It's tough to meaningfully differentiate between similar football offerings on mobile. While variety is preferable to the monopoly EA has leveraged on the console side, having several football games on a carrier deck can be confusing, especially when different licenses allow divergent levels of branding. Glu Mobile's Fox Sports Football 2006 is a small upgrade over last year's offering, but it still doesn't solve artificial intelligence problems or offer player names or statistics.
Football 2006 lets you select between all 32 NFL teams, but it doesn't name them or enumerate their players. Due to its lack of official licensing, you don't command the Patriots, but, rather, New England. Tom Brady is not in attendance, but a nameless analogue picks up the passing-game slack. Special teams have notably been included this year, but all formations still only involve seven players. Without a full roster to animate, you would expect the game's performance to be pretty outstanding on the high-end LG VX8000. Instead, players seem sluggish and unresponsive much of the time. On defense, especially, the game might as well be fully automated.
Of course, this would be inadvisable, as the game's AI isn't quite up to snuff. When the CPU is on offense, its quarterback will seem to stand and wait to be sacked. Even on the highest difficulty level, he'll waste valuable seconds and will often turn his back completely to the play. It's unlikely that this is a calculated move or an expression of the computerized QB's contempt for the player-controlled team. Occasionally, the CPU will manage a play yielding extraordinary yardage, but this is more a product of the game's forgiving passing system than anything else. The defensive AI doesn't fare much better. It's possible to pass every time and still persevere, no matter how many defensive backs attempt to swat down your tosses.
In season mode, you must create a fantasy team and allocate stats. We had the best results when putting the maximum number of points into defense and passing, leaving the running stat completely empty. Even still, we were able to pull off running plays with relative aplomb, although they're hardly necessary. Even if you pass and pass to the same receiver, you'll hardly ever throw an interception.
Visually, Football 2006 is a modest update over its predecessor. The sprites are larger and more detailed, but you still can't see helmet insignias or player faces. That may be just as well, as those items weren't licensed. Furthermore, a slow frame rate is an unfortunate reality.
The game's audio is probably its best feature, and it approximates that of a live telecast, minus the commentary. A few heart-pounding measures of music, which we might reluctantly call "interludes," play at various intervals. The players grunt and groan after every screech of the whistle, as well as during every pileup.
Apart from a few notable upgrades, this franchise is stagnating. Fancy graphics aren't necessary for displaying player stats, which come across just fine on mobile, so they should have been optioned and included. Licensing is an unfortunate necessity in the case of NFL football simulation. The ability to upload your best per-game yardage isn't enough to appease fans. With only seven-on-seven action and bogus AI, Football 2006 is stuck in 2004.