madden25Being a somewhat enthusiastic football fan, I was excited when I heard that Madden NFL 25 [Free] would see a release on iOS. Unfortunately, any excitement was quickly extinguished when I fired up the game and realized this would not be anything like its console brethren. Instead, Madden 25 for iOS fully embraces its freemium roots, offering an experience that all but the most hardcore fans should avoid.

First off, let's get something perfectly clear about Madden 25 for iOS: this bears little resemblance to the console versions of EA's anniversary football title. Instead, Madden 25 is basically an updated version of the recently shuttered Madden Social, which focused on the collection of player cards. Sure, you can play highly simplified football matches against the AI or other players, but its almost as if the football itself is just a means towards more coins and experience points, which allow you to buy more card packs and (hopefully) get better players. Even more annoying is that by closing down Madden Social, EA has essentially reset everyone's Madden progress- Forcing players who actually want to play this to get back to the grind of unlocking all the things they had previously.


In theory, Madden 25 has some interesting concepts that I wanted to explore. The asynchronous multiplayer against other players is a cool idea and solved some of the issues with playing full multiplayer games that typically have some time commitment. In addition, the game's auction mode and Solo Challenge mode offer alternatives to earning cards than simply saving money and buying blind packs.

Unfortunately, each of these concepts is marred by excessive freemium elements and other missteps. The multiplayer matchmaking leaves something to be desired, placing me in my first game with an opponent completely decked out in high end cards which lead to a bloodbath and a relative waste of my time. Most of the cards I checked out in the auction were all offered at prices way above that which most ordinary players could ever earn. Acting as a looming shadow above the entire game is the energy system, which acts as a completely unnecessary limitation to playing solo challenges and multiplayer games (which are, after all, the only ways you can earn coin).

screen1024x1024-1Adding insult to injury is the game's attempts to really nickel and dime its players. Certain plays actually cost coins to use while playing, leaving your actual playbook choices diminished if you're trying to save money. The game's dual currency system also leads to some ridiculous options, including a literal 'Pay-to-win' button on Solo Challenges (that requires the premium 'Madden Bucks' which can only be purchased via IAP). I'm also not a fan of the fact that plays in general need to be unlocked via leveling for some of the modes.

Exacerbating the inherent issues with Madden 25 are lackluster and occasionally unresponsive controls. Players have the option of choosing a contextual control scheme that has you tapping and gliding your control player across the screen, or using a virtual joystick to control your players. While contextual is the default, I did not enjoy it at all as it forced me to tap and hold all over the screen to direct my players, occasionally causing me to block my field of vision. The joystick, meanwhile, works better for traditionalists but takes up precious screen real estate and still isn't as responsive as I'd like.

One of the unfortunate side effects of the game's controls is the heavy reliance I started to have on the game's AI, especially on defensive drives. This makes upgrading your team's cards even more important as your team's offensive and defensive ratings become just as if not more important than player skill. This makes the overall experience all the more frustrating when you take the game's freemium barriers into consideration.


I don't know if Madden 25 is the only 'Madden' title to grace iOS this fall, but I certainly hope it isn't. Lacking a season mode, any form of player customization, or even full games, Madden 25 is a poor substitute for an actual NFL game, and is instead yet another social-oriented freemium title that seems to care more about monetization than gameplay. Who knows how long it will last either, as EA has shown they have no problem just shutting down their servers for these games leaving players in the wings. In fact, the only nice thing I can say is that I didn't encounter any of the crashes that Brad and Eli dealt with in their recent playthrough. Regardless, with this game and the recently released (and also free-to-play) NFL Pro Football 2014, pickings are looking pretty slim right now for NFL fans on iOS.

TouchArcade Rating

  • RamazAdelphos

    Screw Ea they deserve that 1 star for this sh*t. I can't even play it on my itouch 5 go Jump off a cliff

  • marc0313

    It IS pretty shitty. Maybe 1.5 is better though. Lol. Jk. GIVE THEM .5! "BLEED BITCH BLEED."
    Fucking EA.

  • JustKarma

    Wow, after plants vs zombies I thought EA were starting to understand how to do freemium better, guess not.

