Highly recommended. This is Mode7's second game. It continues along the same path as their previous game: Frozen Synapse. It's a simultaneous turn-based strategy game, both players take their turns, then the game plays out their turns simultaneously, and they see the result. The previous game, Frozen Synapse, took this idea to warfare. It was a somewhat difficult to grasp, rather complex game that was also incredibly tense and rewarding.
Frozen Endzone captializes on the lessons learned from Synapse and focuses. It doesn't quite dumb it down, though there are less options. It simplifies in the service of clarity, and provides players with a limited toolset that allows for a wide variety of strategems.
Forget the aesthetic of sports, it is just that, aesthetic. It's a reason to present the tactics available. This is absolutely not a sports game. This is a strategy game, in the vein of Chess, digitized for the modern era in a way that's not possible with physical board pieces.
Each player controls a team of robots, and each of those robots has a unique set of stats that govern how fast they can run, how widely from where they stand they can block, how widely they can intercept, etc. One team starts with the ball nearby, and must pick it up before the turn is over. A turn ending occurs at an event, such as picking up the ball, throwing the ball, catching the ball, turning the ball over, or when a specified length of time occurs. The rest of the offense (that didn't go for the ball), can wait in place, allowing their block radius to have meaning, or move as much or as little as desired (they can also wait, THEN move). The defense spreads out, or converges, or whatever they feel necessary. Their objective is to "block" the player with the ball, catch the ball instead of an intended receiver, or force the offense into "punting" by throwing it to the ground somewhere.
The player with the ball has two choices, he can immediately pass the ball, anywhere not blocked by a "high" block. He can try to get it where another player can catch it, or throw to the ground, hopefully at an adventageous position for his team (or at least not too advantageous for the other team). He cannot pass backwards. Alternately, he can run, and if he does so, he cannot pass again until a turnover occurs. If he runs, he must go forward at least (3?) blocks in a specified time period. The rest of his team can block, if standing still. He either makes it to the end zone, a period of time elapses without making it, or he is tackled, and loses the ball.
The period ends when a team moves the ball, held by their own player, into the opponent's endzone.
What's thrilling about this is how quickly the tables can turn. I was cautiously moving my offense up the field, passing the ball. I saw an opening to ground the ball near the endzone and pick it up with another player. Unfortunately, I miscalculated the distance, I realized that player was about to get blocked, and saw an opponent near my endzone, unguarded. I scrambled a player there, but it was too late, one endzone to endzone pass later, I lost.
This probably sounds complicated, it looks it, written out. But really, one 5 minute tutorial and it should all make sense.
I have not yet played much, but I'm already hooked. Highly recommended.