"What have you done?" This is something I've said out loud three times this year while playing the current crop of iOS football games. Why are they so darn frustrating to play? Let's find out what's going on with this year's mobile football season.
With iOS gaming becoming more and more popular with gamers, and with the games themselves creeping up to console like graphics thanks to better programming and faster processors in iPad and iPhones, one expects a certain level of quality when downloading the latest game, especially sports games. But social media and in-app purchasing is killing what makes playing sports games fun in the first place.
In my review of NFL Pro 13, I blasted the game for it's lack of available plays, teams and players. Options you normally have available to you in a football game. But with the current trend of in-app purchasing, these options are locked unless you spend points on them. Points you accrue through repetitious gameplay or in-app purchasing.
What in the wide, wide, world of sports is going on here?
When you were on defense, you could only pick playing in a 4-3. Wanted to play a 3-4? Tough. You gotta buy it. Don't have enough in-game currency? How convenient! You can purchase more using real money! Want longer quarters? You have to buy them. Know what? Screw you and the mascot you rode in on. I'd rather pay $10 for a real football game then download a free game that has been castrated. This isn't an RPG, where I level up my character and unlock more powerful spells. This is football. But developers are treating these games like RPGs, forcing you to level your team up to unlock more plays and formations. What a crock.
This football crime has made its way over to the Madden franchise, which is even worse than NFL Pro 2013. At least in NFL Pro 2013 you can play defense. You don't have that option in this year's Madden. What do you get to do? You get to play with random people online or with your Facebook friends. Taking turns like you're playing Scrabble instead of football.
We don't want to collect coins in a football game. This isn't Super Mario Bros. Let us play a damn football game! Why do we have to take turns? Why are the plays locked? Oh, this is why ...
"Dad, do you have $100? I wanna play the new Madden for the iPhone."
Buy Madden social cash. So you can unlock the things that should be in your football game to begin with. Like being able to play defense. This year's Madden is all about the offense. And it's not even good offensive play. The players are sluggish, and it's so easy to score a touchdown that I'm destroying every opponent I play against. But since EA didn't want to focus any efforts on defense, it's no wonder the opposing team's defensive line is so easy to cut through.
I was going to review Madden NFL 13 Social, but after seeing this current trend in football games, I felt like this piece would be more appropriate. Please, PLEASE stop giving us half-assed football games. We would be happy to pay for the game if it meant we actually got a complete football experience.
Want to run a fake? You've gotta buy that option, dummy!
Between NFL Pro 2013, Madden NFL 13 Social and the pointless NFL Kicker 13, football fans have been getting penalized left and right in the App Store for trying to play a sport they love. Is this trend going to carry over to other sports? What's next? A FIFA game where you have to pay for the soccer ball? Or an NBA game where you must reach a certain level so you can pass on the court?
I'm begging you -- stop screwing with sports games. We don't want in-app purchasing, we don't want to have to level up, we don't want to have to unlock plays and we want to be able to play offense AND defense. If you thought the replacement refs at the beginning of the season were bad, wait until you get your hands on these replacement sports games. Hopefully the developers see the error of their ways and next year bring the sport we love to play back to its gaming roots. If they don't, we're going to keep throwing the penalty flag until they get it right.
- George Roush is the managing editor of Arcade Sushi. His opinions are his own and do not reflect the opinions of the staff at Arcade Sushi or Townsquare Media. (He’s always right anyway, so there’s no point in arguing with him.)