Price: $0.99    Score: 8/10    Category: Games

Remember the joy of learning to play catch with Dad in the backyard? How hard it was to actually catch the ball but how invigorating it felt when you did? That’s what Pro Football Touchdown feels like, only Dad’s a pro football player and the backyard is a roaring stadium full of fans.

Instead of playing a full fledged game for the NFL, this pared down version of the game is all about catching the ball soaring at you with quick, accurate hands. There are three modes including sudden death (the game continues until you fail to catch the football), three lives (three misses and you’re out) and multiball (a rapid fire of 50 passes from three different quarterbacks), and that’s all there is to it.

The game may not sound like a nail biter, but something about the countdown that leads up to the whistle and the way the ball sounds when it hits off your football gloves makes this game totally invigorating. This is a simple but professional game that might remind you of Madden from a few years ago minus the passing patterns and necessity to manage the whole team.

The controls themselves are responsive and Pro Football Touchdown progresses at a nice clip. Between the arena type music to the replicated exciting feel of what it’s like to be in a stadium, this really feels like an experience. It might sound overly simple, but actually catching the ball requires true precision. Move your gloves too far left and the ball bounces away. Let the ball slip through your fingers and the ball slaps against the iPad screen leaving a temporary mark of turf dirt.

Until you build your skills multiball is definitely the way to get in the groove of the game. It’s also the easiest of the modes because both sudden death and three lives have this short moment where the screen bumps up just slightly as the football reaches the top of its slight arc on the way to your gloves. The glitch is a little annoying at first but easy to get used to in time.

Regardless of player mode, the passes that start as little lofts in your direction start to turn into high velocity passes that take your finger from one end of the screen to another. In a way the experience harkens back to Wii Tennis in terms of getting your timing and volleying back and forth, but instead of multiplayer and skill points you get a little feedback and have the opportunity to earn 26 different badges along the way.

If you like the adrenaline feeling of sports this might be one of the best football experiences you can buy from the app store in under a buck. The game could benefit from different views, replays, and maybe a couple passing patterns, but overall this game from Neon Play is an excellent reminder of why we all love football.

Bottom Line: Pro Football Touchdown is a high velocity passing game that puts you in the position of the receiver in a roaring stadium full of fans. Make the catch and the delight of the fans is all yours, but getting good takes practice.

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