There's hardly anyone who would consider last years Madden entry on the DS a quality addition to the franchise. It was obviously rushed, and even as a port, it wasn't very successful. Significant strides have been made this year, both visually and gameplay wise. They're immediately apparent, and for die-hard fans, this isn't such a bad choice.
Game modes have been fleshed out, adding in franchise play, create-a-team, custom leagues, and more. The new mini camp is short-lived fun as almost every game here features innovative use of the touch screen. On the field is where the major improvements have come though.
Gameplay has been slowed down, giving the game a tighter feel. It feels like you're in control this year, unlike the previous attempt, which made running up field a chore. Passing hasn't changed, the new QB vision feature from the console games simply wouldn't work here, and mercifully, they didn't even try to implement it haphazardly. Running is on the easy side, as the juke moves are brutal on the defense that has trouble coming up with a solution to counter them.
That can all be fixed by tweaking the AI settings, and after a few games, you should find a balance to provide at least some challenge. Kicking has been completely revamped, now relying entirely on the touch screen. One of the mini-camp games serves as training, it's simplicity making it too easy to kick the ball off, and onside kicks easier to recover. If you're in a car bouncing because of a road, it's almost impossible to kick with any degree of accuracy.
The second screen still has other uses, including a well-implemented audible system. Play selection can be accomplished with the screen or buttons. Either way, it's simple to pick up. Instead of just the basic X's and O's, the full plays (including routes) are shown during play. This makes it easier to read the defense before the ball is snapped. It still doesn't offer much while the play is running, but this is a nice add-on to ensure the play is run properly.