My three favorite things in life are Android, football, and a steak cooked rare on a grill. Unfortunately, my phone hasn’t learned how to properly cook a steak. However, football and Android seem to have come together to give us Madden NFL 12, an app that will keep any football lover busy in between Sundays.
I am pulling out my Patriots jersey and trying out the game. Maybe this app will get me through all those commercial breaks throughout the season.
Michael Vick Flees
Madden NFL 12 is readily available on the market and costs $4.99. It’s a bit more than most of us like to pay for an app but think of it in this way: at time of writing, the console version runs at $59.99 through Origin – and that doesn’t go everywhere with you. So in comparison, $4.99 isn’t such a bad deal to get your gridiron fix.
I would like to suggest that you get on a WiFi connection when downloading this app. I was a little shocked to find that it had about 200 megs of data to download before I could start playing. (That’s a pretty hefty file if you’re stuck on 3G.)
Design and Interface
Design is really what impressed me the most about this game. With my Motorola Droid X2, load times were reasonable though not zippy. Keep in mind, this is a pretty graphic-heavy game. That said, I wasn’t bothered by having to wait a few seconds more than for most other games.
I also thought the overall look of the game was fantastic. I think it’s about on par with the Playstation 2′s versions of Madden. Although, that’s considerably dated by console standards, it looks pretty darn good for a phone. The crowd animations were impressive for a Madden game and the players looked pretty crisp.
The navigation through the game is pretty simple. It’s considerably simpler than the Xbox version of the game – which is necessary, considering the different form factor and screen size. The “joystick” is a small touch-screen simulated controller that appears on the bottom right during gameplay.
Going for the End Zone
Since my phone is pretty fast, the game played buttery smooth. The games loaded quickly and within moments, I found myself submersed in mobile pigskin heaven. My first game was Patriots verses their old rivals, the Jets. The kickoff method was a simple swipe down and up (which is easier and awesome verses the console methods).
You may see a bit of choppiness, but that’s mostly on older devices. (My X2 has a Tegra 2 processor which is quite the powerhouse, and I had no problems.) I think it’s safe to say that most people shouldn’t have any noticeable issues in performance but I’m offering a fair warning to those with less than optimum processors.
Within a few moments, I was squaring off my 3-4 defense against Mark Sanchez. Unfortunately, I gave up the first touchdown as I adapted to this new way of playing football. Of course, I did run an all-out blitz on third and long. How would he not have a receiver open?
Returning the kickoff to the 25 yard line, I took the field wielding all the weapons the Patriots have to offer: Tom Brady, Wes Welker, the Gronkowskis, and so on. I proved capable of executing a mobile-based Patriots offense and tied up the score. The touchscreen controls seemed intuitive and simple enough on my phone.
Peyton Takes Control
This is where this game may struggle a bit. Though I enjoy the game, I did find myself getting a little frustrated with a few things. Primarily, the passing controls which stinks if you play a pass-heavy offense like I do.
In a pass play, once you hike the ball (either by tapping anywhere on the screen or moving the joystick back), you can see all the available receivers. When the game thinks the receiver is open, they are surrounded by a green box. When they’re covered well, that box is red.
At this point, you can tap the box and you pass the ball to that receiver. Sounds simple, right? Only in theory. I constantly found myself tapping the square multiple times to get the throw off or in some scenarios, not getting the ball off before a quarterback sack. If you’re playing your rival time and it’s close, you may be tempted to chuck your phone across the room in a fit of rage.
Also, about the pass tap, if you have your right thumb on the joystick and your received is on the right side of the field, you will have a fun time trying to stretch your left thumb across the screen to select him. Otherwise, you’ll have to take your right thumb off the controller and then you’re stuck dead in the water as the Jets defense bears down on you.
To me, though, one small, though occasionally frustrating, glitch is not a deal breaker. I was able to figure it out well enough to play the game without much of an issue and began to really enjoy having a Madden game at my beck and call.
Madden NFL 12 is an enjoyable game that I found to be reasonably priced, functional, and had some pretty impressive graphics. EA surprised me and to be honest, that has not happened very often in their console line-up. Perhaps they should start making a lot more mobile apps?
I think an 8 out of 10 is in order, simply because the passing mechanism needs some work. I’m not sure if it should be more sensitive or perhaps completely rethought. Either way, it’s really the worst offender and it’s not that hard to work around. I did go on to win my first game 35-7.