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Need for Speed Shift

Posted by Mike Rithjin on January 23rd, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Developer: Electronic Arts
Price: $6.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Game Controls Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
iPhone Integration Rating: starstarstarstarstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar


Even 3 billion-plus purchases into the short life of the App Store, there are those that doubt the ability of the iPod Touch and iPhone to be legitimate gaming devices that can stack up with their traditional counterparts. They point to the unorthodox business model of the app store, its crazy pricing scheme, and top 25 charts filled with crapware and exclaim that it's destined to fail. I would contend that as long as games like Need For Speed Shift are being made, the app store is here to stay.

The few complaints I saw about NFS Shift in the reviews on iTunes were about its $6.99 price point. Really? If you want quality apps, you should be prepared to pay for them. You wouldn't go to Target to buy a Nintendo DS game and then try to haggle with the salesman. In fact, feel fortunate iPhone gamer. Need For Speed Shift at Best Buy will leave your wallet feeling $29 dollars lighter. This discrepancy in pricing is consistent for almost all iPhone games.

[caption id="attachment_25674" align="alignright" width="300" caption="The 1st person viewpoint is the way to go."]


NFS Shift is a perfect example of what iPhone gaming can be; graphically polished, easy to learn, and fun to play for two hours or ten minutes. The race types are just diverse enough to keep you interested for a long period of time. There are 7 different types of races. Circuit, sprint, driver duel, eliminator, time trial, drift, and driver face off. Sure, the rules vary a little bit for each one, but in the end the idea is the same; drive fast.

NFS Shift is polished, but the good folks at EA also decided to throw some glitter and stickers on their shiny creation. It didn't really need the glitter, thanks anyways. Just like its console counterparts, as you progress through more races you earn profile points in two different categories; "precision" and "aggressive". Things like sticking to your racing line, doing an entire lap without going off the track or crashing into opponents, and mastering corners will earn you precision points. Crashing into opponents, drifting, and generally just driving like a four year old will net you aggressive points. Earn more points to level up. The only time the points will help you out is to help you earn stars to unlock new tracks, and when you reach level 20 and you unlock a Maserati. As you progress through levels you will also earn pieces to a personalized badge depending on whether you used a predominantly precise or aggressive tactics, neither of which matter too much.

There are 20 cars and 18 tracks to unlock in Chicago, London, and Tokyo. The variety of cars is pleasing enough for an iPhone game and they all handle differently enough to justify upgrading from one to another. There is minimal customization to the cars, with just a few bodykits, rims, and color changes available, along with performance upgrades to the top speed, acceleration, tires, suspension, and nitrous.

The controls are fairly tight and delightfully simple. The car accelerates by itself, tilt the screen to turn and touch the screen to brake. Once you add nitrous to your car, there is a small red button in the bottom left hand corner of the screen you tap to turn your nitrous on and off. There is also an option for manual shifting, but it's not really my cup of tea. If you do prefer manual shifting, a mere swipe up or down on the right side of the screen will allow you to change gears.

My only real gripe with this game is that it's sometimes a bit too difficult. On some tracks I simply got stuck on certain objectives and couldn't get enough stars to advance to the next track. A minor gripe would be the soundtrack. While the sound effects are pretty nice, the soundtrack is just good enough to keep me from turning it off. To beat this, NFS allows you to create your own soundtrack to race to, which is a welcome addition.

With this game on sale right now for $6.99, I would say that it's definitely worth a go. If you're a racing fan, you'll probably come to know this game as one of your favorites. If you aren't a racing freak but can appreciate the genre, then you too should get some enjoyment out of NFS Shift. It's not my favorite app, but it's definitely one of the most polished in my library, and absolutely takes advantage of the fantastic iDevice hardware.

Hands-on with Need for Speed: Shift, The Simpsons Arcade, and Spore Creatures from EA

Posted by Jeff Scott on December 17th, 2009

I had the chance today to take a quick look at three upcoming games from EA. Some of them are hotly anticipated, another we hadn't even heard about before today.

Need for Speed: Shift

This has to be one of the most anticipated games of the season. Well at least for Chris, our editor. He shut himself in a small room with nothing but red bull and Cheetoes and played Need for Speed: Undercover until his thumbs stopped working. I think he's going to be out of touch for weeks when he get ahold of Need for Speed: Shift.

This game looks fantastic. While the original specs and screens we saw were less than inspiring. But now that the game is done and real, it's fantastic. Especially so if you have a 3GS as it has some special graphic taking advantage of the better graphics processor on that device.

Shift has everything you expect in a Need for Speed game. There's multiple events/tracks, multiple game methods, multiple upgradable cars, etc. The different events and cars are, of course, unlockable as you progress through the career mode.

One big feature that Shift has that the previous Need for Speed didn't have is multiplayer. While it's only local and 2 player with Bluetooth and 4 player with Wifi, there are 6 different game methods.

Here are a few more images to hold you over. Need for Speed: Shift will be out soon.

Spore: Creatures

EA announced Spore: Creatures for the iPhone a few months ago. But, they were quiet about it after that. Well, until now. While I don't really think that Spore: Creatures is much different than Spore: Origins, it does take everything up a few notches. There's just more of everything as this game is meant to pick up where Origins ended.

