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Madden NFL 11 packs a punch on iPad

With the return of England AND the Premier League this week, we’re set to go football crazy all over again on this side of the Atlantic.

Yet there remains a sizeable and committed audience for American Football on this side of the pond too, thanks to a generation who grew up on Channel 4’s live coverage, and EA’s Madden console games.

A sign of the times, then: the latest Madden title is appearing on iPad and iPhone alongside its console release. Madden NFL 11 went live in the UK in the early hours of this morning, at a premium price of £7.49 for iPad, or £4.99 for iPhone.

Realistically, if you own both devices, it’s the iPad version you want. Although it’s a shame the game couldn’t be Universal, so you could pay one price to have both.

Still, it looks excellent, with beefy visuals that look great on the big tablet screen. The controls look well-worked for the touchscreen too, particularly something called Hot Routes, which lets you trace routes for passing, running and defence on-screen with your finger. Like Flight Control, with the planes replaced by grunting men in helmets and padding. Sort of.

This being EA, the game is licensed up to its eyeballs, with all 32 NFL teams and nearly 2,000 real players. The meaty Season Mode lets you take your chosen team through the season, trading players and gorging yourself on nerdy stats along the way.

EA even has an iPad-exclusive mode on the way in a forthcoming update: Vintage Voltage Football will apparently be a “throwback to retro-style electric football”. Wikipedia tells us that’s an old-school US tabletop game. More understandably for us Brits, there’s also a multiplayer mode on the way.

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