This is the obligatory launch version of Madden NFL 3DS that has to release for every new console. Despite the growth of the franchise on the 360 and the PS3, this game is stripped down and rounded off to the bare minimum.
I'm going to have a really, really hard time recommending Madden NFL Football to anyone other than extreme die-hard sports game fans. Even then, to those people I have to offer that this title is severely toned down when compared to the efforts on the consoles.
Players are presented with three, count 'em, three game modes: Play Now, Season and Practice. You'll be able to select 11 on 11 or 5 on 5 gameplay. 5 on 5 is meant to feel arcadey; but, it's just annoying. The Madden soundtrack blasts while you play bare-minimum pigskin.
Every team is accounted for.
And that's it. That's all there is to Madden NFL Football 3DS. I'm used to sitting here and running down a massive list of game mechanics and components when new EA Sports titles release; instead, this game is as light as they come. The offering is paltry, simplistic and definitely not worth $40.
It also doesn't help that the gameplay feels extremely old compared to the newer editions. Gameflow is here, the mechanic that speeds up games by letting players, essentially, "Ask Madden" without all the menu interruptions. Barring that, this feels like an old Madden game.
The 3D is also underwhelming. The hud displays flat, at screen level, while the gameplay is deeper in the screen. There's depth, it looks 3D-ish. But it's definitely not going to set the standard for sports gaming on Nintendo's latest handheld.
Here's a pro-tip: select a deep passing play, let your receivers run and float the ball. Guaranteed touchdown. Yeesh, this is 2011. Madden games are championed as some of the best sporting titles available today. The 3DS iteration is just… lackluster.