MADDEN NFL Mobile unleashes new gaming features to optimize virtual football experience


Loading screen of the new Madden app, featuring Odell Beckham Jr.’s famous one-handed catch. Screenshot by Rylea Gillis.

Running, throwing, catching, tackling — all the exciting aspects of football made possible via just…your thumbs?

The new and improved version of MADDEN NFL Mobile, the phone-friendly edition of the hugely popular football video game Madden NFL, was released to the App Store Aug. 18, and has since become ranked the top free sports app and the eighth top free game.

Once you update the game from the previous year’s version, your existing team, whether they were consecutive Super Bowl champs or as winless as the Raiders, is retired. You are then forced to start fresh with all entry-level players.

Upon downloading the app, you’ll instantly notice the redesigned icon which matches the game’s enhanced interface. Richard Sherman, last year’s cover athlete, has been replaced by Odell Beckham Jr., a wide receiver phenom coming off his rookie year for the New York Giants. The new graphics are a nice upgrade to the game, but are still familiar enough for users to navigate the app without much confusion.

Only a few changes were made that affect the actual gameplay, the biggest being the “Super Bowl rewind” feature. This is an aspect of the game that was seen in Madden NFL 09, but due to its characteristics unrealistic to the game of football, it didn’t return for the later editions. Now that it’s back, you’ve inherited the ability to reverse, change and redo a play if it doesn’t quite go your way. (If I’m not mistaken, this is a jab taken at the Seahawks’ final offensive play of Super Bowl XLIX.)

Another new feature of the game is the increased PAT (point after touchdown) kicking distance, added to resemble the recent NFL rule that moved the line of scrimmage from the two-yard line to the 15. This makes extra points a little less automatic.

A feature that might be harder to get used to is the ability to play as a wide receiver from the line of scrimmage. In season mode, you have the option to complete a passing play as a receiver, running your route and finding the ball to haul in for a catch, rather than being the one throwing it. The difficult part is that you can’t see the quarterback during the play, so you don’t know when or where the ball is coming.

Whether you’re a veteran gamer or a newbie, this app is sure to keep you busy for hours on end. With new challenging live events, unlimited season games, intriguing player packs and a revamped auction house, there is plenty to toy with.