    • Leo281993

      EA can't be trusted. What if they are being generous in PvZ 2 to garner support, downloads and good PR and then suddenly do a 180 and enforce a more rigorous iap model? Or maybe slowly creep in new iap elements with the upcoming updates? Remember its EA and they like to play dirty. I'm not going to update PvZ 2 until I can confirm what changes or additions they make in the iap model.

    • jamarohn

      To be clear, PvZ was designed by the folks over at Popcap in Seattle. The F2P model was designed and thought of well before the EA acquisition. EA simply covers the distribution, support, and marketing models, and has very small influence on Popcap's creative intelligence, including revenue models.

      • themostunclean

        Thank you for that eloquent explanation. There are so many ignorant jerk offs out there with knee jerk reactions to EA who don't even understand the basic facts of game creation and distribution. EA doesn't actually make most (if any) of the games under their name, the plethora of studios they own do. Some of those studios are full of talented and good-natured people who just want to make great games and do respect the players.

        Take Dead Space 3 for example. EA may have been the ones behind the decision to implement microtransactions but the developers made sure to implement an intentional "bug" in certain areas that allowed for infinite resources. You could even use in-game items to pay for resource DLC.

      • Protoman

        This is ironic. lol

      • Morgan01

        It really doesn't matter. If it wasn't Freemium before acquisition from EA, they would have made it a Freemium title regardless. What matters is that it has the EA name attached and that it's more Freeminum crap from them.

  • Gfish

    Lol. Even this one star seems too much for me.

  • RamazAdelphos

    Sad to say this but Gamelofts football game is better lolol. Ea just just leave us Idevice gamers alone my god

  • speedyph
    • Eli Hodapp
      • themostunclean

        Ha! I remember every one of those reviews and thinking when I saw them- "That's the only 1 star I've ever seen on TA!"

        On a separate note, will we ever get an update to the TA app to allow for links in comments to work? I always have to switch over to a browser to use them.

  • fransoccer

    Oh EA you've done it again

  • Kugiro

    Wow you have PAY for certain plays in the playbook in each game? WTF, that is a new low in my book. EA, please gargle razor blades.

  • maomaoyinpei

    Delete already

  • iOSPeace

    I JUST LOVE THIS GAME SOOOOOOO MUCH! BEEN PLAYING IT FOR HOURS!!!!!....... Just kidding.... This game is so bad it makes Gamelofts game look good.... I was just kidding on that as well. This doesn't even deserve a rating at all

  • Rejera

    EA's game quality has just been going downhill fast across all platforms. I hope they turn this around and actually make good games again.

    • themostunclean

      EA doesn't make games. The studios they own do (see above comments).

      • Nick

        Uh, what gives you the impression ea doesn't make games? They don't make ALL games, but they still create quite a few from the ground up in their various studios.

        In Vancouver where I live, my brother in law was an exec there, and they, in house, made quite a few games (the Street series and at least one or two official Fifa games.)

        What I'm trying to get at is that you're wrong.

      • themostunclean

        Well the point you really made is you're a smug jackass. There are polite ways to impart information to another human being but you decide to be a douche.

        You list a couple of games EA has produced. I can list HUNDREDS that came out of smaller studios that were bought by EA. I was being general for the sake of brevity and if you'd bothered to reference the earlier comment I'd mentioned you'd have seen I said "few if any" meaning I'm fully aware there may be a very small number if games EA is directly responsible for developing.

      • Nick

        I'm sorry I hurt your feelings and I'm happy to extend an Internet hug for you if that would help?

        Seriously though, the office in Vancouver ALONE is massive, it's a huge campus. That doesn't even come close to relating the size of their other offices, as Vancouver is one hell of a pricey area to buy propery that large. So if that's one office inanother country, what do you think everyone is doing there?  Trust me, their QA/play testing isn't lucrative enough to fill their massive offices with, and they have just shy of 10k employees.

        It just gets irritating when people just parrot incorrect info because it is what "they heard".

        But all in all, rather than stating here "ea doesn't make games" and just assume someone is automatically going to go back and read all your messages, adding "many" and "these days" would have cleared EVERYTHING up and we both could have actually done something worthwhile with our time.

  • sweetdiss

    "Yet another glowing review for an EA game by TouchArePai...

    Oh, wait."

