The Game of Life
iPhone App
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The Game of Life

Our Review by Bonnie Eisenman on August 18th, 2009
Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: CLASSIC
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LIFE is an old classic, and if you like the board game, you'll be delighted with EA's port. It's colorful, smooth, and just like the original. It's nice to see such a good port!

Developer: Electronic Arts
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Game Controls Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar

iPhone Integration Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

Re-use / Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

Electronic Arts strikes again, bringing yet another classic boardgame to the iPhone.The Game of LIFE is a game of both luck and skill, though the emphasis is on luck. Players travel in a linear fashion through the board, sometimes taking forks in the road, and encounter plenty of significant events along the way: career choices, marriage, lawsuits, children...

The game will be familiar to folks who've played it before; the 3D environment is a faithful reproduction of the classic board game, complete with the same events, from what I can remember. You start by picking a character, and then a car color, and then the game begins. Take out a loan and go to college or start at a lower-paying career; live life riskily or take a family-oriented path. The choice is yours...!

Well, only kind of. Many of the challenges and life events you face are decided by a spin of the number wheel, which is present in 3D glory. To spin it, you simply flick your finger. It feels natural and, if you're so inclined, you can even learn to master the wheel and nudge it towards a specific number range.

Most of the controls are intuitive and explained well. Some features take a bit more discovery. It took me a while to figure out, for example, that I could tap on the portraits in the top-left corner to see my "Share the Wealth" cards or to purchase a "long-term investment" (which rewards you when players spin a certain number).

Playing board games alone isn't what I'd call a stellar experience, but LIFE's AIs are good enough partners. Thankfully, you can fast-forward through their turns or skip them altogether, which is a huge relief. I hate having to watch animations. If you've actually got real-life friends (such an outlandish concept!) you can have a multiplayer game via Pass 'n' Play. Sadly, there's no WiFi multiplayer or a Bluetooth option, which is disappointing. Maybe in future updates? Then again, EA has an iffy history when it comes to updates...

The graphical quality is great, you can explore the map, the animations are smooth...EA didn't cut any corners here. The sound effects are nothing astonishing, but they do the job and you can turn them off if you wish. One pet peeve: I can't play my own tunes! Even if I slide the music slider down to silence, the game fades my own music out. Sheesh, EA, you should have this stuff down by now.

If you've never played the game before, it may or may not be to your liking; it's a relatively simple game that's geared towards families with younger children and older players might get bored after a few games. Beyond a few small complaints (no multiplayer; no playing your own music) I don't see any flaws with EA's port. Sure, it leans heavily on "traditional" ideas of a happy family just like the board game (everyone gets married, everyone gets a house, unemployment blissfully lasts for a few seconds at most) but, well, it's a classic. And if you have a younger kid, they'll probably adore this colorful, cheerfully animated rendition.

iPhone Screenshots

(click to enlarge)

THE GAME OF LIFE Classic Edition screenshot 1 THE GAME OF LIFE Classic Edition screenshot 2 THE GAME OF LIFE Classic Edition screenshot 3 THE GAME OF LIFE Classic Edition screenshot 4 THE GAME OF LIFE Classic Edition screenshot 5
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