EA’s taken a lot of lumps over the years, and their sports franchises have always been a target for irate gamers. When Madden came to mobiles, it wasn’t met with open arms, but we’re happy to say that things have improved in this year’s version dubbed Madden NFL Mobile.
We’ll just get this out of the way first. Madden NFL Mobile isn’t a full-fledged football game; there’s no Dynasty mode and you can’t play against folks in real-time. It’s a freemium football game just like last year, but EA has loosened up a bit this time so you won’t hit as many paywalls as you try and build your team.
Running a season is what it sounds like minus the stats, and head-to-head pits you against random opponents based on your skill level. It’s a turn-based battle where you play an offensive series and once you punt, score or turn the ball over its your opponents turn. No defense is involved, but you can set your scheme.
The controls are simple to get the hang of as well. You’ve got a virtual joystick on one side and an “action button” on the other. Madden NFL Mobile makes good use of the touchscreen, and defense (Season mode only) was much easier than expected. You can swipe up to shoot for an interception or put two-fingers on the screen to change to the closest player. They can feel a bit clunky at times, but I’ve had no problem running the score up with my mediocre team.
Live Events give you a chance to earn special awards in a variety of ways through mini-games. There are challenges like the NFL News, Score to Win and Daily Domination with new ones popping up frequently. As with the other two modes, Live Events will cost stamina, but you can get some nice cards and a little extra cash to spend in the marketplace.
If you collect sports cards or like CCG’s, you’ll really dig the marketplace in Madden NFL Mobile. It’s a different experience, and a fun way to waste time while your stamina bar refills. The marketplace will let you pick up card packs from the store, sell cards from your team or bid and sell through live auctions.
The auctions have been very active thus far, and it’s not going to be easy (or cheap) to pick up a Manziel, Manning or Peterson. You also have to do your research or risk losing money by selling a valuable card too cheaply.
Madden NFL Mobile is a freemium game, but it’s not as cringe-inducing as EA’s previous titles. There are two types of currency with coins which can be earned and bucks which are purchased. The prices aren’t horrible, and there are only four types of packs to purchase at this time. It’s simplified, and three of the packs can be purchased with coins or currency so you’re not locked out.
Madden NFL Mobile has been a pleasant surprise as it doesn’t feel like such a grind this year. It looks great, and it’s more importantly, it’s fun. I think the auction/card system has been handled well, and the only real gripe I have so far is with the head-to-head games as a lot of folks don’t show up for their turn. Doesn’t help that the wait time is 48 hours between turns…
Overall, Madden NFL Mobile is an enjoyable experience that football fans or card collectors should enjoy. It’s an improvement over last year’s game, and while we still don’t have a dynasty/sim mode, there’s always next year. You can pick up Madden NFL Mobile for free on Google Play or the App Store.