As someone who never watched much football, I was never very interested nor very good at football video games. But the eminently touchable new iPad Madden makes it easy even for casual pigskin fans to jump into the action.
AU: This game is only available in the US iTunes store. -EH
For the tactically clueless like myself, wasting all that time picking plays I didn't really understand that well was a big sticking point for enjoying console football games. Then, once the play started, my general unfamiliarity with controller button configurations often kept me from delivering passes to their intended receivers.
Madden 11, in conjunction with iPad's touchscreen, solves both of these problems. The former is addressed by GameFlow, a new football-smart algorithm that chooses plays for you without you having to go into your playbook. It speeds the game up appreciably and keeps the stuff I find fun - namely, the spin move - coming fast and furious. Of course, you can turn GameFlow off if you do know what you're doing. Here's a video TouchArcade shot that shows off the gameplay a bit:
As seen in that clip, the other great revelation here is the iPad's touchscreen. Passing is as easy as tapping on a player and you can draw routes with a flick of your finger.
And, of course, the game just looks great all around. Even among EA's generally well-polished titles, Madden 11 seems like one of the fullest, most thoroughly realised iPad games I've come across. At $US12 it's probably not something you'll just pick up on a whim, but even if you're more of an iPad gamer than a football one, Madden 11's experience is fun and intuitive enough to make for an easy conversion (like the two point ones they have in this sport, see).
Hopefully that means you'll be all ready to go, with your touchscreen hot routes drawn and your facepaint painted on, when multiplayer support arrives in September. [iTunes via Kotaku and Touch Arcade]