Mixed or average reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 29
  2. Negative: 7 out of 29
  1. Backbreaker can‘t reach the likes of the Madden series because of the missing licenses and some minor gameplay glitches. Newcomers and fans alike may take a look or two.
  2. To be honest there is very little that Backbreaker does wrong. Its only real drawback is that it is not an official NFL licensed game and misses out on the major draw of taking a team to the Super Bowl.
  3. A triumph in its own right and, on a wider scale, a huge step forward for sports games. If NaturalMotion decides to work on a sequel, there's a great chance that all the niggles can be ironed out and a true competitor will emerge. [July 2010, p.122]
  4. Physics to die for, gameplay to kill someone. [Issue#60, p.92]
  5. Although it can’t be defined as an absolute masterpiece, Backbreaker proves to be a well crafted game, capable of assuring a fun and engaging experience to both fans of the genre and potential newcomers. If you’re looking for some hardcore action and you’re not afraid to get hurt, this is surely the game for you.
  6. Backbreaker brings the fun first and opens up a door for the future. For a freshman effort, the final result isn’t perfect but it’s far from being boring. And please, don’t get this game with the intention of skipping Madden. This isn’t a Madden killer…at least, not yet.
  7. Backbreaker is an attempt to simulate real professional football from the player's perspective, but due to its lack of balance, constant turnovers, and brain dead AI, it feels more like a game of junior high school ball.
  8. Nice animation - shame we can't always tell what's happening on the rest of the field. [Aug 2010, p.98]
  9. The cold, harsh truth is that Backbreaker feels like a Euphoria tech demo. It comes as no surprise to learn that the game was once designed as a downloadable title to showcase NaturalMotion's clever physics skills. Perhaps it should have remained as such.
  10. While fun at first, Backbreaker has got problems on the long run, due to its limits and the absence of official licenses and making Madden the best choice for NFL fans.
  11. A fresh, action-packed take on football that makes you feel like one of the players pounding the gridiron. A fantastic team creation mode, intense, urgent action and great-looking tackles are dragged down by a shallow single-player mode, sloppy interpretation of football rules, and characters that all look the same.
  12. 60
    In its current state, Backbreaker neither matches Madden's polish nor overcomes its monopoly on the NFL license; in fact, its shortcomings highlight several reasons why Madden remains so appealing.
  13. It is hard to recommend Backbreaker since there are so many problems with it, but dig deep enough and you may find a fun gridiron game at its core.
  14. If the thought of making another Madden zombie-walk to the store this year makes you heave, Backbreaker might be the palate-cleanser you need.
  15. Even if it has a great number of interesting game modes, Backbreaker simply does not work. The gameplay has some interesting ideas, but most of them are not appropriately used, while the graphical engine is barely sufficient.
  16. That doesn't mean it is completely unrewarding, it just can't hang with the competition. In the end, this is a distinct take on football that is worth playing as a rental, but even at its discounted retail price isn't worth the price of admission.
  17. Realistic animations can only hide the sloppy foundation of this football game for so long.
  18. The Tackle Alley mini-game is fun. [Aug 2010, p.77]
  19. 50
    As it stands, this game feels more like a beefy Xbox Live Arcade or PlayStation Network release searching for its identity than something that belongs on retail store shelves.
  20. Natural Motion’s Euphoria technology is a great building block for a football game, but Backbreaker suffers from too many rookie mistakes. Only the most hardcore gridiron fans dying for an alternative to the EA Sports offerings should bother bringing this one in for a look.
  21. If a you're going to release an unlicensed football game, it had better knock our socks off. Backbreaker doesn't even come close. Pass on this one and hope for a better game next year.
  22. Overall, Backbreaker has a couple good things going for it with the physics of the Euphoria engine, the team customization, and the unique POV when on the field, but the actual gameplay really sets this one back.
  23. All of this hammers home the notion that you’re playing a really nice tech demo and not a complete football game—and the $10 discount price of $49.99 isn’t enough to warrant a purchase.
  24. A soulless attempt at straddling the fence between the over-the-top action found in the Blitz series and trying to accurately simulate the sport of football like the competition.
  25. More failed conversion than touchdown. [July 2010, p.102]
  26. Chalk this one up to a valiant, but ultimately wasted effort.
  27. Any game that makes me listen to P.O.D.’s “Boom” every damn time someone kicks off (and Refused’s “New Noise” at the beginning of every game) is going to draw my ire. For all its lifelike hits, Backbreaker simply isn’t fun to play.
  28. But among the worst of it all is the lack of presentation. Nearly every football player looks the same. Their uniforms look like they're made from plastic. Referees have been transformed into Jumbotron cut-scenes. There are no coaches or players on the sidelines. And the crowds are comprised of the same four people copied a million times over.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 67 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 25
  2. Negative: 2 out of 25
  1. Hobsie
    Jun 7, 2010
    The Graphics are far better than Madden, the game play is far more exciting than Madden, the entire feel of the game is far better than Madden. As long as you can look past the lack of licensing (which just isn't that important for me) then this is the best Football game on the market as far as I'm concerned. And yes, I am sick fed up of being drip fed a 'new' Madden each year. This game is is such a breath of fresh air! Full Review »
  2. May 7, 2014
    Best sports game i have ever played, madden is too serious but with this, me and my friend, we have soooooooo much fun with the tackle system and some of the greatest times i have had come out of this game Full Review »
  3. Nov 16, 2012
    Great alternative to Madden series, offering a really different concept with third person camera action and passing with the right stick. A MUST GET for any football fan. I played more than 100 games before starting to get bored, 5 seasons in the career mode after creating an awesome team with the logo, name and the colors, be careful while creating because you won't be changing anything for the career afterwards :=) Full Review »