Madden NFL 10 for iPhone: First Impressions

by: Dan -
Earlier today at the Apple Rock and Roll event, there were several game announcements and demos including Madden NFL 10 from EA Mobile for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Yours truly has gotten his hands on it and here are some impressions after spending the last several hours playing it.

Right off the bat, I went for the classic “pick up and play” method to see how bad I would stink without reading the instructions. Surprisingly, I was able to fumble my way around (not literally) through a complete game while learning on the fly and not getting shellacked by the game’s AI. I’m sure some of that had to do with the Toilet Bowl game I was playing by choosing to play with the Detroit Lions against the Kansas City Chiefs.

However, once I went back to the main menu and took a look at the instructions for controlling the game found under the help menu, the game was much easier to play. The controls do seem to work well, but like most games brought to the iPhone, you will need practice to master the touch scheme and break all of those console controller tendencies you may have picked up over the last 20 or so years. As expected, the game is controlled 100% by either tapping or sliding your finger for every action taken. Whether you are choosing plays, scrolling through player’s lists, making a substitution or throwing a pass, you will be using your finger.

Basic controls for game play include a virtual joystick and a handful of buttons for pre-snap controls and while the play is in motion. A secondary set of control buttons can be brought up when using the Action Control Time. This feature is probably the key to having success in this version of Madden 10, as understanding and utilizing the Action Control Time to slow the game and bring up your extra options will take your play to the next level.

Here are a few points of what I thought worked well and those that maybe could use some tweaking:

Things I really liked:
-Slow Motion (Action Control Time) Rocks!
-Good tips throughout
-Quick load times
-Stadium renderings looked great
-Options appear to be very robust
-Game play was smooth
-Control scheme is back to basics

Things that probably need improvement:
-Player modeling, specifically the body shape/size could be better
-Some of the rosters (depth charts) were not even close
-Access to help menu during a game to see control options would have been good

Overall my first impressions are very positive, as the game kept me engaged and looking forward to the next play. Once I have a chance to do a full review, I can go more in depth on the game features (including season mode), but as of right now this looks like a must purchase if you are a fan of the Madden series or the NFL. Especially when you consider that the PSP ($39.99) version is quadruple the price.

Madden NFL 10 is on a one-day sale until tomorrow evening (Thursday, 9/10) at $7.99 on the iTunes AppStore. It will go up to its base price of $9.99 at that time and probably remain there for a while.

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