John Madden’s unstoppable march across the pond – where his name means more or less nothing to this island – continues unabated with the launch of Madden NFL 12 on Android. Featuring all of the deep, deep strategic guff of the real game, Madden NFL looks to be the very antithesis of Backbreaker 2: Vengeance’s pick-up-and-play simplicity. The question is: does all this immersive strategy and realistic gameplay amount to £4.28′s worth of Android game?
Pick your favourite team from the roster of NFL gods and you’re straight into the game. Well, you can choose to dive straight in with the Quick Play mode, or play an exhibition match, full season or jump straight into the playoffs.
As a newcomer to the game, each time you find yourself in a new situation, the game offers you a tutorial to talk you through the game’s finer points before letting you loose. If, like the Life of Android team, you have a pathological fear/hatred of tutorials it might take you a little longer to work everything out, but once you’ve figured out how to pass effectively, you’ll find everything else fairly self-explanatory.
Those of you who have absolutely no clue as to the rules of NFL will undoubtedly struggle, since there’s a certain amount of assumed knowledge here. That said, those of you with no knowledge of the rules of American Football are probably not the people this game is aimed at.
The game looks great but sometimes suffers even on high-end handsets when there’s frenetic on-screen action and your Android is running a few processes in the background. It’s only a deal-breaker if you’re not lucky enough to be running one of the more accomplished handsets from the last year. If you’re not, you can always turn down the detail in the options menu to speed things up.
Picking your plays takes up a fairly hefty percentage of the game and the opposing team does seem to pick up on repetition, so it’s wise not to keep playing the same strategy. We enjoyed particular success when we tinkered with plays, which you can do by tapping the play icon and dragging player’s movement trails around the screen to your heart’s desire.
So it takes a while to get a lot out of Madden NFL, but you’d expect that for your £4.28. The last thing you’d want is to be scoring touchdown after touchdown within the first 15 minutes of play and we’d be surprised if you manage that with NFL 12.
The most comprehensive NFL game on Android and, we suspect, the most comprehensive in the whole mobile gaming market…
Version reviewed 1.0.0
Requires Android 2.1 or higher