Yesterday, to the delight of its faithful fan base, EA announced plans to launch Madden NFL 13 Social for Facebook, iPhone and iPad users. Although EA's press release bills it as "a full game experience across mobile and Facebook," users who expect all the options of the console version might be disappointed. (Check out the four biggest upgrades in the Madden 13 console version.)
Instead of trying to cram the full console experience into a mobile/social game, the creators of Madden NFL 13 Social focused entirely on offensive drives. Each turn lasts until the player scores or gives up possession; when that happens, control passes to the other player. (Learn how to be a better Madden mobile QB.) Defense is AI-controlled, but although it's important to have a good defensive lineup, you have no real say in what actually happens on the field. The game is turn-based, making it easy to play with friends without having to coordinate or schedule a time for everyone to be online at once.
The game is also cross-platform, meaning players can easily switch between the mobile version and the browser-based Facebook game without missing a play. The iPhone and iPad versions allow users to tap and swipe their way to victory with touchscreen controls that offer an interactive experience. In comparison, the Facebook version is more limited; you choose from a list of offensive strategies and watch the simulated game play out on-screen. To play against friends, you must connect your Facebook account, but social network abstainers aren't locked out; the mobile version of the game allows you to match up against random players by selecting the "Connect Later" option.
Team management is card-based. You start with a full roster of players, with the option to purchase more either in the game store, by buying card packs, or in the auction house, which allows you the opportunity to bid on specific players. Whether you acquire new players through buying or bidding, you will need coins—earned only by auctioning players from your team and playing games. As with most free-to-play games, impatient players can build a killer roster more quickly by purchasing premium currency using real money.
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