This is the first football season that the iPad had been around, and what better way to introduce it than to bring Madden 11. That's exactly what EA has done giving you a touch based version of Madden that may just seem like a visual upgrade from the iPhone version. Is that the case or does the iPad version blur the line between mobile and console?
Three game modes are included letting you play with any of the 32 teams in an instant match-up, or through the entire season, and even going straight to the playoffs. You get to draw hot routes for your receivers as well as every single position on defense choosing whether to blitz, cover man to man or in a zone. Gameflow is a new feature appearing on the consoles in 2011, and it's in the iPad version as well letting the computer pick a play keeping the action going, and keeping you out of the playbook.
You may think that this is just an upscaled version of Madden 11 on the iPhone, but you would be wrong. This is a completely different species, and better football experience than the iPhone version. You may not notice if you haven't played the iPhone version, but it's almost like night and day which makes the iPad version that much more appealing.
The game of course has nice visuals, but also a larger perspective which really makes the iPhone version feel cramped in comparison. Every single play you have a larger view of the field to make it easier to see plays develop. Passing is much easier by being able to see more of the route, and the same with watching running lanes appear.
Customizing plays pre snap is easier when drawing routes on both sides of the ball. The same is true when in total defensive control, and any of the action buttons. Even movement of the control stick is easier when playing on the bigger screen.
The iPhone version is more free flowing this year compared to last, and the iPad version is even more free flowing than this years iPhone version. There are multiple big plays to be had in a more authentic football experience. It seems that fun is directly proportional to screen size, and it's so much closer to a console experience because of the perspective, look, and feel.
The new game flow feature is great to allow anyone to experience the fun of Madden. It also allows you to play games quickly by not being lost in the playbook for so long. A really great part is that the play calls are accurate representations of each team, for example a more pass heavy quickflow for the Chargers, and a more run heavy one for the Rams.
The highlighted difference is the visuals, and there's a major difference. The stadiums, players, and even field are sharper and have more detail. Seeing everything in motion is that much nicer with everything running without a hitch.
It would be great to see some multiplayer especially online, but any at all even iPhone vs iPad would be good. Local multiplayer is at least said to be coming in an update, but you never do know with EA. It would also be great to see more modes like the Franchise mode to make it closer to the console version.
One problem with the gameplay is the passing mechanic with the game seemingly not recognizing when you press a receiver icon. Like the iPhone version the game lacks a play clock, and features repetitive saying from Madden.
Madden 11 for the iPad takes another step in melding the console and mobile experiences, and is easily the best mobile sports game to date. The iPad version offers a great football experience with smooth flowing action, and tons of it that is relatively authentic. The game opens up Madden for the masses while still making it tons of fun for everyone while you have a great time playing through a full season.
Madden 11 for iPad is a should buy for $12.99 that is as close to the console version a mobile title has ever been. Though that price may seem a lot for some, just think of $60 console prices or even $30 PSP prices. If you have an iPad and an iPhone do yourself a favor and get the iPad version.