Teachers are keen to remind their students that it's not enough to be present in class. If you plan on doing well, you have to participate.

Madden NFL 11 can be counted as present on iPad, but EA Mobile has to participate more actively to put this version of the game on equal standing with its superb iPhone and iPod touch counterpart.

Although it offers the same fantastic core gameplay, this iPad versions fumbles a few of the basics.

Same playbook, different results

It's a curious situation. Rather than expanding the iPhone version, Madden NFL 11 arrives on iPad contracted, with fewer features and less impressive graphics.

Multiplayer has been stripped away entirely (bright red lettering in the game modes menu promises it's "coming soon!") and the technical performance is uneven.

A number of performance hiccups detract from the experience. Transitions between plays come with extended pauses, flipping through the pages of your playbook is slightly offset, and jerky player animations abound. There's a sense of incompleteness to the presentation that doesn't square with the highly polished gameplay.

Which is to be enjoyed in spite of all that Madden NFL 11 on iPad is missing. Phenomenal defensive gameplay grants full control over your team, finally bringing it in balance with the offensive game.

Still got it

There's no overstating the innovation of Total Defensive Control and the way in which it transforms the portable series.

A tap of the Total Defensive Control button and you're able to direct all your players on the field at once with effortless swipes to chase the ball carrier or defend a spot. Multi-touch is supported too, enabling you to issue multiple commands simultaneously. It's actually fun to play defence - something I've never claimed with any previous instalment.

Improvements to the way hot routes are drawn by hand and the introduction of automatic plays via GameFlow help smooth the offensive side, too.

Leaving multiplayer for a future update is a letdown, particularly when you consider that Madden NFL 11 doesn't offer an extended Dynasty mode. That alone makes it inferior to the iPhone and iPod touch version, which possesses multiplayer and a stronger presentation.

It's a step down, but don't confuse that criticism as a reason to stay away from this otherwise solid game.

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