If you’re a Nintendo fan and an NFL enthusiast, you’ve probably been waiting for this moment for a long time. The last time a Nintendo platform had an NFL football game, Patrick Mahomes was still in high school! But now, Saber Interactive’s Wild Card Football has arrived on the Nintendo Switch, bringing America’s most popular sport to its most beloved gaming system. While it may not provide the simulation-heavy experience of Madden, it’s a fun and exciting attempt to fill the void after all these years.
A Blast from the Past with a Twist
Wild Card Football takes a purebred arcade sports approach, featuring 7-on-7 games instead of the traditional 11-on-11 format. The players are cartoony and larger than life, adding to the game’s fun and casual atmosphere. The playbooks and mechanics are simplified, making it easy for anyone to jump in and start playing. Quarters are just two minutes long, ensuring fast-paced action that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
But what sets Wild Card Football apart is its “wild card” element. As you play, you have a deck of game-changing cards that can alter the course of the game. These cards can give you an advantage by speeding up your players or making your opponents more vulnerable to mistakes. They can even do crazier things like pushing the opposing team back or unleashing superhuman player abilities. It adds a high-key chaotic aspect to the game, adding an extra layer of strategy as you try to outwit your opponent.
A Few Fumbles Along the Way
While the card manipulation aspect of the game is enjoyable, the actual football gameplay itself falls a bit short. Passing plays are well-executed, providing a pleasant and familiar experience. Timing passing routes and outsmarting defenders feels satisfying. Unfortunately, the running game is a bit lackluster, relying on a simple timing-based button press. Get the timing right, and you’ll gain yards. Miss it, and you’ll lose ground. It can be frustrating, especially when the CPU seems to have impeccable timing consistently. Additionally, the AI for the CPU can make baffling decisions, from not calling timeouts to failing to go for a two-point conversion when needed.
Limited Content, Promise of Online Thrills
Beyond the gameplay, Wild Card Football lacks content. Offline, you can play a basic season mode with the built-in teams, but it’s the online Dream Squad mode that offers the most excitement. In this mode, you can unlock packs of cards to build your custom NFL team and compete against other players online. While the full online experience and micro-transactions are not available yet, the Tour mode provides a glimpse into the potential fun. Different game variants and challenges keep things interesting, even if it’s not the most substantial mode. It’s a good distraction until more content becomes accessible.
A Decent Start with Room to Improve
Wild Card Football had the pressure of being the only NFL game on the Nintendo Switch, and although it shows potential, it doesn’t quite reach the end zone. The multiplayer experience is solid, offering enjoyable matches with friends. However, the solo experience is lacking due to limited modes, a subpar running game, and questionable AI. If you’ve been longing to play as your favorite NFL players on your beloved Nintendo platform, Wild Card Football serves as a passable substitute. Let’s hope that Nintendo picks a more comprehensive football game for their next console, securing a high first-round draft pick for an improved sports franchise.
Now, if you’re ready to start your own wild card adventure on the Nintendo Switch, check out Capturing Fantasy for more gaming news, guides, and fun!