Madden NFL 09: All-Play for the Wii is for the person who thinks "Bump and Run" is an R. Kelly song. It's for your girlfriend who thinks the tight end is the player that looks best in his uniform pants. It's for the kid who thinks it's odd that John Madden has a game named after him because he knows him only as the old guy from the commercials where the dude's foot catches on fire. These are the sort of folks who will appreciate the new Five-on-Five mode, user-friendly play calling, and simplified controls. If you're the kind of person who grew up on football, Madden 09 for the Wii isn't really for you. Sure, there are Franchise and Superstar modes, as well as online play, but they're pretty much the same things you've been playing for years.
Five-on-Five mode is simple enough for everyone, but it seems mostly designed to appeal to young children.
Previous Maddens on the Wii certainly catered to newcomers, but not to the extent that Madden 09 does. Five-on-Five mode takes place on a cartoony field and the players have gigantic heads. It breaks the game down to its simplest form by eliminating extra points and field goals. It also limits the playbook to just four plays and has all of the gameplay performed by a few flicks of the remote. It's mind-numbingly dull for experienced players, but it's good for young kids who want to be like daddy and play Madden. The simplified controls found in Five-on-Five are carried over to the full game of football as well, though you can choose to use the more complicated Nunchuk and remote combination if you want total control over everything on the field. The remote-waving controls used to snap the ball, pass, juke, and tackle generally work OK, but there are some frustrating moments with both control schemes when the game doesn't recognize that you want to throw the ball or makes your QB lob a pass when you really wanted to throw a bullet.
The bulk of the gameplay is unchanged, though there are a few additions that make 09 play better than 08. Key among these is the ability to call your shot. As your team heads to the line of scrimmage, you can press the A button, point and click on any WR, TE, or RB, then draw a new route for him to run. The process couldn't be simpler, and it's an extremely fast and effective way to change a player's route. You now have several ways to choose your next play. The "Ask Madden" selection has been around forever, but here it's limited to one play and includes a brief bit of text that explains why the game is suggesting you run that particular play. It's a great way for beginners to get accustomed to calling their own plays. The next option is basically an abbreviated playbook that doesn't overwhelm you with choices, but still includes a healthy number of plays so that you don't feel as if you're doing the same thing over and over again. Lastly, you have access to a full playbook that has enough plays to satisfy someone like Mike Martz.
Another addition to the mix this year is the ability to celebrate your touchdowns. On the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, this means just pressing a single button, but on the Wii, it's much more interactive. After scoring, the game implores you to start dancing then tells you to wave the controller, and if you're really into the dancing, it gets you to raise the roof. If you celebrate like Chad Johnson, your player will receive a performance boost; if you show the enthusiasm of mild-mannered Barry Sanders after a score, you get nothing. Kids, as well as people playing in large groups, will likely have a good time spinning, jumping, and dancing around. However, some will find it completely ridiculous and turn the feature off straight away.
The ability to draw your own plays before the snap is 09's best feature.