Madden NFL 12, the latest iteration in the Madden series for the iDevice, has be released by EA and is now available from the app store. While we typically look forward to the exciting new additions that Madden manages to pack into its offerings, it seems we’ll have to wait until Madden 13 to find any changes of significance.
Madden NFL 12 Pros:
- Full-fledged football game on the iDevice
- Great visuals, Madden-infused audio, and tons of control over the outcome of plays
- GameFlow makes it simple for all players to call a decent game
- Licensed players, teams, and stadiums
Madden NFL 12 Cons:
- Little to no innovation from last year
- Multiplayer mode is absent or well-hidden
- Running game is nearly impossible
- Not all rosters are up-to-date
- Improved tackling is still ridiculous
Just like last year, Madden 12 offers Play Now (where it autoselects an opponent to battle your predefined favorite team), Exhibition (you choose the teams and options), Season (play through an entire season’s schedule as the same team), and Playoffs (skip the regular season and go for the glory right out of the gate). Strangely absent (unless we missed something) is the local Bluetooth Multiplayer option from last year. However, the licensed player names, team logos, and stadiums remain, and most of the rosters are current (with a few notable exceptions). You can still tweak your team’s roster to your liking, adjusting the depth chart, trading players, signing free agents, and releasing aging vets/locker room cancers. Again, the only adjustable options of significance are quarter length (3, 5 or 7 minutes) and difficulty level (Rookie, Pro, All-Madden).
Everything about Madden 12 feels like an extension of Madden 11. GameFlow still dominates the play-calling aspect of the game to offer a more streamlined method and speedier gameplay. It can, of course, be overruled at any time, giving the you option to call your own plays or audible away from a questionable decision by the AI. Offenses can create on-the-fly hot routes and direct any player with a quick swipe of your finger. Action Control Time will slow time and give you the ability to juke or power through players. Total Defensive Control is also back, slowing time to allow you to direct your defenders to swat passes, dive at players, and the like. You can also custom re-route any player to avoid getting burned for big gains. Tackling is supposed to have been improved, but it’s terribly awkward and somewhat ridiculous. Tackles occur by running a defender into a ball carrier, but the tackles amount to little more than bumping into a player and having everyone stumble backward until they fall. It’s quite corny and it makes the running game nearly impossible.
Graphically, Madden 12 looks very much like Madden 11, with some slight improvements that make for a crisper experience. It’s still very colorful, and the kick meters are even outlined in the appropriate team colors. Animations are pretty fluid and it can be enjoyable to watch the action play out. A virtual pad in the lower left corner controls your movements, while context-specific buttons on the right control everything else, from sprinting and switching players to slowing time and playing puppet master with your players. Passing plays bring up color-coded buttons over eligible receiver’s bodies, indicating their openness. Tapping on a button will pass the ball. Playbooks are fairly simplistic, offering only a handful of plays, as the focus seems to have shifted toward embellishing upon a few basic plays with your own flair. There was some minor stuttering from time to time, but nothing that really diminished our enjoyment of the game.
The game’s soundtrack includes a bunch of new songs to enjoy (or mute) this season. You can also play music from your own collection if you prefer. The sound effects include helmet cracking, grunting, and all of the other realistic noises associated with the ultra-physical game. Madden’s voice still brings a smile to our face, even if most of what he says is ridiculous. It wouldn’t be the same without him. Controls are mostly touch-based, requiring swipes or taps on-screen to control the action on the field. The accelerometer is used to look around or initiate the hurry-up offense. The play clock remains absent, though the game clock will stop at some point until you hike the ball. It simply won’t offer any type of delay of game penalty. Pass interference calls occur a bit too often, too. In all, we love having Madden on the iDevice, but it just can’t meet our stringent expectations and we end up with a fairly false sense of the game that we love.
Replay value is good, as having Madden is better than not having Madden, but the game can get frustrating after a short while. Origin integration has been wedged into this game, too, as EA continues to try to add some form of social interaction to their latest releases. It would still be nice to have GameCenter as an option. Madden 12 is $6.99 (or $9.99 for the HD version), but without any true improvements, we feel it only deserves a 3-Dimple rating.
Madden NFL 12 Review,