More creature customization options. Lots more. I've been told there are well over a billion different possibilities from the dozens of creature parts, colors, and abilities that you can add.

Included in the game itself are 4 different and distinct game play zones. Each zone has 5 different levels to travel through while evolving your little Spore.

The one thing that is really different with the game play over the previous Spore game is that ability to either fight or socialize. This can change the way the game progresses and how your creature evolves.

Here are a couple more pictures, Spore: Creatures should be out in January.

The Simpsons Arcade

This one came out of left field. The Simpsons Arcade is an old school arcade fighter set in the Simpsons world of Springfield. Developed under the supervision of one of the writers and featuring the voices of all 6 Simpsons voice actors from the series, this promises to be a fun and very funny fighting game.

You control Homer in this game. There's an on screen joystick and two buttons that let you perform different attack and defense moves.

You progress through 25 levels set in 6 different environments in Springfield. There are of course a bunch of different weapons to use that you can pick up along the way. There are 6 major bosses and 12 mini-bosses. The final boss battle is said to be epic!

As a Simpsons fan, I'm looking forward to this. I was a little worried when I first heard of this. Lets be honest, there have been some less than stellar Simpsons games over the years. But in my short time with the game I found it to be interesting, well made, and really fun. The Simpsons Arcade will be out soon.

New Details of Need for Speed: Shift and NBA Live Released

Posted by Jeff Scott on October 14th, 2009

Today we got some updates from EA on two highly anticipated franchise games coming to the iPhone. What we still don't know yet are release dates for either. Though I think it's safe to say they are trying to get them out in the next couple months in time for Christmas.

Need for Speed: Shift

The latest in this racing franchise from EA is Need for Speed: Shift. This iPhone translation looks like it will be a scaled down translation of the console game. While that's a little disappointing, the previous in this franchise, Need For Speed Undercover [ our review ] was an absolutely excellent game on the iPhone.

Take a look at these screen shots for a look at the game. Note that I'm fairly sure that these are just mock-ups. They don't look nearly as crisp as you'd expect for actual screen shots and there are other noticeable inconsistencies.

Unfortunately the specs read a lot like the previous version. 20 different customizable and upgradable cars (NFSU had 20 as well), 3 different racing environments, Tokyo, Chicago, and London (NFSU also had 3), 28 different events (NFSU had 20).

So, what is different?

The main thing is that there will finally be multiplayer. Unfortunately there's no Internet multiplayer, only Wifi and Bluetooth. In addition I'm sure we'll see the graphics quality upgraded a little. The previous one was very good for the time, but we expect more now. Take a look at the supplied stats below for more.

Rage on the roads of Chicago, London, and Tokyo in up to 28 Street and Pro racing events.

Challenge friends to head to head races via Bluetooth multiplayer or WiFi.

Get behind the wheels of 20 of the fastest, hottest, most powerful cars in the world and blow the doors off your competitors.

Take your ride to another level with Top Speed, Handling, Acceleration, and Nitrous upgrade features.

Earn points and trophies on the circuit for your Aggressiveness and Precision. Be a full-throttle Need For Speed superstar.

NBA Live

Considering the huge number of games in the App Store, over 15,000 at last count, there has yet to be a full 3D basketball game. NBA Live will change that. While we haven't seen it yet, we're hoping that it has the depth and great gameplay of EA's last sports game for the iPhone, Madden 10. Take a look below for the stats, it's looking good, though multiplayer is noticeably missing from the list.

NOTHING BUT NET. NBA LIVE by EA SPORTSTM delivers the most realistic 5-on-5 action available for iPhone® and iPod touch®!

Tip-off anytime, anywhere, and watch your game come to life in vivid 3D. Even replay your most awesome plays. It’s fun and intuitive enough for the casual gamer, but also delivers the authenticity to meet the demands of the most hardcore basketball fans.

With real NBA rosters, you can dominate the game as Dwight Howard and other NBA All-Stars. Or unlock legends and elevate your game with true Hall-of-Famers.

Match up all 30 NBA teams in the new 82-game Season Mode. Play a casual game in Exhibition Mode, or battle all the way to the Finals in the ultra-intense Playoff Mode.

Control the game with a virtual analog stick. Use the accelerometer to accurately shoot free-throws. Touch the clip board to pick from a number of offensive plays or to select your defensive strategy.

Stay in the zone with 15 music tracks from artists like Matt and Kim, Snoop Dogg and Xzibit.

Hear legendary announcer Marv Albert accent the action as you rain 3s from downtown.

New Need For Speed On The Way

Posted by Chris Hall on September 9th, 2009

I make it no secret that my favorite experience playing an iPhone game, ever, was when I played/reviewed Need For Speed: Undercover. At the time, there were a ton of big games that just failed to meet expectations, not delivering on the polish and pizazz that one would expect from a grade A launch title. Need For Speed was different though. The cutscenes had actresses that I recognized, the quality of everything from the videos to the gameplay was of exceptional quality, and the driving controls were just phenomenal. I love Need For Speed: Undercover.

I was skimming @eamobile's Twitter feed today and found that there are screenshots of the upcoming Need For Speed: Shift posted on their Facebook page. So, from them to me to you, here are some amazing looking screenshots!

More great pics after the break.