Overview

Are you ready for some football? EA’s stalwart NFL franchise is back on the iPhone with Madden 11 giving you some console features with touch based features as well. It’s time to head on to the gridiron and kick off a season as your favorite team playing on the go.

You can play with all 32 teams in any head to head match-up, or you can play a full season or jump right into the playoffs and also local multiplayer over Bluetooth. The same stop action buttons are included from Madden 10 so you can slow down time and do special moves on offense and defense. You can also draw hot routes for your receivers, and control the entire defense choosing position by position what to do from blitz, man to man, or zone.

Also included is the new game flow feature which is new for the consoles this year. Rather than going to the full playbook every time, the game picks a play for you based on the situation, and the coaching style. This makes the games go faster, and keeps you in the action, and it’s a feature you can turn on or off.

The Good

Madden 11 has improved on many aspects of the original to make it a more realistic football experience on a mobile device. This isn’t a game to compete with the console version, but when competing with all other mobile titles it really shines. The football gameplay is vastly improved to make it more authentic running and throwing the ball as well as rushing the passer, and defending against the pass.

It’s great going up to the line of scrimmage, and running the play you’re given with split second decisions on the go whether you’re running or passing. It’s even better to customize a play before the snap or use the action button to prolong the split second decisions. Also this isn’t limited to offense any more, and you can now have this customization info for your defense.

The game takes into account the strengths of each particular team pretty well. The best aspect is that you have a choice in the style so you can go slow and methodical with more running than passing plays. You can also pull off many big plays from long runs, huge passes, run after the catch, big sacks, and interceptions. None of these were that easy in Madden 10, but luckily Madden 11 is more free flowing like football should be.

The new gameflow feature is great to keep you in the action that novices and veterans can equally enjoy. If you’ve never played Madden you can pick up Madden 11, and enjoy it which is rather rare for a complex football game. If you’ve played Madden for years you know how the playbook can take you out of the feel of the game, so this is a nice addition.

The game has a much improved visual style highlighted by the movements of the players. It’s not just smash and fall down, and there are more varied animations on contact making a closer resemblance to the console version. Every stadium is included with fine details which is a huge upgrade from last year. With all the details on screen there are times when the game slows down a bit

The Bad

There were a number of problems with Madden 10, but many have been rectified in Madden 11 as discussed above. Some problems remain, and new ones have popped up. The game has a lot of action on screen, and there are stutters in the action especially on tackles which is disappointing.

The gameplay itself though is the main part of the game, and it’s much improved. There still are problems with the passing system of just tapping on colors. It’s very tough to complete passes no matter the color because the QB throws it too far behind a receiver more often than not. The best advice for better passing is simply to try red when you know it’s one of your best receivers and its man to man coverage.

Playing on defense is much tougher as well as the offense moves on you pretty easily with only mistakes being missed passes. When you try to defend a pass there are more pass interference penalties than there should be. When slowing down the action to defend a pass often the player will become out of position to make them unable to deflect despite tapping that action button. Defense can be improved by using the total defensive control, but it stops the action completely, and makes it feel less like a real game.

A few problems remain including a lack of a play clock still, and very repetitive sayings. Madden only has a few lines, and they become quite repetitive quite quickly. The game flow system is a welcome addition, but at the end of halves it starts to call the same play over and over which is unrealistic, and requires you to go back to the playbook.

EA has yet to include any online multiplayer giving you only Bluetooth multiplayer in Madden 11. It’s especially disappointing when the iPhone is so great at multiplayer gaming, and EA has incorporated so much online play into the console games.

The Verdict

Madden 11 is a great improvement over Madden 10, and it’s the best football experience on the iPhone, if not best sports experience. It is really the first time you can be comfortable playing an entire season on the iPhone, and enjoying it in its entirety. Madden 11 for iPhone isn’t going to replace your console version, but it’s a great NFL experience on the go so you don’t have to be tied to your big console and TV.

Madden 11 is a should buy for $7.99 for veterans and newcomers to the football franchise.