  • The_Blue_Sticker

    EA has a couple franchises they don't seem to mess around with and mess up like Battlefield and other big titles of theirs but man, I didn't think they would do this to one of the biggest franchises they have.

  • worldcitizen1919

    I told you this was Madden Social. What they did was close down the previous Madden Social thus screwing over customers who had invested in their game ny to lose EVERYTHING. They want you to start all over again.

    Disgraceful, disgusting, pitiful, arrogant and pure THEFT. STAY AWAY as far as possible from this. Don't even download it. And if you played before and invested money like me then its all down the drain and you're expected to fill their coffers AGAIN. EA should be SUED for closing the previous one down only to open the EXACT SAME GAME and make everyone start from scratch. The best thing everyone can do is not download or go near it.

    • JJE McManus

      Indeed. Give credit where credit is due. You called this and were spot on. Well done. This game is an atrocity.

      • B30

        EA is an atrocity.

  • handycapman

    Anyone know when the madden 25 ps3/xbox companion app is launching?

  • NickyNichols

    Honestly, did you expect anything more? The Madden games on handheld have been horrible since Gameboy.

    • Eli Hodapp

      Madden 10 and Madden 11 on iOS were actually really great games, particularly 11.

  • DtheGOPkiller

    Free to play is killing the iOS game. Sad to see once again greed ruins all.

    • Protoman

      Yeah, I actually thought the iDevices would be taken seriously as gaming platforms. They've pretty much become milking tools by these big companies who are exploiting the same marketing techniques as drug dealers, only doing it with no oversight. At least casinos have government bodies to deal with due to the inherent addictive quality of said establishments. It's sad the business as a whole is becoming a huge addict market.

    • themostunclean

      Overreaction. iOS premium gaming is getting better and stronger by the DAY. There IS a massive divide between freemium and premium but it's not killing anything. There will always be an audience, hence a demand for, premium "core" titles.

      All you'll see are freemium games getting worse and pandering to dumber and dumber people while premium games will continue to shine as they have this summer.

      • Karzay

        Interesting thought.

      • themostunclean

        I've just seen so many great titles come out over the last few months that I can't see this "freemium wasteland" on the horizon that some people are so paranoid about.

      • SumoSplash

        I think when even one game is ruined by Freemium it should be enough to be paranoid about.

  • rstall

    Honestly I think this is a good game!! I've spent $5 and boosted my team up. The game play mechanics are basic and adequate for a cell phone game. You level up you unlock those plays you normally pay for. I don't see the problem you guys have with this game. It's not bad considering its a mobile game. And technically, it is free...

    • Arch Deluxe

      Not much surprises me these days, but I'm shocked to see the CEO of EA post here!

      • Kugiro

        Huh? Who?

      • RamazAdelphos

        It was a joke. Because that guy was the only one to say something good about the game. So he probaly works for EA or like he said the CEO lol

  • Entropy2k

    Well since this game seems to be an abomination, can anybody recommend an ios football game with actual football gameplay? Even something on a Tecmo Bowl level would do since I haven't even found that.

    • andrew9oh7

      Football heroes is coming out soon.

      • Entropy2k

        I think I remember hearing about that one. I'll check it out, thanks.

    • GameTime

      I'm the developer of Mike Vick: GameTime. It's 4 on 4, but is designed for mobile. Passing is actually fun and skill based. Give it a try.

      • bones boy

        Really? You're developing a game using Michael Vick's name? You realize most of the universe still hates this guy? Best of luck though - it actually looks like it's doing quite well.

      • Protoman

        Sweet. Is there a dog fighting mini game? That would be boss. LMAO

  • Mirkwood

    Wow, that was unexpected.

    Thanks for the review


    One-star, now this was a fun read! 😀

  • DannyTheElite

    Please tell me the new fifa won't be this bad...

    • XboxOne

      I hope not :

    • Utfan

      The FIFA 14 game for IOS was already confirmed by EA to be free-to-play 🙁

      • RoundPiplup

        Yet it might be filled with IAP like most "free to play" games.

  • Jake7905

    This stunt by EA was about as shocking as Miley Cyrus on Sunday. Two PR stunts manufactured to produce money.

  • Jeff Smith

    EA is greedy and puts out the same product every time with 2 or 3 simple upgrades. I've been playing Game Time Mike Vick game. It's fun to play, and offers a superior game. Check it out for yourself. Oh... and it's FREE!!!!

