Still ready for some football? Then Return Man has your fix

If there’s a single aspect of American football that most viewers can enjoy regardless of whether they know what a quarterback actually does, it’s those frantic seconds when a return-man catches the ball and makes a mad dash for the goal line. Those movie-worthy moments take center stage in ESPN’s new Return Man for Facebook, which punts all of the statistic heavy complexities of other social football-based games in favor of a riveting experience that feels something like Frogger with shoulder pads. The result is a football game that appeals to almost everyone.

At its core, Return Man involves little more than catching the ball and making a touchdown — both of which aren’t guaranteed thanks to decent bit of challenge involved — but there’s enough here to keep the concept addicting. At times, your avatar will need to avoid an onslaught of NPC players intent on tackling him, for instance, and on other occasions he’ll have to navigate his way over snowy and slippery fields. A host of speed and experience boosts littered throughout the field make this process a little easier, as do unlockable boosts and special moves. Front flips, jukes, and special shoes to ease the challenge of running over snow are just some of the tools you’ll get to use against the opposing team, and you’ll have the chance to unlock more as you level.

ESPN Return Man

Return Man‘s insistence on making you use letter keys to control your movements and activate your powerups might come as a mild fumble for players accustomed to playing Facebook games with a mouse, but it’s nothing that a little practice won’t fix. And thanks to the addicting leaderboards of the Blitz mode, you’ll certainly have plenty of time to practice. Blitz mode is precisely what it may sound like to veterans of Facebook games, which means that you’ll get to match your scores against those of your friends in a weekly tournament, and the game seems popular enough at this stage that it’s likely that you won’t have to beg them to join.

Return Man is a bundle of fun with a few other tricks up its sleeves as well, such as the ability to listen to ESPN’s radio broadcast while you play and fan-pleasing illustrations featuring ESPN personalities Trey Wingo and Herm Edwards. But perhaps best of all, you’ll never feel like you have to hand over some Facebook credits to be successful at Return Man, and indeed, the bonuses you receive for completing a round without using any special abilities seem to encourage it.

ESPN Return Man

Redgardless of whether you’re a fan of American Football or not, Return Man is a rare and rewarding treat that’s everything a casual social game for Facebook should be.