FIFA 14 continues the fine form set by last year’s edition of the popular soccer simulation, mixing in a compelling free-to-play Ultimate Team mode and an all-new gesture-based control scheme that dramatically alters the feel of the game. It goes much further towards defining the mobile series as distinct from its console brethren, with both the new controls and the lightweight design providing more of a streamlined experience that’s sure to please casual players. There’s still plenty on offer for the hardcore, too – even without paying a cent.
On home consoles, Madden NFL 25 celebrates the series' titular anniversary with yet another quality entry built around a strong, refined core. Irritatingly, on iPhone and iPad, the game of the same name is by and large a nightmare of free-to-play roadblocks, initially limiting access to most of the on-field plays, charging in-game coins for some of those that are available, and requiring slowly-replenishing energy to even play the game. But the saddest part is that such limitations surround what's ultimately not a very good representation of the sport.
Last year's FIFA 13 from EA Sports delivered an excellent simulation of the world's most popular sport, albeit one that essentially translated the home console versions to a touch screen using virtual buttons. Still, considering the warm reception and strong sales, you might expect more of the same from this fall's FIFA 14 on iPhone and iPad. Surprisingly, that's not the case. Sure, FIFA 14 is notably bulked up, offering more leagues, teams, players, and features than ever before, but the biggest change comes from its significantly overhauled gameplay approach.
With a wide array of turn-based iOS titles likely taking up your time, it can be difficult to find a chunk of time large enough to sit down and play through an entire game of Madden on your iPhone or iPad. That’s where Madden NFL 13 Social hits its stride. Taking the simplistic style of other asynchronous turn-based titles, Madden NFL 13 Social tasks players with completing a game in alternating bursts. Each turn consists of one offensive drive, however long that may be, and you don’t ever play defense, as that wouldn’t really work for the style of play here.
FIFA Soccer 13 for iOS finally convinced me that a console sports game could be distilled into a touch-based mobile experience. It’s not without its flaws, and play sometimes feels a little cramped, but FIFA 13 still notches some very respectable goals thanks to stellar controls and slick presentation.
EA Sports' Madden NFL series has been around since the Apple IIGS was the apex of home computing, and the seemingly indestructible franchise found its way to the iPad last summer with Madden NFL 11, which delivered a pretty capable pro football simulation. With a fairly complete version of the sport on the tablet for the first time, it was easy to overlook the jagged play models and janky animations, as well as the lack of a true franchise mode and online play.
But another year has passed, and while Madden's still the only real football option for iPad owners, we expected more than a visual bump and updated rosters.
Licensed sports games so often aim for the diehards and sim junkies, leaving the casual and less devout fans on the bench. Not NBA Jam, though -- this light and speedy take on professional basketball pops with big-headed players and two-on-two dunk-fests, and nearly two decades after its original arcade debut, it's been revived for iPhone and iPad with all the latest teams and stars.
EA Sports surprisingly skipped the opportunity to port the successful iPhone version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour to iPad last year. But with a fresh version out for consoles, the publisher saw it fit to finally bring the successful golf simulation franchise to Apple's tablet with a pretty sizable selection of content.