It's a sign of the smartphone/tablet times that on the same day EA released Madden NFL 12 for Xbox 360, PS3, and other game consoles ( ), you could also buy it for your Android or iOS phone or tablet--for considerably less money, I might add.
Ah, but is there anything here to entice owners of Madden NFL 11? Or even Madden NFL 10? Those two games were already pretty spectacular, especially the Retina-optimized Madden 11.
But Madden 12 is about as evolutionary as sports-franchise sequels can be, offering few improvements in either looks or gameplay. Sure, you get updated team rosters and playbooks, which is probably enough for hard-core fans, but for the most part it's the same game as Madden 11.
Not that there's anything wrong with that. Madden 11 is what I'd call a showcase app, especially on the iPad. (See ; he calls it "one of the iPad's star games.") And EA does promise nicer-looking animation and collisions, plus "enhanced" graphics for the iPad 2. (Alas, I wasn't able to see them for myself, as I'm still cradling a lowly iPad 1.)
Purists will certainly point out that even enhanced graphics can't hold a candle to what you see on a full-fledged console. And, sure enough, Madden 12 still looks a bit chunky, closer to what you'd see on a PS2 or PSP. But on a screen as small as the iPhone's (and even the iPad's), that's OK.
What's more important is how the game plays, and I think Madden NFL 12 is a blast. Thanks in no small part to GameFlow, a feature introduced in Madden 11, it's uniquely accessible to newbie players and those who just want to, well, play football. Like me.
One bit of gameplay advice: consider adding at least one
Madden 12 may be a bit disappointing in its lack of revolutionary new features, but I can appreciate that it's getting hard for EA to improve on a game that's been fine-tuned a dozen times already. If you want the single best football experience for Android or iOS, look no further.