Free to play titles, due to necessity, are usually plagued with advertisements that, if you're the impatient type, may prove annoying beyond belief. That dynamic infests NFL Pro 2014, as promotions often take center stage over actual game play. But what about diehard pigskin fans? Will this completely ruin their experience, or is a little discomfort worth a few touchdowns?

As a Houston Texans loyalist and passionate supporter of ground and pound football, NFL Pro 2014 leaves me in a conflicted state. The good news is that, even though it doesn't have any star names involved, and there's zeo flair to the action, it's still bleeping football. Anyone who's played the Madden franchise understands the intricacies of play calling on both sides of the field, and by keeping things absolutely simple and streamlined, NFL Pro 2014 gives players an easy as pie learning curve.

With a virtual joystick for movement and the use of tap mechanics to choose your play, pass the ball, and even tackle your opponent, NFL Pro 2014 is solid on the go football. NFL Pro 2014 will keep you entertained, especially if you need a quick shot of testosterone driven scoring.

NFL Pro 2014 also throws in a bit of an RPG element into the mix, as gamers earn experience points for various actions they perform during the contest. With every level bump, you receive points which can be added to a select player's skill level. Whether it's a linebacker, free safety, or wide receiver, points are dispersed based on your overall football philosophy.

Cash is also earned when certain objectives are met, and the currency can be used to add specific plays to your playbook. If you want to call a certain play but don't have a ton of cash, you can still throw down a couple of bones to execute, say, a specialized blitz, but it won't be permanently added to the playbook. The in-game app purchases are also not necessary from the get go, as currency can be earned organically. So credit goes to Gameloft for not turning NFL Pro 2014 into a free to play cash grab.

The major flaw behind NFL Pro 2014 rests on the incessant ads which pop up after each two minute quarter. Some of these promos are quick hitters giving us information about other cool apps to purchase, and certain ads are only 15 seconds, so that's not an entirely bad thing. A recent game blasted me with three, one-minute spots which, considering the miniscule length of each match-up, is ridiculous. Fluidity is an important element in enjoying a sports title, and when faced with promos up the wazoo, who has the patience to call another play?

If I was a casual football fan, I would kick NFL Pro 2014 to the curb and thumb my nose at all these stupid ads. But give me a running back and a hole to run through, and I can forgive any sins that come my way. Even though the virtual joystick is also way too sensitive to my liking, I still enjoy watching my workhorse receive a quarterback toss and grind his way to positive yardage. Plus, I love medals, and since I've never earned one on own, buying my way into acclaim is more than kosher.

Gameloft knows a thing or two about crafting solid free to play experiences, as evidenced with their inspired take on the Epic universe. I really would have loved a few less ads for NFL Pro 2014, but since I'll devour anything with a helmet and pads, I'm okay with the horrible compromise. Whether you do the same hinges on your own level of football addiction, but that's a play call I'm not willing to make.


App Store Link: NFL Pro 2014 for iPhone & iPad | By Gameloft | Price: Free | Version: 1.5.0 | 179 MB | Rating 4+

6.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating