EA’s Madden NFL 25 (Free*) has taken the “freemium” game model to ridiculous extremes. Feeling more like a shakedown than a football game, Madden is free to play, but rubs artificial-feeling limitations in your face well before your team can take the field. Before you get to play the game, you’re told that you’re being given some basic player cards and enough credit to play a game for free, after which the title tries to sell you Madden Cash using in-app purchases. Paying lets you keep playing a seriously stripped-down version of Madden football using very simple tap and touch controls, but in some cases, you’ll have to unlock individual plays, as well as players. If paying outright for player cards didn’t seem silly enough, Madden includes an in-app auction where players can compete against each other to buy cards for certain players. We can’t imagine anyone paying anything—let alone $100, as offered in one in-app purchase—to keep playing a game that has nowhere near the depth or content of a console football title. The in-game graphics aren’t much better than football titles from two years ago, Retina support not withstanding, and the audio’s nothing special, either. Our advice: skip this one.
Notability ($5) from Ginger Labs has updated to version 5.01, and is now universal on all iOS devices. The note-taking app has also added iCloud support to keep notes updated on any iOS device running iOS 6 or later. A new scissor tool lets users scale and rotate handwriting. Themes have gotten a new look and feel, and one new theme has been added, as well.
FarSight Studios has updated its multi-pinball game emulator Pinball Arcade ($1) with another new table in version 2.7 — Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The T2 table is a faithful recreation of the original pinball cabinet, even including the then-pioneering LED panel with graphic displays and bonuses. Voice samples from Arnold Schwarzenegger are included. Users get the opportunity to play the T2 table until they reach a pre-determined high score level, at which point the game locks it — at that point, it’s $5 for full unlimited access to that game. Centaur is the Table of the Month, and tiered tournament functionality has been added, as well.
Solar Flux HD ($4) from Firebrand Games is a new space-themed puzzle game with 80 missions and impressive Retina graphics. Guiding your ship past supernovas, asteroid fields, meteors, and black holes while keeping stars alive can be fun; your energy-limited ship gathers plasma and fires it into stars, sometimes using the resulting energy waves to continue flying without wasting thruster fuel. While Solar Flux HD isn’t as addictive as the most popular iOS puzzlers, it’s cerebral with light twitch action requirements, and feels pretty original.