Since EA locked up the exclusive rights to the NFL and NFLPA for their Madden series, the rest of the gaming world has had a tough time finding a way to create an engaging football title that doesn’t use official teams and players. Publishers have had to rely on gimmicky gameplay mechanics and over-the-top presentation to garner any sort of attention in the sports gaming market, and so far, none of the results have been very good. With Backbreaker, publisher 505 Games tries to go beyond this formula by attempting to present a simulation of football from the perspective of the ball-carrier. Of course, there’s a gimmick, as well; Euphoria-based tackles, but in the hard-hitting sport of American football, it’s one that fits perfectly, and makes sense. On paper, the formula is sound. Unfortunately for Backbreaker, we don’t play video games on paper, and in practice, the game is an uneven football experience with a ton of customization options and some moments of thrilling gameplay, but fails to offer a realistic football experience, and, through a series of bafflingly ill-advised design choices, refuses to take advantage of its own strengths.