Football’s a tough game to squeeze onto a cell phone, and I don’t envy anyone trying to get a few dozen 300-pound guys onto a tiny screen. Any way you slice it, corners need to be cut and adjustments need to be made. Knowing this, JAMDAT still sets out to make as realistic an NFL game as possible. Big points for effort, not as many for execution.

NFL 2005 uses the familiar keypad layout for movement, so I should be used to it by now. The problem is, since this game moves vertically, the 2 button usually makes you go forward. On a lot of phones (especially higher-end Motorolas), 2 is perilously close to down on the control circle. Many a run was ruined because my back didn’t know whether he was coming or going.

Passing in this configuration can prove tough, too. Your three receivers are passed to with the 5, *, and # buttons. It’s really hard to be able to hit one of them at a moment’s notice, so I was taking to using you right thumb to control the QB, then three fingers on my left hand for each of the receiver buttons. This is far from the ideal way to play a game of football. It’s not JAMDAT’s fault, but that doesn’t help make the game any more user-friendly.

Jillian Barberie sez: Touchdown! That’s good, right?

Tackling and juking adopts the ever-popular Tecmo Bowl school of thought, meaning you rapidly tap a button to keep from hitting the ground. Fumbles and interceptions occur once in a while, and you’ll see their frequency go up the more skilled you are at covering receivers or smearing the guy with the ball. I was aching for different difficulty settings early on, but found it right where it should be after I got up to speed. It turns out the difficulty was in myself. How’s that for some Zen philosophy, eh?

JAMDAT NFL 2005 tries to fill the download with impressive options and features. The playbook has a good mix of running and short/long passing plays. You can do a 16-game season with realistic playoff structure, or shorten it to seven games. Not only are the teams real, but the players are all included by name. These little (or big, depending on your tastes) details can really make that $2.50 download seem a lot sweeter.

Honestly, I think JAMDAT tried a little too hard to emulate console football titles, and believe me: I feel bad for having to call them on it. However, if the game had been simplified more, I probably would’ve enjoyed it more. Nobody likes finger knots, but in JAMDAT NFL 2005‘s current form, there’s nothing that can be done about it.


looking for something?