Madden Overdrive: Everything you need to know

With the NFL preseason well underway, the NFL's premier mobile football game is showing life today. Madden Mobile has been updated for the 2018 season, but don't panic if you can't find it in your phone — it's now called Madden Overdrive.

What it is, what's changed, and what you can expect when you fire it up. We've got everything you need to know about Madden Overdrive.

What is Madden Overdrive?

Madden Overdrive is the annual NFL game made by EA designed specifically for smartphones and tablets. The series used to be called Madden Mobile, but EA is touting its biggest leaps forward yet for the series this year, so much so that there's an edgy new name to go along with it.

While previous Madden games have tried to emulate an accurate NFL gameday experience, such as tasking you with playing a full four-quarter football game by controlling offense, defense, and special teams, Madden Overdrive aims to make a more mobile-friendly model that'll offer quicker and more intense action. It's also emphasizing tactics and strategy more than mechanical skill, so those whose thumbs don't work quite as well as the next person's will have a chance to win.

Madden Overdrive will be a free download, with in-app purchases largely driving the gameplay model.

What do you do in this game?

Madden Overdrive is all about building up a team of players and competing against others. You acquire players and coaches via several different means, and you'll take that team into real-time head-to-head matchups against real opponents.

Players will have a variety of ways to earn in-game items, including daily and weekly events, challenges, and by acquiring players through an auction house or from player packs.

Aside from an all-new head-to-head mode, Madden Overdrive will see the return of League Play, which allows you to play a full season of games against other players' teams. Take your team far enough and you could win the Super Bowl for big-time rewards.

How do you play?

Madden Overdrive's head-to-head play is vastly different compared to Madden Mobile. Instead of a turn-based system where you and your opponents trade drives, you'll be playing against them in real-time in a new game mode based on fantasy points.

The way it works is that you each get three minutes to execute an offensive drive, and within that drive you can earn fantasy points for various actions, whether that's gaining yards, making a catch, and of course, scoring. The player with the most fantasy points wins. You won't be able to play defense in the same way that you can control your offense, but that's where a new mechanic called Tactics come in.

As the game progresses, the fantasy points you earn will go toward building your Overdrive meter. This meter allows you to execute a Tactic, which is a gameplay wrinkle that serves to make things more difficult or uncomfortable for your opponent. For instance, I can activate a Tactic that says you only get half of the points you normally would for scoring a rushing touchdown, which would compel my opponent to think about going for a passing touchdown instead.

The idea here is to throw them off their game. If they seem more comfortable running the ball than throwing it, that Tactic would help you tilt the game in your favor. You can activate these Tactics multiple times throughout a game, and they are separated by tiers so you could spend all of your Overdrive meter to go for a big swing or use a smaller portion of it if you're only concerned with annoying your opponent a bit.

The Tactics you have access to are based on your coach, with each coach in the game having unique bonuses and effects. As far as which plays you can run on offense, those are also affected by your coach and the team captains on your roster. You'll have access to four styles of offense depending on your composition:

  • Smashmouth: You'll favor running the ball, and your players will be more effective when doing a play-action pass.
  • Vertical: Go deep! This style is for those who like driving the ball down the field on long passing plays.
  • West Coast: It's all about short, quick passes and letting your receivers pick up the yardage.
  • Spread: Throw your opponents off balance by throwing lots of misdirections and route combinations at them.

Alongside determining your playbook, these styles will also boost choice attributes on your players. And the more you upgrade your captains, the more powerful these boosts will be.

This new style of gameplay sounds pretty exciting, but if you prefer the ways of old, you'll be happy to know that League Play will retain the traditional turn-based style of gameplay that Madden Mobile has become known for.

EA says there's no guarantee that this will be the case forever, as it'll be monitoring feedback of both modes to determine whether any changes will be made down the line. That means that — for now, at least — there's a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy with Madden Overdrive, new or returning player alike.

Are there microtransactions?

There are premium points in Madden Overdrive that you can purchase for various reasons, the biggest of which being to acquire premium player packs. Of course, these in-app purchases are entirely optional and the game can be enjoyed fully without spending a dime.

In fact, EA will offer more to start in Overdrive than in any version of Madden Mobile, with players getting a free coach and team captain from the start. You can add more players to your team by acquiring them through events or spending the non-premium in-game currency in the auction house.

To go along with that, the stamina mechanic — which limited you to a certain amount of play per hour unless you paid to recharge your stamina meter — is no longer a thing. Play as much as you want for as long as you want.

Does Madden Overdrive have anything to do with Madden NFL 19?

Madden Overdrive does not feature any interconnectivity with the Madden NFL games for consoles. You may see the two games share names for certain promotional events such as Team of the Week, but the programs are run slightly different and may feature entirely different content. As such, don't use the events of one game to try and predict goings-on for the others. For all intents and purposes, these games are completely unrelated.

Madden 19: Everything you need to know

Download it today

Madden Overdrive is now available to download worldwide. Be sure to grab the download at Google Play here, and if you already have Madden Mobile installed on your Android phone or tablet then it should hit as an update.

Stay tuned as we'll be diving into Madden Overdrive to experience all it has to offer and providing extended coverage accordingly. See you on the football field!

Download: Madden Overdrive (Free w/ IAP

Quentyn Kennemer