It looks like EA has gotten a few yards closer to a touchdown with the release of Madden NFL Mobile. With better graphics and easier controls, the free to play Madden NFL Mobile, while still far away from its console counterpart, has gotten much closer to the end zone with this game in the series franchise.
Sack it to me
The biggest problem with Madden NFL 25 was the free-to-play model, which plagued the game and upset countless players. While Madden NFL Mobile has the same model, it seems as if there's still a good chance of you being able to get into the game without having to immediately shell out some cash.
You play the game with Stamina, and upgrade with coins.
The Stamina meter needs to be somewhat full to be able to play, and it gets topped up every time you reach a new level, complete a task, or if you wait it out. As you get more coins and points, you progress throughout the levels. After you choose a franchise, you can create your own roster and upgrade with real NFL players as you get more coins.
Game modes include Season, Head to Head, and Friends, which you can play when you connect to Facebook. Live Events will give you challenges that expire and that help you reap more rewards. During a season, you'll make your way through 19 games before playoffs. You can see upcoming games on a map of the US, which is overlaid by the game's option.
To get more coins, you can play challenges. Some are fairly easy, like rushing 45 yards in 3 attempts, or completing 3 field goals in 5 attempts, while others can be a bit more challenging, like intercepting the ball and rushing 30 yards. It can be an easy way to get more coins, but you can't forget that each challenge uses up Stamina.
While the biggest problem with Madden NFL 25 was free to play, Madden NFL Mobile seems to be a step up from the previous version. There seem to be a lot more opportunities to play, even if you don't want to pay for upgrades, but if you're a huge football fan and are looking to play endless games, you might find yourself spending tons of money on Madden Cash to play.
Touch down... on the analog stick
Madden NFL Mobile uses a series of basic touch controls to move along the action. Choose a play to start the game. Both offensive and defensive players are controlled by an analog stick in the lower left hand corner of the screen.
It's placement felt kind of awkward for me because my right hand ended up blocking the screen when I was trying to make a play, but luckily, I discovered that it can be moved to the right of the screen via Settings. You also have the option to use touch controls so that you'll control the player with your finger as he moves across the field. After playing with both, I'd have to concede that the analog stick was more comfortable.
You complete plays in Madden NFL Mobile by tapping on the screen to snap the ball. If you're going for a long pass, you'll be able to choose a player to pass to, while a short pass generally gives the ball automatically to a player. Tip: if you're throwing a long pass, don't touch the player until he catches the ball, or you'll be more likely to fumble. There's also a Skill Move button on the other side of the screen, which you can use to dodge players during a play.
You can swap players by tapping on them, nail opponents with big hits by double tapping, and complete other special moves by swiping left and right. There's tons of tips throughout the game that'll help make more moves.
Games are fairly quick but still feel long enough to prove which team is actually superior (although at times, it seems like luck factors into it just as much as skill). That being said, from what I've played, the game doesn't seem overly challenging or impossible to advance in.
One big problem: you need to be connected to the servers to be able to play.
Graphics that don't fumble
For a mobile game, the graphics in Madden NFL Mobile are pretty good and an upgrade over Madden 25. The players don't have an awful lot of detail, but the runs and tackles are fairly well animated. The players can be a bit glitchy, but it doesn't seem to effect gameplay too much.
The sound effects are what you'd expect from a football game: crowds cheering, whistles blowing, and football players grunting.
The music, however, is ominous in a grandiose 'football is a serious sport' kind of way– think Pirates of the Caribbean epic.
A close call
Madden NFL Mobile is definitely an improvement on past mobile games in the franchise. There's still problems with the free to play model and the necessity of being connected to the servers, but there's definitely been an improvement with graphics, and it's not impossible to advance without paying for upgrades.