Wild Card Football Review: An over the top football experience

Saber Interactive Inc
Saber Interactive Inc /

Game: Wild Card Football
Developer: Saber Interactive
Publisher: Saber Interactive
Platform: PlayStation 5 (reviewed on), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Switch, PC
Release Date: October 10, 2023

Arcade style sports games have been a staple in the genre for a very long time whether you played NBA Jam, NFL Blitz, MLB Slugfest or SSX, there have been plenty of amazing pick up and play types of sports games that have their own unique quirks.

Well, Saber Interactive has been helping to continue the tradition when they introduced the fun NBA Playgrounds back in 2017 which was a nice mix of NBA Street and the aforementioned NBA Jam. That game featured a blend of current and legendary NBA players as well as beautiful courts set in different parts of the world such as Paris and Tokyo (cue up Lupe Fiasco’s “Paris Tokyo”) for some two-on-two hoops action. The game also received a sequel called NBA 2K Playgrounds 2.

And now, the crew at Saber are dipping their toes into the waters of football by introducing Wild Card Football. This game will give you some NFL Street vibes as you can play on fields in a Redwood forest in California or right by the Chicago River in Illinois among other places. There’s no NFL license so you won’t be able to recreate a Bears-Packers match or anything but the game does have the NFL Players Association license so you can use real NFL players, both current and past.

Just like with NBA Playgrounds, you collect players via digital card packs. These cards are called, you guessed it, “Wild Cards”. There are common and rare cards to get as well as the coveted “Legend” cards. The latter cards feature some of the greatest players in the NFL today and yesteryear. It’s a fun concept as it’s always exciting to earn a Legend. The only problem is, there are some inaccuracies. For example: C.J. Stroud has a card that’s labeled as Legend. No doubt that at the time of this writing, the rookie Texans QB is already incredible but a legend he is not (yet anyway).

Wild Card Football Review: An over the top football experience
Saber Interactive Inc /

Other than that, there’s a great list of players to collect and add to your collection in order to build your championship caliber squad. Whoever your favorite NFL player is, he’s probably in this game thanks to the NFLPA. Once you have your team, you can customize the uniforms.

Just like with players, you can unlock new designs via card packs. You can customize the helmets, jerseys, etc and you can unlock full sets of uniforms altogether. You can even own customize your own logo as well.

Once you have your team and gear, it’s time to hit the field. As expected, the game is very fast-paced and features several plays to call. The football itself is solid including featuring some satisfying tackling. To really spice things up, you can use cards that either benefit your team or degrade the other team. Both squads can use cards on each other before each play. It can be something like giving your team extra speed or making receivers on the other team less reliable.

And there are some really wacky, over the top cards you can get such one that makes the ball carrier much bigger and stronger, making you hard to tackle. And maybe the coolest one in the game currently is one that allows you to call on UFOs for defense.

Wild Card Football Review: An over the top football experience
Saber Interactive Inc /

These cards are fun as they add an extra layer of strategy to each game. Decide if you want to use a card or save it for another play. It’s all up to you on how you want to approach it. Sometimes these cards can make a real difference.

There are a few different ways you can play Wild Card Football. You can do the single-player campaign mode, play online against other players or just do a simple exhibition match which a is a great way to get more acclimated with your team and the way the game is played before playing online.

Overall, Wild Card Football is your classic, over the top football fun with a some new twists and some beautiful modern graphics at the different locations. Making the big plays feel satisfying and in-game Wild Card system adds a fun extra layer of strategy to every snap of the football.

Wild Card Football (PS5) Score: 7.5/10

A solid arcade style professional football game that still makes things work without the NFL license thanks to the NFLPA so gamers can still use their favorite current players and the legends of yesteryear. The fields are beautiful, the plays are pretty satisfying and the Wild Card system is, well, wild. Uniform options can get crazy which is fun as well. Many of the attributes and labeling of the player cards are off but once you get past that, you have just a good old solid arcade football game.