  • Blackcat1313

    Yes! A one star review! It's like Christmas to get one of these.

  • Opinion

    I play it for the card collecting

  • pauldavidmerritt

    Here's what I see:

    These release types are not made for us. We are gamers! All we need to worry about is TA being on our side, and keeping us well informed on any of these releases that should be ignored by us gamers. TA is doing a decent job at it, but sometimes it's hard to ignore these 'cash cow' releases, isn't it? They could make any affiliated company more wealthy (EA comes to mind, which is why they shouldn't be written off as partial blame).

  • somedumbgamer

    What's so disappointing? It's madden. I expect it to suck and would be surprised if it didn't. It's sucked since ea got the exclusive nfl rights. #greed

  • RamazAdelphos

    Don't be fooled by the 4/5 stars the game got on the App Store.....those people sicken me

  • islesfan

    All I can say is I sure hope 2K doesn't go this way with NBA 2K14. I'm looking forward to my new Nets lineup, but I don't want to have to play IAP card pong to get to use Pierce or Garnett!

  • Cwhals

    1 star? That's not fair. Nor is getting a 60$ football game for 7$ on iOS. You can't expect to get a football game for a ninth of what it's worth on console. EA was losing money for offering it that cheap as people would just buy the iOS version instead. If you want a full Madden experience buy it on console. This game is worth at least 3 stars for how good the gameplay is, have you even played the head-to-head mode? Those two things make it worth 3 stars alone. So what if you have to level up to get plays, they give you great plays to begin with that offer enough variety to unlock more plays. How do you ever expect an iOS game to get 60$? Freemium, this game executes it very well. Sounds like you haven't even given it a chance!

    • RamazAdelphos

      Your are an idiot, first of all itouch gamers don't get the beautiful game that comes out on console. We don't get those sick GFX or anything else ok, so that's why the game would market at $7 and honestly people would probaly pay $15-$20 for a really good fun madden Idevice port. Just face it EA is just greedy bastards who don't give a fk about us. They just see us as monkeys who throw money at them. It dosnt bother them because they make so much money off of theirs Console games and off the dummies who still feed them money like u on these types of games.

      • Cwhals

        Yeah, I might spend some of my money to support this game because I enjoy it just like people who enjoy PvZ2(which is made by EA, also.) Almost everyone on TA thinks EA is such a terrible company, why? They have to make money somehow and freemium gets them more because some people don't want to wait for something. Is it that big of a deal? So how are they greedy? Its called a business. Not an easy concept to grasp it seems.

    • RamazAdelphos

      Also you must work for EA as well

    • Protoman

      I see no problem with making a fully implemented football game for iOS. The hardware is capable, especially with dedicated controllers on the horizon. I think the point your missing is that EA would rather put out this shlock than an actual game.

    • RoundPiplup

      Are you kidding me? If I liked this game I would had bought the disc for this game instead of being a cash cow who milks money. If I did then maybe I lose it all. I rather get the premium games instead of paying so many IAP on a free game. Don't become kicked like the buddy who drops money when he gets kicked. Save it for some premium games that are better and brighter than free games that becomes a piece of dust.

  • iamnotpretending

    Aaand it's Apple Editor's Pick.

  • rewyan

    Ha. EA deserves it, they shoulda learned to do freemium right like with PvZ2.

  • Derek Blankenship

    Do you love a game that rewards you for your skill and ability to buy and sell? Well this isn't the game for you. I hope you have aloooot of money cause that's all this game is about. It matters 0% how good of a player you are if you don't spend the money you cannot win. You have wide open wideout that's will drop the pass because why? Your rating is lower then the team you are playing. I have spent countless hours on the auction house without spending any real money. I will never win.

  • Too Kwl

    Terrible review I play when I feel I don't grind , no need. In the review you say something to the effect of I"I guess you and pay...what do you mean you think ? I dont read reviews to have a half ass review. Ever letter typed,was a waist of time. If any one takes you opinion seriously they are crazy. Ok I have to log off and ever come back to toucharcde where reviewers at the Niro of games an pass judgment

Madden NFL 25 by EA SPORTS™ Reviewed by Eric Ford on . Rating: 1