for. It still looks and feels like a polished NFL GameDay 98, but in 2016. There are more complete football and sports experiences to be had for lower prices (and for free, even) both on PC and elsewhere. The developer even admits this, and that admission leads the review text. How is this consistent with the final score offered?

The one leg up this game has over its competition is modding; that's fantastic and I'm a big fan of customization. However, why should I spend my time customizing experience which fundamentally is not enjoyable?

Just my opinion, though; I'm obviously not the reviewer.
# 6 boxboy99 @ 08/13/16 12:46 PM

Reminds me so much of a modern version of John Elways Quarterback. I've only play a couple games so far but it is fun if you treat it as an arcade football game and with tapered expectations. It is a modern version of an old school arcade style football game. That isn't a horrible thing, actually it is a bit refreshing and the old games are hard to play now because they are slow and look like garbage one HDTVs.

20 bucks is a bit much to ask but I wanted to support the dev. I hope enough people support the game to push it forward.

I love the audible system. You can audible to any play in the formation. Yeah there are only 8 plays but it is nice. Hopefully they will add audibles to defense.

I see a lot of people like kicking. I think it is a bit too tough and the trajectory needs improved. Maybe I'm just not sure to the accuracy meter yet.
# 7 boomhauertjs @ 08/17/16 06:53 AM
I bought it yesterday and only played 1 quick game. I'm thinking it more as an investment in next year's game which is looking to have a lot of the bells and whistles added. The base is there for a good game, now it's just a matter of time and money for it to bring it up to "current gen" standards.
My only concern is that for a game so reliant on mods for support, there don't seem to be many available outside of the NFL and NCAA rosters.
# 8 GlennN @ 08/25/16 09:29 AM
I just can't do it. I, too, respect the developer for bringing football back to the PC, and I want to be supportive, but without even bare bones franchise mode (no draft and trades is a killer), this just can't stand with games of even a decade or two ago. If the developer manages to flesh the franchise mode out better, I will be right there to buy it. I will say what I said for APF - for me, no matter how well a game plays on the field, my interest is going to be limited if I can't develop my own football universe.

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